The State of Flex 2020

This information is based on reserach from the DCA-Suncorp Inclusion@Work Index 2019-20. Click here to read more about the Index

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%). 

All in all, workers with Flex Satisfaction 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 twice as likely to agree that their team provided excellent customer/client service. 

Figure 1: Impact of Flex Satisfaction on Team Performance

Flex Satisfaction Fuels Wellbeing

Flex Satisfaction not only fuels team performance, it 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. 

Figure 2: Impact of Flex Satisfaction on Employee Wellbeing

Figure 2: Impact of Flex Satisfaction on Employee Wellbeing

The State of Play for Flexible Workers 

How Common is Flexible Work? 

  • Two out of Three Australian Workers Have Worked Flexibly in the Past Year. All in all, just over two out of three Australian workers have regularly utilised some form of flexible work in the past year.
  • Most common is Flex Time, with close to two out of three (60%) having utilised this in the past year, followed by Flex Scheduling, with one in three (35%) having worked in this way. 
  • Least common are Flex Leave, Flex Place, and Predictable Time – with approximately one in thirteen, one in ten, and one in eight workers having utilised these options in the past twelve months. 

Figure 4: General Types of Flexible Work Regularly Utilised in Past 12 Months

Figure 4: General Types of Flexible Work Regularly Utilised in Past 12 Months

Flex Time = Part time work, School term-time work only, Part-year work/annualised hours, Job share, Compressed working week, Flexible work hours/shifts/start, breaks, finish times, Time-in-lieu, Shift swapping

Flex Scheduling = Flexible work hours/shifts/start, breaks, finish times, Time-in-lieu, Shift swapping

Flex Leave = Purchased leave, Leave at half pay, Leave in half-day increments

Flex Place = Telecommuting/working from home

Predictable Time = Predictable time off, and (for those on casual/rostered/shift work) Advance notice of regular work schedules, and Guaranteed shifts or guaranteed days (even if entire week is not guaranteed)


Part-Time Work is Most Common. Australian workers we surveyed were most likely to regularly utilise part-time work (close to one in three), followed by flexible work hours (one in five), time-off-in-lieu (one in seven), and work from home/telecommuting, shift swapping, and predictable time off (all roughly one in eleven).

Job Sharing is Least Common. All other types of flexible were not commonly utilised regularly, including compressed work week and job sharing (flex options referred to quite often in the general community) – with only 2% or 3% of surveyed workers having worked this way in the past year.  

Figure 5: Specific Flexible Work Options Regularly Utilised in Past 12 Months

Figure 5: Specific Flexible Work Options Regularly Utilised in Past 12 Months


Almost One In Three Workers Use Multiple Flex Options. Encouragingly, almost one in three of all Australian workers surveyed (29%) regularly used more than one type of flexibility in the past year. This means that approaching half (43%) of those Australian workers using flexible work used more than one type of flexibility.

Figure 6: Number of Flexible Work Options Regularly Utilised in Past 12 Months

Figure 6: Number of Flexible Work Options Regularly Utilised in Past 12 Months

Who is Most and Least Likely to Work Flexibly?

Workers with Caring Responsibilities Are Most Likely to Work Flexibly. Australian workers with childcare responsibilities (82%) or any caring responsibilities (79%), particularly women with caring responsibilities (84%), were most likely to have regularly worked flexibly in the past year, followed by workers with disability or who are younger (76%), and workers who are from an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander background, female or from a non-Christian religion (75%). 

Flexible Work for All Workers, Including Men and Workers with No Caring Responsibilities. The findings suggest that flexible work needs to be mainstreamed and made standard organisational practice for all workers, rather than just women with caring responsibilities. Of particular note is the notable low utilisation rate for men with no caring responsibilities – only 54% had regularly worked flexibly in the past year. 

Figure 7: Demographic Groups x Regularly Worked Flexibly in Past 12 Months

Figure 7: Demographic Groups x Regularly Worked Flexibly in Past 12 Months

Who is Most and Least Likely to be Satisfied with Flexibility?

Workers with Disability Are Least Most Likely to Be Flex-Satisfied. Australian workers with disability were least likely to strongly agree/agree that they had the flexibility they needed (63%), followed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers (65%). 

Figure 8: Level of Flex Satisfaction x Demographic Groups (% Strongly Agree/Agree I have the flexibility I need to manage work and other commitments)  

Figure 8: Level of Flex Satisfaction x Demographic Groups (% Strongly Agree/Agree I have the flexibility I need to manage work and other commitments)

This information is based on reserach from the DCA-Suncorp Inclusion@Work Index 2019-20. Click here to read more about the Index.

Download The State of Flex PDF.