New research suggests enabling flexible work makes employees happier and more engaged, as Australian workers navigate returning to the office.
The study, conducted by the NSW government in partnership with Edith Cowan University, found employees able to work remotely and who could dictate the terms of their work, gave overwhelmingly positive feedback on their workplace. The report found workers surveyed said their emotional security was better looked after despite being socially isolated at home.
The study looked at the psychological health of the 1,039 white collar employees interviewed about their experience of lockdown, finding that the industry workers were in had little impact on their experience of lockdown. Those who reported the greatest benefits were those who had a disability or had caring responsibilities, with those reporting benefits overwhelmingly being women.
The key finding of the study was that flexible workers placed a high value on feeling trusted by managers and employers.
NSW Centre of Work Health and Safety director Skye Buatava said the research was conducted to examine the impact of an overwhelming move toward flexible work by organisations following work-from-home orders imposed by the pandemic.
Buatava said the research showed flexible working arrangements would be an overall net positive.
“It’s reassuring to see that for the most part, working flexibly can be a very positive experience,”
At the same time, the dramatic work from home shift during the pandemic has “highlighted the need to ensure the right support mechanisms are in place for modern ways of working,” with the NSW government using the research as a touchpoint for developing tools to support businesses in transitioning to a new way of working.
The survey results highlighted the gaps in many companies’ infrastructure for remote and flexible workforces.
“We discovered some flexible workers felt their organisation did not have adequate work health and safety processes in place and that training around mental wellness was lacking,” Buatava said.
In response to the survey’s outcomes, the centre has launched best practice guides and resources on supporting flexible workers.
Source: Business Insider