The Power of Flexibility: a vital Enabler to improve Gender Parity and Employee Engagement

The Power of Flexibility: a vital Enabler to improve Gender Parity and Employee Engagement

Just just exactly How Australian organisations can make good versatile workplace conditions for both men and women.

By Melanie Sanders, Jennifer Zeng, Meredith Hellicar and Kathryn Fagg


Just how we work is fundamentally different than how we worked a decade ago today. The days are gone when workers works 9 to 5, to Friday, and only within the four walls of the office monday. By way of leaps in technology, companies now run 24/7 from anywhere and every-where.

Versatile workplaces have become the norm. Workers are increasingly flexibility that is seeking when, where and exactly how it works. This growing need is rooted in changes in workforce demographics, associated with changing objectives of work-life integration. For instance, the portion of dual-income households in Australia has increased from 40per cent in 1983 to almost 60per cent in 2013. 1 we now have heard of portion of working moms with kids underneath the chronilogical age of 18 enhance by 6% within the decade that is past. 2 The aging population means workers are residing in the workplace much much longer filipino dating, frequently in an even more versatile capacity. In addition to present generation of brand new recruits, called millennials, has really various work objectives than their infant boomer moms and dads. Survey after study shows exactly what millennials want many is always to work flexibly. 3

For ladies, workplace freedom is particularly essential.

Past research conducted jointly by Bain & business and Chief Executive ladies (CEW) last year 4 revealed that, along side “visible and leadership that is committed” women believe “creating working models that help people with household responsibilities” to be the most crucial action to overcoming obstacles to women’s development into leadership functions. Freedom is very key for ladies in junior- and middle-management roles, while they consider whether and exactly how to juggle family aspirations to their career advancement. Into the Bain and CEW 2015 research, we discovered that about 50% of females working flexibly are skilled workers or junior to managers that are middle whom mainly do so to look after young ones (see Figure 1). This job phase precedes the drop that is dramatic female workforce involvement, ultimately causing female professionals accounting at under 15% of senior administration jobs, 5 despite women graduating from universities in greater figures than males. 6 It’s clear that versatile working is just a critical enabler to keeping ladies in the workforce.

But versatile working is not any longer only an issue that is women’s. Increasingly, males are demanding the capacity to work flexibly, usually to relax and play more active functions as caregivers. This implies the necessity for effective versatile working models is equally appropriate for males. If Australian culture actually aspires to equal workforce participation by women and men at each amount of leadership, then there clearly was an obvious important to make sure that both genders are equally enabled to generally share the caregiving role. Both women and men consequently must have equal success in working flexibly, without negative judgements or repercussions with their job development.

Australian organisations are increasingly realising that, to retain skill and stay appropriate, they should plan the next where versatile work is standard in every part. Thankfully, technology is allowing organisations to shift far from a “face time” tradition. In Silicon Valley, organisations like Bing have reached the edge that is cutting of workplace revolution. And, closer to home, businesses like Telstra and Westpac are reaping the many benefits of championing flexible working and establishing their staff up with agile work surroundings. As David Thodey, previous Telstra CEO and person in a man Champions of Change, points down, administration philosophies haven’t held up with technical advances. “Every work can be carried out flexibly. We’ve the allowing technology, now we are in need of the enabling culture… You require a performance-based tradition, where freedom is merely built in.” 7

But versatile working is nevertheless regarded as the exclusion into the guideline within the almost all Australian businesses. Lower than 50% of organisations have workplace freedom policy. 8 and also whenever such policies occur, they’re not constantly efficiently utilised.

Just what exactly may be the full instance for versatile working?

Just How effective are Australian organisations at producing good versatile workplace conditions for both men and women? Most of all, just how can organisations boost their employees’ experiences with versatile working?

To respond to these concerns, Bain & business and CEW surveyed 1,030 people in the Australian company, federal government and not-for-profit community about their utilization of flexible work plans and their perceptions of the organisations. A measure of control over when, where and how they work, including working part-time, working from home, setting their own hours and taking a leave of absence while flexible work can have many meanings, we defined it as an organisation allowing employees.

The great news is there was a strong case for applying versatile work plans, while they create good advocacy in regards to the organization whenever widely used. This isn’t astonishing: an organisation with flexible plans once the norm signals a workplace with progressive policies and actions, and more engaged workers. Moreover, once we looked over employees using versatile plans, we discovered that females working flexibly are more powerful advocates of these organisations compared to those who’re not. Our research also debunked the misconception that ladies searching for options that are flexible checked out of their professions. We unearthed that ladies who work flexibly are similarly, or even more, devoted to reaching their complete job potential than people who don’t.

Nonetheless, the trends that are same maybe maybe not hold real for males. In reality, advocacy ended up being lower for males that are or been employed by flexibly. This implies that organisations never have yet cracked the rule on how best to make arrangements that are such for male workers.

To enhance workers’ experiences with versatile working models, organisations have to take four actions:

  • earnestly encourage uptake and work out working flexibly the conventional for almost any part;
  • ensure versatile arrangements are working effectively both for men and women;
  • make sure the right tradition and active help is in destination, with a very good dedication through the CEO and leadership group; and
  • provide clear policies, put up allowing technology and produce an agile work place.

If organisations fully grasp this right, flexible work plans may be used to boost efficiency and advocacy, enhance worker retention, give you the conditions for increased representation of females in senior leadership roles, and enable women and men to engage more quite as caregivers and secure an improved work-life balance.

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