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How Important is Flexible Work?

Posted on Nov 23, 2021

The pandemic has changed many things about how we live and one of those changes has been the number of people with flexible working conditions. A recent survey into hybrid working in Australia by Telstra found that the percentage of employees with hybrid working conditions pre COVID-19 was 19%, moving to 43% of businesses during COVID-19 and the (expected) post-COVID-19 number at 35%.

For many of us, work is no longer a place we attend to realise results in a set time frame but something we achieve while fitting it in around our lives. However, not everyone is happy about the move to flexible working conditions with many employers reporting feeling pressured and anxious about this shift. So, what are some of the advantages of flexible or hybrid work arrangements?

Benefits for Employees

  • Flexible work has the capacity to reduce barriers to employment. It opens up opportunities for many people; including those with caring responsibilities, disability and those living remotely.
  • There is no longer the need to spend numerous hours commuting to work.
  • The Telstra survey found that 90% of employees agree their mental health has improved or stayed the same and 83% agree their physical health has improved or stayed the same.
  • It’s empowering for employees to be able to have some autonomy on how they structure their day. If they have appointments or other commitments to attend to, they can do so and make up the time later.
  • 54% of Telstra respondents said they consider hybrid working to be as or more important than a 5% pay rise.
  • Employees can be judged on the work they do, rather than the time they are seen to be at their desk working in an office.

Benefits for Businesses

  • Counter to what one might expect, businesses with hybrid work can positively impact business growth and performance.
  • According to the Telstra survey of businesses with hybrid working, 22% are more likely to see productivity rise, 10% are more likely to have growing incomes and 28% are more likely to undertake an innovative activity.
  • Without the majority of employees full time in the office, many businesses can save costs by downsizing workspaces. 
  • Employees who feel more valued and are happy are far more likely to stay with the company.
  • 12% are more likely to offer improved customer service and a 6% higher income according the Telstra poll. 
  • Businesses have the opportunity to be leaders in implementing healthy, productive ad sustainable workplace culture. This then becomes a drawcard for talented prospective employees.

There is no doubt that hybrid work is here to stay, however the solutions for businesses are nuanced. There is no “one size fits all” and businesses who are adaptable will benefit. You may have seen our recent poll below:

This is a more balanced response than we expected, but it shows many employees are still prepared to work full-time in the office. The caveat is it needs be their dream job.