Does flexible work drive employee wellbeing?

Discover some simple strategies that can positively affect your people and your business!

It’s no secret that for many of us who were forced to work from home (WFH) during the pandemic, we suddenly experienced a work life balance unlike ever before. No commuting, flexibility in work hours, and more time exploring the great outdoors with our loved ones provided many positive benefits to our overall physical, emotional, and mental health. 

And whilst we may be on the other side of the extreme restrictions caused by the pandemic, workers are now desperate to protect this work-life balance. In fact, some of the most recent Australian research suggests that 93% of workers value their wellbeing as much as they do their salary.* And the main driver of achieving wellbeing, according to this study, is flexible work.

This current demand for flexibility has leaders experiencing increasing pressure to provide hybrid work conditions, not only to attract new employees, but to try and retain existing staff who might be looking elsewhere. If this sounds familiar, you might consider these three simple, yet meaningful, steps you can take towards supporting your employees, and your business, navigate this unfamiliar territory.

1.  Talk to your people

The revolution of flexible working is, generally, being driven by the worker. So, as a leader, it is essential you talk to your people to discover what they want and why they want it. An effective way of doing this is to hold focus groups and start a conversation with all your employees to genuinely try and understand their motivations and requirements. You can even have an external party facilitate these discussions to encourage open and constructive feedback.

2.  Consider the design of your future team 

Take an objective look at your current workforce structure and ask yourself, ‘what’s working well, and not so well.’ Although working in the office can be really effective for meaningful interactions such as onboarding, ideation, and complex tasks, deep-thinking tasks such as writing and analytics can prove much more productive at home. A good option for employers to consider are ‘anchor days’ where everyone is in the office on a particular day to work on those purposeful office activities together, rather than mandating a set number of days a worker must be in the office.

3.  Understand that increased wellbeing translates to better business outcomes

The research consistently shows us that when people have elevated levels of wellbeing, they are more likely to feel engaged, be productive, and be satisfied in their role, and are less likely to have sick days, experience burn-out and quit. So then, if flexible work is contributing positively to your employees’ wellbeing, this will ultimately benefit your business, too!

As consultants, we have worked with companies from a wide range of industries, so we do acknowledge that some of the more common flexibilities, like working from home, are not accessible to all workplaces and roles. We also recognise that extensive periods of remote work can be detrimental to a person’s wellbeing. 

But for the majority of clients we work with, flexible working that supports employee wellbeing is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s an expectation.  Leaders, we urge you to take this time as an opportunity re-connect with your people, reflect on your work structure, and see whether flexible working arrangements are something that you could implement effectively in your business. You never know, the pay-offs of employee health, productivity, and engagement could be better than you ever imagined.

Awareness Co. is a Wollongong based Employee Engagement and Wellbeing consultancy, providing HR solutions that go beyond just work performance, and focus on developing individuals and teams to thrive in work and in life. Awareness Co. use the latest evidence-based tools to improve wellbeing, resilience and performance transforming the way you think, feel and behave at work. To learn more about our services, and to book in for your FREE Awareness Assessment, visit

* ‘Reset, Restore, Reframe – Making Fair Work FlexWork’ – A Deloitte and Swinburne Edge Report June 2022 

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