Flexible Working Day 2020: Let’s make flexible work the new normal

Media releases

Research released today from the DCA-Suncorp Inclusion@Work Index has shown flexible work fuels performance and improves employee wellbeing and will be critical in ensuring an inclusive recovery post COVID-19.

Data from the DCA-Suncorp Inclusion@Work Index found that employees who work flexibly were significantly more likely than workers without flexibility to report their team excelled at customer service, working hard, working together effectively, and innovating.

DCA CEO, Lisa Annese, said the publication of these results was timely given the reliance on flexible work arrangements during the COVID-19 response.

“We have known for a long time at DCA that flexibility is a great tool for improving business performance.

“But with many workplaces introducing flexible work for the first time, it’s further demonstrating the clear link between flexibility and performance.

“These results show that flexible workers were four times as likely to indicate their team was innovative, close to three times as likely to report that their team was working together effectively, and approximately twice as likely to indicate that their team provided excellent customer/client service. Flexible workers are also willing to work extra hard for their team.

“Flexible workers also reported higher levels of wellbeing and satisfaction,” said Ms Annese.

DCA’s research was conducted in 2019, however, as COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted, and organisations start making plans for the return to offices, there is a real opportunity not to return to ‘business as usual’, but to make flexibility the new normal, added Ms Annese.

“Mainstreamed flexible work will be an essential tool in ensuring an inclusive recovery. As businesses have to adapt to new conditions, having a workforce that is working collaboratively and innovatively will be more important than ever.

“Our research showed that the workers most likely to have accessed flexible work remained those with caring responsibilities. However, as entire workforces have started working from home, here is chance for Australian businesses to mainstream flexibility across their organisation and improve performance,” said Ms Annese.

Suncorp CEO Steve Johnston said, “Flexible working has been a big part of our culture for many years and it’s regularly called out by our people as a highlight of working at Suncorp. It goes a long way in making people feel valued and respected, which in turn helps them be their best for our customers.

“Any normal day prior to coronavirus we could have up to 30% of our employees working remotely, and the systems and capabilities we have in place put us in a good position to respond quickly to the current environment.

“There is now a great opportunity to take what we’ve learned during this time to further enhance flexibility at Suncorp for all our employees,” Mr Johnston said.

Key findings:

Flex Satisfaction fuels performance:

Workers with the flexibility they need to manage work and other commitments – Flex Satisfaction – are significantly more likely than workers without this perceived flexibility to report that their team excelled at:

  • Working hard (69% for workers with the flex they needed versus 39% for workers without)
  • Customer/client service (65% for workers with the flex they needed versus 29% for workers without)
  • Working together effectively (65% versus 23%), and
  • Innovating (54% versus 12%).

Flex Satisfaction also fosters employee satisfaction, success, and security:

  • Satisfaction. Flex Satisfied workers are five times as likely as their colleagues who are not to report being very satisfied with their job (68% of Flex Satisfied workers versus 13% of workers who are not).
  • Success. Flex Satisfied workers are also more than twice as likely to be recognised at work. In the past 12 months, 76% of these workers received constructive performance feedback (versus 33% of workers who were not satisfied), 65% were provided with a career development opportunity (versus 29%), and 38% had a mentor or sponsor who had assisted them in their careers (versus 15%).
  • Security. These workers are close to three times as likely to stay with their current employer (62% of Flex Satisfied workers were not at all likely to look for another job compared to 22% of workers who are not satisfied).

View the detailed findings on our website.

About the research:  the 2019-2020 Inclusion@Work Index surveyed a nationally representative sample of 3,000 Australian workers and is repeated biennially to map and track inclusion in the Australian workforce over time.

ENDS

Media contact: Diane Falzon, 0430 596 699, Catherine Petterson, 0419 447 331.

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