How can we encourage organisations to adopt 21st century best practices in the workplace?

What’s the problem?

Alt text Our everyday lives and those of the people around us are changing as the world changes. However, the workplace hasn’t necessarily kept pace.

Employees are squeezed between demands outside work and the rigid structures within the office. And it is in the interests of the business to provide greater flexibility where appropriate. As well as meeting legal obligations, flexible work arrangements may help employers attract and retain employees, who can be productive while still being able to meet responsibilities outside of work.

Workplace flexibility means taking a different approach to traditional ways of working. Flexible work practices are those which vary from the traditional Monday to Friday, nine to five work pattern. Introducing workplace flexibility may involve job redesign, changes in hours of work, or changes in patterns or location of work.

Despite advances, workforce participation rates still aren’t as high as they could be, especially for women, young people, parents and people with disability. It is time for workplaces to do more to counter this trend.

Eight things you need to know

  • In 2014-15, there was a 10% jump in number of people reliant on unemployment payments, who have been unable to find a job for more than a year.

  • With population ageing, the working-age population (aged 15 to 64) will decline from 67% in 2013 to 63% in 2033 and 61% in 2061. This translates in to less working aged people per aged person.

  • Workforce participation refers to the proportion of the population of people aged 15 years and over who are actively engaged in the workforce.

  • Workforce participation rates aren’t as high as they could be, especially for women, young people, parents and people with disability.

  • Women constitute 69.1% of all part-time employees, 35.7% of all full-time employees and 54.7% of all casual employees

  • Workforce participation rates for Australian women remain lower than some other advanced economies such as Canada and New Zealand.

  • Today around 66 per cent of women aged 15 to 64 are employed. By 2054–55, female employment is projected to increase to around 70 per cent.

  • According to Forbes, successful 21st Century workplaces recognise that employees are now the most valuable assets in an organisation. To attract and retain the best, companies need to provide their employees with a culture and environment that inspires them to be their best.

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