Australians long to work less; employers must embrace flexibility

by 21 Nov 2011

New research has added weight to the old notion that Australians prefer lazy days over hard work – some 95% of Australians wish they could work less than 30 hours each week.


The new poll released today by Gallup revealed the alarming statistic, and the consulting group affirmed the result should set alarm bells ringing to organisations that have not incorporated flexible work options.


Allan Watkinson, senior consultant at Gallup Consulting Australia, said management and leadership styles need to adapt to distributed and flexible workplaces.   


In addition to building specific skills as part of leadership and management development programs, Gallup Consulting highlighted four main areas businesses must harness in the rise of flexible workplaces, namely:

1. Talent management

  • Organisations must hire people with the right talent-set to work flexibly – eg highly motivated, results-driven, good communicator, flexible etc.
  • Managers need to build on these capabilities among team members working remotely and manage their strengths

2. Outcome-orientated workforce

  • Employees must to be trained to be results-driven as opposed to task-driven

3. Technology

  • Products, services and information have the capacity to exponentially change how organisations are currently structured, managed and positioned
  • Employees should possess adequate resources to do their jobs well

4. Communication

  • Employees must feel part of a virtual team with open lines of communication
  • Employees need to receive adequate support in order for them to achieve their goals
  • Virtual teams should balance face-time with other forms of communication

Watkinson said that while managing flexible workplaces isn’t without challenges, keeping the team focused on their outcomes and connected with each other and the larger organisation is critical.


“Even in a flexible working environment, people still need a sense of connection and association with others, so the role of the manager is to facilitate this by bringing people together from time to time. Face to face contact is still the most effective,” Watkinson said.


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  • by Angie Gibson 24/11/2011 11:56:21 AM

    Outcomes driven is the way to ensure staff perform in the right areas - 'busy ness' is rife but what are they busy on - as above we need train them to be results driven not task driven.

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