Research has found that the Aussie workforce uses less of their annual leave entitlements than their counterparts in other parts of the world including the UK and Hong Kong, with the Robert Walters Poll finding that only 41% of Australian professionals used more than 75% of their annual leave in 2010. It has been suggested that professionals do not utilise their leave entitlement due to “feeling pressured, either by their employer or their own work ethic, to get all their work done or feeling guilty about going on holiday and leaving work for someone else to do” (Ken Phillips 2012).
While it is common for managers to see working flexible hours as an inconvenience, a lack of commitment or even a threat to the control of the workplace, the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) has noted that allowing employees to work flexible hours increases efficiency, innovation and overall performance.
AIM stresses that the concept of the ‘ideal worker’ no longer fits with the realities of a changed society and employers should be encouraging their employees to exercise their annual leave entitlements and should be open to negotiating flexible working arrangements.
Today’s 24/7 economy means many businesses have no option but to adapt their business model, including ‘standard’ operating hours, to meet the demands of clients and customer. Managing the shift away from traditional hours requires flexibility and consideration of people’s work/life balance.
While there are certain professions which provide flexible work hours outside of the nine to five, Monday to Friday regime, a large proportion of job seekers attribute their job search to seeking better work/life balance, with many trying to escape the inflexibility of rigid corporate roles.
Ben is the Chief Executive Officer of Employment Innovations (EI), he is also a qualified solicitor with a passion for business.
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