w21: The 21st Century Womeninleadership

Dismantling the barriers to gender equality in the workplace

In recent times, organisations in Australia are starting to understand the importance of workplace flexibility as an enabler to gender equality.
A flexible workplace is one in which the employer and employee can modify the standard working arrangement in order to accommodate the commitments of the employee outside of work. Workplace flexibility can come in various forms and usually include changes in the Pattern, location, and hours of work. In recent years, the need for flexibility in the workplace is increasing as everyone tries to maintain a work-life balance in which Competing priorities are at play.
Workplace flexibility can take different forms. This include

Flexible hours

This gives you the opportunity to choose the time you start and finish work.

Compression in working weeks

You can work your stipulated hours but within a shorter period by working longer shifts. For example, you can work a forty-hour week in four days at ten hours each instead of five days at eight hours.

Work from home or telework

You can work from any other place apart from the official workplace. It is most effective when you spend equal times at your official workplace and any other place. This will reduce the isolation that may result from working outside of the office.

Purchased leave

A leave without any payment in which the employees can deduct the amount of the leave from worker’s salary

Others include;
  • Unpaid leave
  • Time in lieu
  • Job sharing

Understating workplace flexibility

It is not every adjustment in the workplace that qualifies as workplace flexibility. Most times, employers confuse ordinary and minor work adjustment to mean flexible work arrangements. For instance, taking parental leave, compassionate leave, or carer’s leave does not constitute workplace flexibility. They are part of the employee’s right just as personal leave and annual leave. It is possible to consider part-time work as workplace flexibility, but it may not offer much flexibility, especially as to the time and location of work, and it is almost similar to full-time work. Of course, it gives a person the chance to work even when they can’t work full-time, so it is quite flexible too.

Why workplace flexibility

Employers now recognise flexible working as a way to attract and retain workers from all gender and age groups. It fosters employee’s productivity and engagement while also boosting their happiness and wellbeing. Access to workplace flexibility been linked to;

Better ability to attract and retain workers

Improved productivity in the organisation

Improving the wellbeing of the employee

Increasing the proportion of women occupying executive and management leadership positions

Workplace future-proofing

Over 70% of organisations in the Australia private sector now have flexible working policies and/or strategies. Many also have informal flexible work arrangements with employees. Flexible working is needed by everyone, and WGEA considers it a key requirement of its Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation.