Flexible working is hardly a new concept and there have been robust discussions and several Government initiatives around the idea of flexible working for quite a few decades.
The desire for flexible working is high and a recent survey by firms such as Citrix indicate that unstructured or occasional flexible working is happening in almost all organisations (37% in 2011 and expected to reach 93% by end of 2013). Except for certain niche roles or specific personal circumstances, on the whole formal, structured flexible working policies and infrastructure are relatively rare.
There is mounting evidence that the time is ripe for change. There are a series of pressure points coinciding to shift the needle on flexible working once and for all.
Initial cost cutting after the advent of the GFC were completed years ago. CFOs are looking for more fundamental ways to restructure their cost base. Reducing real estate costs by having fewer workers on site and better utilisation of the existing space offer significant cost savings. Equally, end-user computing costs can be reduced by allowing staff to own and bring devices to work. The deployment of such solutions as desktop virtualisation also helps to manage cost per user.
While staff costs remain one of the biggest line items on the balance sheet there will be pressure to increase staff productivity.
There is a growing body of research evidence that shows that staff are more productive when they are able to work flexibly. Productivity gains come from employees being more enabled and motivated. They are able to manage their own schedule around their personal commitments. They are able to make faster decisions by being more connected during “out of office” hours, allowing other colleagues to keep on working without having to wait for a decision or some information the next day.
New technology developments are enabling flexible working in a way not seen before.
- Cloud computing and virtual desktop technology is allowing workers to access corporate data and applications safely and simply.
- Increasingly robust collaboration tools allow for remote connectivity between colleagues, customers and suppliers practically and reliably.
- The national broadband network will progressively make a high-speed national network available to citizens.
Pressure on the war for talent
The war for good talent remains a strategic priority for many organisations. Leaders understand that finding and keeping the best people is key to the long- term health of organisations.
Potential and current employees see flexible working as highly desirable. Cisco’s Connected World Report shows:
- 91% of their own employees cited flexible working contributed to overall satisfaction levels.
- 7 out of 10 Australians see working remotely as a right not a privilege
- 52% of Australians would sacrifice extra salary to work wherever they are most productive and happiest.
Clearly, happy, motivated staff is not only more productive but more loyal.
Organisations face mounting moral and financial pressure to establish their green credentials. Reduced square -footage per worker and reduced commuting kilometers mean a lower carbon footprint per employee.
Flexible working forms part of an organisations overall approach to managing their environmental impact and the ever increasing costs of “going green.”
To read more about Flexible working we would encourage you to download our free whitepaper on the topic. In it we cover:
- What is flexible working
- The five flexible working profiles
- Building the flexible working business case
- Defining the roadmap to flexible working.