More Aussie bosses are letting their employees work from home, new research has found.
New data by the Women’s Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) revealed seven in 10 workplaces now had a formal working-from-home policy, doubling since pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
Almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of the 5,000 employers surveyed said they were more likely to approve formal flexible working arrangements because of COVID.
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Since the onset of the pandemic, bosses had also been increasingly offering flexible hours of work (74 per cent, up from 65 per cent), job sharing (52 per cent, up from 45 per cent) and compressed working weeks (42 per cent, up from 31 per cent).
WGEA director Mary Wooldridge said flexible work was a key driver for gender equality, but employers needed to get creative in their policies.
“Innovative actions we’ve seen from employers include creating shifts specifically within or outside of school hours and offering job sharing or part-time work arrangements for managerial or executive roles,” Wooldridge said.
“These types of measures make it easier for men and women to equally participate in the workforce – whether that’s from the office or home.”
A recent study found 35 per cent of Aussies would quit their job or start looking for a new one if their employer forced them to return to the office full-time.
But Wooldridge noted working from home could have negatives. For instance, some employees reported working longer hours, while others were excluded from important meetings and didn’t have enough time with leaders.
“COVID has undoubtedly changed how we think about remote working and, while that is a big shift, it risks creating a two-tiered system – one for employees returning to workplaces and another for those who are not – if it is not implemented well,” Wooldridge said.