Great expectations: Why flexibility is changing how we work forever

All Case Studies > Great expectations: Why flexibility is changing how we work forever

Truth time — you may not have realised it yet, but we’re in the middle of a seismic shift in how we all work. 

That’s right.

9-5 is dead. ‘Lifer’ jobs are gone. Technology is king. Remote is here to stay. 

Enter the age of flexibility, where functioning as a human being is finally getting the recognition it deserves in contract negotiations. 

It’s been a long time coming of course, but attitudes towards work aren’t just changing, they’re being totally dismantled and rebuilt. And if you’re not keeping up as an employer you’re almost certainly going to be left behind. 

Throw a pandemic into the mix, and with it, forced separation and a chance to reflect on almost every aspect of our lives, and suddenly you have all the ingredients required for the biggest reset in workplaces for the past 50 years.

Here’s some compelling reasons why this moment isn’t just going to be a puff of smoke —

  1. Burnout is real. Just a couple of years back (even before we all knew what a ‘lockdown’ meant) the World Health Organisation officially categorised burnout as a ‘workplace phenomenon’ that resulted in chronic workplace stress. Many organisations have listened and are working to address it. A large survey of 1.75 million people also recorded a 33% jump in employee burnout signals in 2021 alone. It’s backed up by a startling survey from Microsoft that found people’s patience is wearing dangerously thin with 40% of the entire global workforce considering quitting their jobs this year.
  2. It’s time to reimagine where we work. The horse has bolted. Studies across the globe are supporting the notion that a return to the status quo just simply isn’t going to happen. The vast majority of workers don’t want to go back to how things were before COVID hit, with one US survey showing that 83% of employers say that the shift to remote work has been successful for their company2. This sentiment is typical across similar studies.
  3. Productivity is up. More than a third of employees and over half of executives agree that the shift to remote work has resulted in gains in the output according to one study3. It doesn’t appear to simply be a honeymoon phase either, with spaced-out surveys showing a steady increase in productivity over six months.
  4. Job-sharing is gaining traction. Even more pertinent now given the chronic skills shortage plaguing the tech industry in Australia, coupled with an attitude shift in getting real about work-life balance, job-sharing is proving to be a neat solution on several levels. That’s a win-win for both employees and employers.

 

The future is flexible (and already here)

Flexibility has been the exception to the rule for so long now that companies that were championing the model were seen as the unicorns. But if recent studies are anything to go by, we’re going to have to find a new mythical creature to describe the outliers.

Entire industries are trying to get ahead of the movement in order to understand how they can best take advantage of this current nebulous environment. And for those who haven’t caught up yet, talk of the ‘Great Resignation’ should rightly send a rocket up them.

Another recent survey out of the UK showed that 75.3% of parents reported they would like to work more flexibly in the future after getting a taste of it4.

 

One role, twice the brain power

It’s something that rings true for Senior Functional Sales Consultant at Cloudwerx and new mum, Supriya Shonnard.

“I’ve seen job-sharing in practice before and it’s really motivating and empowering,” she says. “In many ways, with two brains on the one job, it’s like a power upgrade to your processing ability.”

Supriya lives a good one-hour commute away from the Cloudwerx offices, so given the online nature of the work we do, it made total sense to build things around whatever made life easier for her.

“It’s not easy to work from home and be a mum at the same time, so when I went on maternity leave I left the option open to return part-time, and the team was super supportive of it.”

“HR saw an opportunity to share one FTE across two people, so they matched it up with personality and working style and we made it happen.”

“I love my job, but my other job being a mum is just as important too.”

 

Investing in people is just the right thing to do

People. Process. Technology. Our pillars define who we are as a company, and culture plays a pivotal role in that.

As Supriya points out, there’s not much point in having all our ducks in a row if we forget about the human side of things.

“Processes can be awesome but there’s no point if you don’t account for the human to human interaction side of it.”

It’s a really good point. When we workshop together as a team at the start of a project, part of the reason we do this is so people are involved from the outset. It forces empathetic thinking by stepping away from conceptual processes and into the human experience.

 

More people, new ideas, better outcomes

The same thinking applies to job-sharing. And as Supriya suggests, it’s not just about splitting roles and responsibilities, it’s harnessing the potential of new ideas for people.

“It’s never a set and forget. The onus is on both of us to create operational rhythm so it’s as seamless as possible for the customer and the end users who benefit from the ideas we come up with.”

At its heart, our job sharing program is as much about our customers and their clients as it is about looking after our own team members. Every internal process we implement needs to be justified with a positive external outcome. 

We’re happy that we can help Supriya find the balance she needs, but we’re also excited by the new perspectives that are bound to be discovered with the projects Supriya and her job share partner will work on together.

It’s been a big couple of years, but sometimes disruption can be the best driver for positive change.

If this is the new normal, we’re more than ready to embrace it.

 


1 – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/burnout-signs-have-risen-33-2020-here-seven-ways-reduce-george-anders/

2 – https://www.pwc.com/us/en/library/covid-19/us-remote-work-survey.html

3 – https://www.pwc.com/us/en/library/covid-19/us-remote-work-survey.html

4 – https://www.newstatesman.com/spotlight/2021/01/future-work-flexible

If you would like to hear more about how the Cloudwerx approach can help your business, reach out today! You can contact us directly via our website, here