Could offering flexitime boost productivity?

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Women in flexible roles waste 11.1% of their time, compared to an average of 14.5% for the rest of the working population, according to a new survey.

The report by Ernst & Young Australia, ‘Untapped opportunity: The role of women in unlocking Australia’s productivity potential’, also found that “women with a high level of job flexibility waste less time, are more productive and have more clarity over their career direction”.

Jackie Mulligan, co-founder of New Zealand’s specialist legal consultancy McKenzie Ellis, works part time and says time constraints and deadlines means flexible workers have to be more productive.

Although Ellis now works a few hours over the weekend or half an hour in the evening when particularly busy, this was not always the case.

She recalls working part time for a law firm 10 years ago, and knowing if she did not complete her work within the set time she would be late picking her children up from school.

“This meant I’d work through lunch or not spend 10 minutes chatting with a colleague at the printer, or skipping coffee breaks in order to get the work done.”

This was a big difference from full-time work where she was able to waste time and then make up for it later.

Allowing greater flexibility also instills a sense of confidence in employees, she says. Employers’ “faith” in employees to complete their work within the time frame leads to greater job satisfaction.

In her experience, many organisations, especially IT, are very open-minded to flexible workers while law firms are slowly becoming more open to them.

 

Does your company offer flexitime and have you seen an increase in productivity?

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