After the GFC and reduced working hours, the website Dynamic Business asks if employers are accommodating a desire among many employees to achieve a balance between work, home and other interests and therefore more flexible work conditions.
During the GFC, many businesses reduced employees’ working hours to both keep them employed and reduce costs.
Today, however, some of these employees realise they value the freedom and flexibility of a four-day week or a nine-day fortnight more than the extra 10–to-20 percent of salary.
There has been a small but steady increase in requests for:
Working parents who want to spend more time with their children and people caring for elderly family members need flexibility.
It’s also more ‘acceptable’ today for employees to request temporary flexibility during periods of personal challenge or chronic illness.
Increasingly however, flexible hours or days of work are all about lifestyle.
Is the disconnect between the rise in demand and the business response is due to business culture generally, or Australian business culture in particular?
It’s a fact that Australians work some of the longest hours in the world and this may influence our tolerance levels for those who opt to work less.
A request for flexibility can be regarded as a lack of dedication or ambition by some employers although this ignores the business benefits of having employees who are happy, engaged and focused on their work because odfwork-life balance.
We are heading back to pre-GFC skills shortages and companies who ignore these requests could find potential or current employees seeking the flexibility they want elsewhere.
Dynamic Business reports that at Talent2’s NSW offices, around 25 percent of recruitment consultants do not work five-day weeks, or five days in the office.
They are aware that, if they do not offer flexibility, they risk losing a group of highly experienced and valued people. And, as a challenge to perceptions on dedication, two of the highest performing consultants are in this group.
Remote networking and smart phone technology provide a huge opportunity in this area.
It seems there’s a need to:
“Shift the perception that the only ‘good’ flexibility is the kind that helps companies manage costs, rather than as a highly effective means of retaining and attracting talent.”