Should your business offer more flexible working conditions?

‘Flexible working arrangement’ is more than just a big-business buzzword.

A recent MYOB survey reveals that almost three in four businesses with 20 or more employees offer flexible arrangements, yet only 13% of businesses with 10–19 employees do the same.

This is in spite of 59% of small business owners saying workplace flexibility increases morale, and 43% saying it both reduces burnout and increases engagement and productivity.

What do flexible working arrangements look like?

The benefits of some common arrangements we see in the marketplace today include:


Type of arrangement Benefits
Flexible location, such as working from home or a different office. Reduces office overheads, allows staff to cut down on commuting time.
Flexible hours, such as allowing employees to work any eight-hour shift between 7am–7pm. Gives employees flexibility they need and, when coordinated with the wider team, can allow for longer business hours.
Flexible patterns, such as fitting a 40-hour week into four working days. Can free up office space on set days, and helps with employee retention.
Flexible rostering, such as split shifts. May allow for longer or more convenient business hours.
Job sharing, where two or more employees share one full-time position. Capitalises on strengths of different employees, and retains valuable staff.
Graduated return-to-work agreement. Largely used for maternity and extended sick leave, this allows an employee to return to work part-time and builds up to full-time work by a set date, maximising their performance and reducing the risk of burnout.
Purchased leave (sometimes called 48/52 leave), where employees take an extra four weeks’ leave each year, with their pay spread out over the year, so 48 weeks’ salary paid over 52 weeks). Employee flexibility, which is great for seasonal businesses.


What do I lose by not offering a flexible work environment?

Financial: You can save money on big-ticket expenses such as wages, training and overheads

Less tangible but equally important advantages include increased productivity and retaining your best and brightest employees.

Cultural: The benefits to employee wellbeing will help create a strong workplace culture which, in turn, will attract loyal customers and top talent.

Legal: More than just for parents with young children, the law requires most workplaces to consider flexible working arrangements for everyone. While there’s plenty of room to say no if it doesn’t work for you (like customer-facing staff wanting to work from home), if you are unfair or uneven with flexible arrangements, employees may have recourse against you.

And if all of that isn’t enough to reconsider whether you need a nine-to-five business, a survey by Officeworks found that 83% of small business owners said they too would like to work remotely once a month.

Looking to make your business more flexible? Speak to Prospa about the right finance option for you on 1300 882 867 or apply online for a small business loan.

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