Despite the substantial benefits to flexible working, only 53 percent of Australian small business owners offer employees the opportunity to switch up their working locations.
The national research, conducted by Officeworks, has investigated the working habits of employees and preferences of small business owners across Australia to see how much emphasis is put on flexible working environments.
From the 1,000 employees surveyed, 34 percent would like to work away from their usual workplace at least once a week, but only 49 percent are offered this freedom.
Those who do receive this flexibility see great benefits, including less stress (44 percent), higher levels of productivity (42 percent) and feeling happier (40 percent).
Officeworks spokesperson, Psychologist Dr Suzy Green of the Positivity Institute, says with the professional environment evolving, employers must be more in-tune with the changing needs of their workforce.
“The Officeworks research results and associated supporting scientific studies demonstrate that working flexibly is a win/win situation for both employees and employers – delivering a more productive, focused and happier workforce.”
Despite only 53 percent of small business owners offering their team the opportunity to work from home, in a café or simply hot desking, a large number are well aware of the positive benefits.
85 percent of small business owners themselves would like to work away from their workplace at some point during the month. While 34 percent said that working from home is the preferred location when offering flexible working to their staff members.
40% of small businesses believe workers are less productive if they are not offered the opportunity to switch up their working locations.
Although the need to meet with clients (30 percent) and engaging with colleagues (29 percent) were identified as barriers for employees, workplaces can overcome these obstacles by providing staff with access to the technology which enables virtual communication.
“Offering employees the opportunity to shape how they work provides significant psychological benefits and autonomy. As well as overall wellbeing, other aspects like job satisfaction, staff retention and cost savings can also be attributed to this way of working, all of which should be hugely important to small business owners,” Dr Green concluded.
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