Flexible Work The New Normal

Offering flexible working arrangements is tipped to be a key part of the unfolding fourth industrial revolution where emerging technologies are reshaping our industries and how we work.

That’s according to a survey by recruiting experts Hays of 1,253 professionals and 951 employers. A massive 89% of employers said flexible working options are very important or important when it comes to staff attraction and retention.

Of the professionals surveyed, 33% said flexible working options were critical to their remaining in employment. A further 63% said they were ‘nice to have’. Just 4% said flexible work was not important to them.

“A third of professionals identifying flexible work as critical to remaining employed is significant and we predict this figure will only grow as our cities become more congested and the proportion of younger workers increases,” says Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand.

“There are many reasons why people may require flexible working options, including living further from CBDs to access affordable housing, balancing ongoing caring responsibilities, ramping back up after parental leave or throttling back from full-time work toward retirement.

“The emerging technologies of the fourth industrial revolution have made flexible working arrangements more accessible and transparent, which people are aware of. For this reason, it’s also becoming more important to staff attraction and retention.”

Younger workers see flexible work as a given

Another driver is the outlook of Millennials. As Nick explains, “Millennials (those born between the early 1980s to early 1990s) are pursuing work-life integration rather than work-life balance successfully and are happy for work and life to coexist – provided their employer allows them to utilise technology to work flexibly.

“Younger workers are also more willing to move from one work assignment or contract to another than previous generations and have higher levels of confidence when it comes to sharing and collaborating securely online,” he said.

Deloitte’s Millennial Survey of 2017 found the number of younger people able to work from locations other than their employer’s primary site increased more than 20% compared to its 2016 findings. A high 84% of respondents claimed to work in a job offering some degree of flexibility.

Flexibility was also found to have a positive influence on all areas of work for this generation including productivity, employee engagement, being accountable and loyalty.