Why Workplace Flexibility Sees Everyone Winning

The pandemic has made many businesses realise that employees can work from home. We believe the traditional workplace is having a well-overdue shake-up! 

You used to turn up, put up, shut up, and get your work done, with no blurring the lines between your personal or mental health needs and the company’s expectations. Previously, there was very little duty of care for people getting burnt out.

Thankfully, we’re seeing a shift in this old-fashioned approach to business. 

According to the Australian Government Workplace Gender Equality Agency, the proportion of Australian organisations in the private sector with flexible working strategies has exceeded 78%. In addition, many organisations have informal flexible working arrangements with their employees.

The pandemic and the subsequent skills shortages have given businesses the wake-up call they needed to really start valuing their staff’s health and wellbeing.

They’re now taking the time to include rewards, workshops, and experiences within working hours to ensure they have happy employees and a happy workplace.

This is the modern-day business – and employees won’t (and shouldn’t!) accept anything less.

Having a flexible and understanding approach to employees’ allocated working hours, location and workspace (within reason) can provide a much more productive, healthy and happier workplace. 

Here are some of the benefits and ways flexibility can be incorporated into the workplace. 

1. Know and trust your staff

COVID-19 saw many employers having to let go of the traditional working office, which saw employees having to physically come to work. They had to trust their employees to still be productive and show up albeit from home, and it soon became apparent that not only were employees showing up, they were often more productive, focused, happier, and less stressed. 

Many people discovered they were happier working from home without the daily commute, noise, distraction, bright office lighting, and excess stimulation an office can bring. Knowing your staff and working with them to find the right workspace recipe will allow your employees to flourish. 

2. Be flexible and understanding with day-to-day and week-to-week changes. 

With more than a third of our lives spent at work, its effects on our well-being can be vast. People are feeling the pinch more than ever when it comes to juggling family, commitments, their own health needs and work. Things can come up unexpectedly be it a child sick and home from school, a personal matter or appointment or simply feeling that based on their energy and workload/list, it’s best for them not to come into the office or change their hours slightly for that day. 

By supporting this kind of flexibility, employees are likely to feel safe to speak up and be transparent with their employer, allowing them to still be productive vs lie, call in sick, be wrecked with guilt, or feel any unnecessary added stress.

3. Provide a workplace that supports and prioritises staff wellness & well-being. 

The pace of life and the amount of things we now try to fit into each day (and that is often expected of us) can make for an easy excuse to allow fitness, nutrition, and mental & physical well-being to fall to the bottom of the list. Especially for working parents, who have very little time for themselves with time management already a big challenge. Parent or not, it’s the extra little things we can fit in and around a flexible workplace that inevitably supports our well-being and transfers into our quality of work. 

  • Being able to exercise before or after work or during the day without long commutes.
  • Not rushing to prepare food for the day or relying on available or purchased snacks, food and beverages in or around the office.
  • Extra sleep sans travel times 
  • Saving time getting ready and dressed in work attire
  • Being able to work in a quiet environment and feel more focused
  • Taking a break out in the sun or working outside in fresh air or a location of choice that supports the employees’ productivity. 
  • Fitting in some simple house chores like washing or picking up a few groceries during any allocated work breaks that may free up time after work to enjoy to themselves, with a friend, their kids or their other half. 

Want more practical strategies and ideas to cultivate wellness in the workplace? Check out our Workplace Wellness page and reach out to us at wecare@happinessco.org to find out more about how Happiness Co can help. 

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