Flexible work is the new normal


In the age of laptops and smartphones, the ‘9 to 5’ working day is becoming a thing of the past.

And why not? We’ve all got different commitments and priorities in our lives, so why should everyone have to work the same office hours?

The good news is a growing number of employers are embracing flexible working arrangements as a way of attracting and retaining quality employees.

For women in particular, who are more likely to be primary carers of children and elderly relatives, increased flexibility provides a great opportunity to strengthen and extend their careers. This has important flow-on effects of higher incomes and more superannuation, which will help to narrow the gender gap that still exists in Australia.

Building a more flexible bank

As part of its commitment to improve the diversity of its workforce, ANZ has asked its leaders across Australia and New Zealand to “consider all roles flexible”.

(Now former) ANZ chief executive officer Mike Smith said he and his management board share the view that working flexibly supports the business, customers and employees in a far more ­effective way than does ­traditional, rigid work patterns.

“The business case for flexibility is well documented: productivity, workplace agility, improved engagement, global connectivity, enhanced careers and wellbeing,” Mr Smith said.

As part of ANZ’s goal to make flexibility mainstream, ANZ includes a new tagline in all internal and external job advertisements in Australia and New Zealand: "We work flexibly at ANZ. Talk to us about how this role could be flexible for you."

This new tagline is designed to 'mainstream flexibility' and send a message to candidates, recruiters and ANZ hiring managers that anyone can now request flexibility for any reason.

Changing the way we work

The increasing popularity of adaptable working arrangements reflects the growing number of employees who want to operate their lives more flexibly.

The part-time army

Sure, many people are happy to take calls and respond to work emails after hours. But they also need more time to care for children and elders, study, take care of short-term emergencies, travel, play golf early in the morning, and attend family events.

Flexible working arrangements enable people to do these things without sacrificing their careers. This is a significant change in mindset that will improve quality of life for many Australians.