Flexible workspace the ‘new norm’

Flexible workspace the ‘new norm’

31 May 2019

New research from flexible workspace provider, IWG, suggests that businesses that do not have a flexible workspace policy risk losing out on top talent.

In Australia, 84 per cent of workers say they would turn down a job that didn’t offer flexible working.

The latest IWG Global Workplace Survey shows that 83 per cent of people would choose a job which offered flexible working over a job that didn’t, and almost a third (28 per cent) of people value being able to choose their work location over an increase in holiday allowance.

“With half of business people globally reporting that they work outside one of their main office locations half the week or more, it is safe to say that we are way beyond that. Flexible working is the new norm,” says IWG CEO Mark Dixon.

“Business leaders worldwide told us about the need to attract and retain the best talent, while 4 out of every 5 respondents stated that, given two similar job offers, they would turn down the one that didn’t offer them flexible working,” he said.

Australian businesses currently lead the world in offering work flexibility to attract and retain top workers in an increasingly competitive talent market, with nearly 90 per cent of businesses reportedly using the strategy.

Meanwhile, over the past ten years, 85 per cent of businesses worldwide have introduced a flexible workspace policy.

“The findings signal that, when it comes to dictating what an average working day entails, there has been a power shift towards the employee,” Mr Dixon said.

According to IWG, the evidence shows that modern businesses must embrace a flexible working culture on at least some level in order to stay competitive.

Those that don’t embrace this ‘new normal’ risk lagging behind and missing out on all the many benefits it can bring.

Some businesses, however, have struggled to embrace the flexible working space concept.

IWG found that changing the organisational culture is the main barrier to implementing a flexible workspace policy, particularly within businesses that have a long-standing, non-flexible working approach.

Over a third (41 per cent) say that fear of how flexible working may impact the overall company culture is the biggest obstacle.

One of the key reasons businesses are introducing flexible working is the desire to reduce worker commute times.

Commuters are increasingly disgruntled by their journey to work, with one in five respondents saying that they are ‘regularly late’ for work due to travel disruptions.

Because almost half of workers spend their commute working, many of them think that official working hours should include time spent on their journey, as this does not constitute ‘free time’ in their day.

For these reasons and more, industry commentators say flexible working is expected to help businesses extract more value out of their operations by reducing fixed overheads, increasing agility and improving productivity.

A recent Regus report estimated that by 2030, the US could see an economic boost of as much as $4.5 trillion annually from flexible working, while China and India could gain respectively $1.4 trillion and $376 billion extra annually.