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Employees willing to salary sacrifice for flexible working

Credit: Luke Peters

Employees willing to salary sacrifice for flexible working: Research

Research from payroll and HR software solutions provider, Ascender, shows that more than one in three (37 per cent) of Australians are willing to take a pay cut in order to work from home for the rest of 2020.

What does the research say?

The research involved 1000 Australians from all states in late June. The results indicated a desire to stay home for the rest of 2020 (54 per cent).

Richard Breden, General Manager at Ascender, was not surprised by this research.

“It was expected. [Working from home] was forced upon Australians. There has been a trend of working from home for many years but the reality of COVID-19 is that it was fast-tracked by at least a decade.”  

Mr Breden linked this statistic to health considerations, with a quarter of respondents (28 per cent) noting improved diets and exercise.

“What they reveal is that there’s a particular importance we’re paying to health.

“We are more mentally healthy and we are now placing a greater importance on the value of health than money.”

The research also revealed that Gen Z’s were the most willing to sacrifice salary for remote working. 71 per cent of those aged 18-24 years would consider doing so, compared to 58 per cent of workers aged 55-64.

What challenges will businesses face if transitioning to flexible working arrangements?

These workplace trends impact the future of sourcing talent.

“When attracting talent I need to know what’s important to them. The expectations of employees have changed. The research says employees value working from home,” said Mr Breden.

“Those organisations that embrace this and provide the right balance will be highly valued and may well win over an organisation that doesn’t provide flexibility but gives a higher remuneration.

“This isn’t about reducing wages, it’s about recognising just how much employees want flexibility. Businesses who want to remain competitive in the current climate must grasp the cultural benefits that will attract the brightest talent, then have the flexibility to adjust those policies to retain talent. A one-size-fits-all approach is no longer applicable in today’s evolved business environment.” 

Maintaining a workplace culture was also pinpointed as one of the key issues for businesses who are working flexibly.

“I think the culture of an organisation has been tested. Before when you’re in the office and you can engage on a day by day basis, you get a feeling about how you’re going because you’re seeing everyone every day. When you don’t have that, the foundations of your culture are tested.

“At Ascender, we have mindfulness and yoga sessions, exercise, talent quests, trivia nights… These things take time and energy but the return on your investment will drive a consideration of working from home even though we’re distanced.”

What are some top tips for transitioning to flexible working arrangements?

Mr Breden’s main tip was to offer a working-from-home quota as opposed to a fixed working-from-home schedule.

“They need to be flexible in their flexibility. You can’t say ‘we have flexible working arrangements, but be here Mondays and Thursdays,” said Mr Breden.

“Instead say ‘we would like to see you in the office 50 per cent of the time, and we would like to be flexible about what those days are. But we’ll leave it to you on what works for you and what works for your team.’

“Don’t contradict the principles of flexibility with rigidity about when people can work from home.”

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Ann Wen

Ann Wen

Ann is a journalist at Dynamic Business.

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