A simple guide to workplace flexibility
More people than ever are looking for flexible workplaces – the option of flexible work may even make or break a candidate’s decision to join an organisation.

Justin Boots, HR Business Partner at SEEK, says that while it may take more planning, workplace flexibility makes a company far more appealing to highly skilled workers.

Watch as he explains why flexibility matters to employees, and shares tips for implementing flexible working options.

Why is workplace flexibility important?

The nature of work is changing, along with advancements in technology, and businesses can make the most of that by providing flexibility, Boots says.

“Try to work towards a situation where you’re taking advantage of that integration, rather than trying to fight against it,” he says.

What are some flexibility options for a business?

Some common flexible work options are:

  • Altering an employee’s start and finish times to accommodate commitments outside work. For instance, some employees may want the option of starting work after school drop-off, or finishing before school pick-up.
  • The option to work remotely, if the nature of the job allows it. This enables employees to work around family commitments.
  • Employees reducing their hours and working part-time. People may, for example, need to care for elderly parents or young children.

“These options are probably the most popular under the banner of workplace flexibility,” Boots says.

Why is flexibility appealing to employees?

There’s no doubt more and more employees would like more flexible workplaces and may choose to work for an organisation if flexible work is offered.

“Flexibility is appealing to employees, because anyone who’s been in the workforce for an extended period of time knows that there are situations in your home or family life that place greater demands on your time,” Boots says.

“The more an employer can work with an employee to flex and bend to those demands and those ups and downs in your personal life, the more engaged and productive employees will be in their job.”

How will flexible work practices impact my business?

With employees working to different schedules or working remotely, businesses may need to put more effort into planning.

“If you have employees who are regularly changing their schedule or asking for reduced hours, you may need to put more time and effort into your workforce planning, and how you may plug those gaps from an operational point of view,” Boots says.

Why flexibility matters to employees

Offering greater flexibility makes a company more appealing to highly skilled workers looking for more options, Boots says.

“One of the positive impacts of flexibility is that when you are hiring and you’re out in the market for specialised talent, you’re opening yourself up to a greater pool of talent.”

For example, parents who have taken time off work to raise young children may be looking for part-time roles.

“You may have a worker who’s highly educated, highly experienced, and stepped out of the workforce for a period of time to raise a family. They may be looking to re-enter the workforce in a reduced capacity.

“Offering flexibility as an option in your workplace will give you access to that talent pool when you’re out in the market looking for new talent.”