Flexible work will continue to become the new normal in 2020

Once, flexible work was the domain of digital nomads and freelancers.

But the flexible work model is rapidly moving away from being a novelty and fast becoming the norm for Australian workplaces.

Once people enter flexible work arrangements, 90 per cent say they want to work that way for the remainder of their working career.

Remote workers say that having a flexible schedule is the main reason they enter these arrangements, with 40 per cent saying it is the primary benefit followed by working from any location (30 per cent), more family time (14 per cent) and the ability to work from home (13 per cent).

This trend is set to continue to rise year on year, with 73 per cent of all workers across all departments set to enter flexible work arrangements by 2028.

Workers have a legal right to request to work remotely

The Fair Work Act 2009 gives staff the right to request to enter flexible working arrangements under certain conditions.

To qualify, workers must have worked for their employer for at least 12 consecutive months, either on a part-time or full-time basis. There are several other criteria which can make them eligible for flexible work arrangements, including:

The benefits of flexible working arrangements

While being able to work from home certainly offers plenty of benefits to employees – like the ability to pick up and drop off children, work around children’s schedules and attend medical appointments – there is a raft of benefits for employers as well.

Employees on flexible work arrangements are likely to have a better work/life balance, less likely to be stressed and would be more productive than if they were not working under such an arrangement.

A business case published by the Australian Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency in 2019 revealed that flexible work arrangements led to benefits for employers including:

Can an employer refuse flexible working?

You can, but it can’t be a flat refusal – you are bound by law to provide a reason within 21 days of the request on reasonable business grounds. These include:

If the arrangement is feasible, though, it offers so many benefits to both the staff member and the company that it is definitely worth considering – especially as we live in a connected world in 2020 with all the tools to be in constant communication no matter where we are.

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