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Flexibility – the word determining the winners from the losers for Employers.

The job market in Australia has certainly been rocked through Covid times especially when we’ve had so much time to think about what is important to us in our working space. While salaries continue to be forefront in most people’s minds, another element is having an even more momentous effect on the battle for white collar workers, and that, is flexibility.

You don’t have to go far to hear of global candidate shortages and an increasing oversupply of jobs. And now, after decades of office 9 to 5s, more people are recognising and seeking out a healthy work life balance.


So what exactly is workplace flexibility? It can mean different things to different people but in simple terms, flexibility is when the employer gives some or full freedom to an employee to choose how, where, and when they work. This can include;

  • Hybrid work from home/office

  • Part time hours

  • A shift in start / finish times – starting or finishing earlier or later

  • Shared employment options

  • Time off unpaid

  • Study leave

  • Condensed work weeks – for instance 4 x 10 hour days with Fridays off

  • Sabbaticals

As recruiters, when asking candidates what are the most important areas they are wanting to improve when looking for a new role, we now frequently hear that some sort of flexibility in their working arrangements is either at the top of their wish list or lands well in their top 3.


When it comes to Real Estate we have seen many Melbourne companies introduce hybrid models with staff now working 2-3 days from home. This has come as a welcome reprieve to improve the health and well-being of staff, especially in property management, where the strain of Covid has certainly taken its toll. Our Property Managers bore the brunt of frustrated landlords topped with major legislation change in 2021 and in a report by REB in Feb 2022, it was predicted that 23% of Property Managers intend to leave their jobs and move out of property management entirely.


Dan Auerbach, a workplace psychology consultant and Director with Associated Employee Assistance Providers reported that 30% of people believe they’ll work from home more often than they did before the pandemic, and 2 in 3 Australian job seekers now say they’d choose to work from home at least once a week if they had the choice. Two days a week is the most popular option.


Auerbach* says workplace flexibility will be a defining factor in being an employer of choice. “It was on the cards for a long time, trialed by various workplaces, and now it’s going to be essential if you want to compete,”.


It seems however, many companies foresaw the need for flexibility well before Covid-19 and have been adopting a more agile arrangement and reaped the benefits for some time.


David Koczkar, CEO of Medibank stated** “We’ve had flexible working embedded in our business for many years now. People will come into the office when they need to connect and collaborate in a room with others, but it is not a Monday to Friday requirement. This approach is helping teams be intentional about the type of work they are doing rather than being led by where they’re doing it. It’s also allowing our people to focus on their own health and wellbeing more effectively.




Ian Narev, Managing Director and CEO of Seek also states ** “Flexibility is not something new to us. Our product and tech teams have been collaborating across borders for years. At the same time, most of our people love being with each other for at least some of their time, and that strengthens culture. We expect two to three days to be the norm, but are encouraging our leaders to work out what suits their individual teams best”


Given the many ways Covid-19 has changed and is still changing the world, it is entirely possible that the pandemic has been the tipping point for flexible work many of us have been hoping for. Some employers have found it difficult to adapt to this new way of thinking, and for those unable to acclimatise towards this important shift, their battle to attract, secure and retain staff is only going to intensify.


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*Source: Independent research conducted by Nature on behalf of SEEK, interviewing 4800 Australians annually. Published November 2020.

** Source: Financial Review December 2021


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Marie Phillips
Marie Phillips
28 mag 2022

Scary that so many Property Managers will leave...!

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