Flexibility over career: Australians report shift in perspective

New report sheds light on flexibility and belongingness in workplaces

Flexibility over career: Australians report shift in perspective

Many Australian employees are now putting more importance on flexibility than career progression, according to the latest LifeWorks report. The report, which was carried out among 1,000 employees from January 13 to 26, revealed that 60% of Australians believe that the where and when of workplaces are more important than compensation or promotion. Interestingly, managers are more than twice as likely as non-managers to say that career progression is more important than flexible work, according to the report, with parents also revealed to be 60% more likely to see progression as more important the flexible work arrangements.

The results arrive as flexibility emerges as one of the greatest takeaways by employees and employers from the pandemic, with much more attention brought to it now than before.

"In this ever-changing situation, our research for January highlighted that many employees are now placing more importance on workplace flexibility – where, when and how they work – rather than career progression, which often includes compensation, promotions and professional development," said Jamie MacLennan, Lifeworks senior vice president and managing director.

"It is critical for employers to pay attention to the shift in perspective from their employees," advised the executive.

According to the report, 33% of Australians said that flexibility was the most important action taken by their employers to support their mental health. Feeling more valued went second with 20% and then empathy with 18%, according to the report.

Read more: Flexibility set to be key battleground issue as employers push for office return

Belongingness

In addition to flexibility, belongingness in companies has become a challenge for employees due to the remote work arrangements triggered by the pandemic. However, it appears that the problem has gone beyond remote work, as 14% of Australians said that despite being on-site, they feel lonely and forgotten much of the time.

So, what could be the top drivers in creating a sense of belongingness in a pandemic-hit world? Australians said recognition or appreciation is on top with 20%. Having relationships with colleagues and gaining their respect can also help gain a sense of belonging at work.

Paula Allen, global leader and senior vice president, research and total wellbeing, said that leaders should consider such factors when cultivating a work environment that wants to support the wellbeing of employees.

"In addition to the services and tools they provide to support all facets of health, employers need to make sure their work culture is also supportive and visibly demonstrates recognition, appreciation, respect, and positive relationships with colleagues," Allen said in a statement.

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