Since Telstra pioneered ‘All Roles Flex’, Australian organisations across varied industries have sought to embed a flexible work culture across their business as a tool for fostering diversity and inclusion. WGEA report 46% of Australian workplaces have flexible work policy.
Flexibility in work schedules and locations promotes diversity by accommodating for workers who are unable to work within traditional work hours or at the office location every business day. As well as enabling workers to manage their competing non-work and work demands such as parenting and other caring roles, flexible working is a tool for empowering workers to better manage their workloads, physical and mental health challenges, and even the intense social demands of open-plan offices that can be draining for introverts and other employees negatively affected by high levels of stimulation.
The benefits of flex have been quantified in a study released this month by Nous. The consulting firm reports the Victorian Government’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is adding $31m annually to its bottom line by offering flexible working, equivalent to 2.25% of its appropriations. The net positive financial benefit was attributed mostly to improved productivity, with employees saying that measures such as working from home or part-time allowed them to “work smarter and better”. Further savings come from improved recruitment and retention and decreased absenteeism.
The consulting report stressed the importance of context for capturing the benefits of a flex policy. To realise the financial benefits, organisations must invest in effective implementation, including workplace communication and training. Given that only 13% of organisations with a flex policy have an implementation strategy, there are many companies that are unlikely to be capturing the intended benefits of the policy.
Read more at The Mandarin.