Improving workplace wellbeing by offering flexible working
Since the start of the pandemic, around half of Australia’s workforce has reported experiencing exhaustion, as well as poor physical and mental health. A study conducted by the University of Melbourne and YouGov showed that burnout is on the rise, with nearly 50% of prime-aged employees aged between 18 and 54 feeling exhausted at work, and about one-third of workers under 54 considering leaving their current job.
The report highlighted that employee mobility in Australia reached a historic low of 7.5% in 2021 but rebounded in 2022, with mobility rising to 9.5%, the highest level seen since 2012. More recently, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released data in February 2023 showing that the number of people who left their jobs within the last three months increased to 343,200 individuals, either in pursuit of better job opportunities or for a change.
Flexible working is highly valued by many employees in Australia as it has been found to reduce exhaustion, increase motivation, and allow for better time management. However, while remote working can provide greater flexibility, it can also lead to day stretching, where work is interspersed with other activities, resulting in longer work hours without additional pay.
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The report further revealed that remote working and flexible hours are highly valued by employees. However, there are also some downsides to this approach. Although employees might prefer not to return to the office full-time, there are benefits to in-person work. For example, National Australia Bank’s flexible working policy requires employees to work in the office two to three days a week, which allows for greater flexibility in balancing work with home commitments and the need for in-person connection and collaboration, according to Susan Ferrier, Executive for People and Culture at National Australia Bank, reported The Guardian.