Men at work – let’s talk about flexibility

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While much attention to date has focused on flexible work for women, particularly those with young children, recent data shows that men also value being able to work flexibly.

The Australian Workplace Relations Study – First Findings Report, published by the Fair Work Commission, shows that a key driver of men’s job satisfaction was the flexibility to balance work and non-work commitments, followed by the freedom to decide how to do your own work. These aspects of job satisfaction were rated ahead of total pay.

In addition, research by the Diversity Council Australia shows that 18% of all men and 29% of men under the age of 35 have seriously considered leaving their organisation because of a lack of flexibility.

For business too, the productivity gains from flexible work have started to be measured. A recent Ernst & Young report, Untapped opportunity, found significant productivity benefits from flexible work in the form of less time wasted when compared to traditional full-time workers.

Flexible work, aided by advances in technology, is increasingly becoming mainstream for many businesses. Employee expectations are evolving, demanding greater freedom to choose how and when to perform work to better align with their non-working lives. Employers also require flexibility to support key business objectives and attract and retain high-performing staff.

Ai Group has made application to the Fair Work Commission to vary modern awards to enable employers to better respond to employee requests for flexibility, in the form of time off in lieu of overtime, and make-up time.

With all this in mind, Ai Group is supporting the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s Equilibrium Man Challenge – a documentary series about how men in professional roles balance work and non-work commitments.

Supported by Ai Group members, Telstra and CISCO, the series portrays some innovative yet simple flexible work practices used by men and their employers to balance their working and personal lives.

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If you would like further information or assistance on how to mainstream flexibility in your organisation, contact Nicola Street or Genevieve Vaccaro in Ai Group’s Workplace Relations Policy team.

Has your organisation recognised the productivity benefits of flexible work, and its importance in the attraction and retention of talented staff? Share your experience and ideas below.

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Nicola Street
As Ai Group's National Manager – Workplace Relations Policy, Nicola is involved in employment test cases and law reform affecting the workplaces of industry. She regularly appears in the Fair Work Commission and Government Inquiries on behalf of Ai Group members, and has many years of “on the ground” strategic experience in advising employers in employment law and people & culture strategies.

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