Breadcrumbs

The value of flexible work arrangements is considerable. It may take time for all employees and managers to understand the benefits.


Champions share their thoughts on managing the challenges of workplace flexibility.

The changing nature of work

The prospect of managing teams with flexible working arrangements can be, for some, daunting. While work in the 20th century was largely focused on hours spent clocking in and out, it can seem counter-intuitive to suggest that it might be best for business if we relax that focus.

In the 21st century, as our understanding of productivity, value and profit-generation has become more sophisticated, we have developed new and more effective ways of working.

 

“One of the myths is this idea that you need to be seen in the office at certain times, to show that you’re working and working hard.”

Chris Gordon, Champion and Partner and Chair, Bell Gully

 

Busting the myths

Employees tend to adopt flexible working practices quickly and enthusiastically. Resistance typically comes from those in management positions, who are fearful that flexible work results in lower productivity.

However, companies that adopt flexible working practices generally experience no change in productivity, plus increased employee engagement, loyalty and, in some cases, mental welllbeing. And, flexible work is effective in attracting top talent – a priority for many businesses.

Strong leadership is crucial to the success of moving from a culture based on inputs to a high performing organisation focused on outcomes.

Not all roles are suited to specific flexibility requests, and conversations about flexible working need to consider a range of options. The below table highlights some of the potential challenges and mitigants.

 

  

 

"One of the first hurdles we have to overcome is many people immediately think of flexibility as ‘part-time’—but workplace flexibility is, in fact, so much more than that.”

Vanessa Stoddart, Champion and Chair Global Women