28 October 2015

Is rigid adherence to traditional workplace models costing you productivity?

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While workplace flexibility has been the go-to buzzword in HR and business circles for some time now, the reality is most small businesses appear to be fine with flexibility in theory, but not in practice.

Recently released research by Galaxy for business solutions provider Citrix suggests the Australian economy, and small to medium businesses, are missing out on productivity gains estimated to be approximately $135 billion each year to the national economy.

56 per cent of people surveyed said they were not able to work from home and 72 per cent said they wanted the opportunity.

Statistics show that Australian workers lose approximately 82 million hours a week commuting to and from work, with average travel costs totaling approximately $109 million a week.

As the Australian workplace transitions and millennials become the driving force of the business community, the inability to work from home could put employers in the position of higher than average staff turnover along with the additional costs of recruiting and on the job training of a parade of new employees.

The harsh reality is the majority of organisations do not trust their employees to be as productive at home as they do in the office,” said Citrix regional director Lindsay Brown. “Even though the economic and social benefits offer a compelling argument that we can no longer ignore.”

As Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said recently, Australia needs to be innovative and agile as the economy transitions away from traditional revenue generation and moves to a digital economy.

With the age of retirement extending to 70 and Federal Government calls for older Australians to return to work, the benefit to older Australian’s and the country's employers is obvious.

Respondents surveyed aged 55 – 69 said they would work more hours and stay in the workforce longer, if flexible work options, such as working from home, were available.

A reputation for treating your staff as people, not only as profit generating silos, is what will position organisations into preferred workplaces for future generations.

Traditional modes of operating, the daily 9 to 5 grind, no longer require people to be present in an office. With the growth of telecommuting and the development of the Australian NBN, the opportunities for employee savvy businesses are endless.

Do you agree with the report findings that employers don’t trust their workers to be productive when working from home? Leave a comment below and tell us your opinion on the realities of workplace flexibility and working from home. 

Mike Cullen has recently returned to Akolade after a period as the conference producer for one of Australia's leading economic think tanks. Mike began working in the conference industry in 2007 after looking for a career change from the high pressured world of inbound customer service. Mike has worked for some of the most well known conference and media companies in the B2B space and in his spare time is working on his first novel in a planned Epic Fantasy trilogy.

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