Flexible working arrangements generally improve productivity

by Liz Benson

In her book Thrive, Arianna Huffington recalls a story from Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, about how much more productive she became because, after she had kids, she started to consider where she was investing her time: “I found that once I had kids, I was not just working less, I was more productive. Having children forced me to treat every minute of my time as precious…did I really need that meeting? Was that trip essential? And not only did I get more productive, but everyone around me did too as I cut out meetings that weren’t essential to them also.”

When it comes to productive employees, women stand out.

EY shared its productivity potential of women in the workforce study, revealing that Australian and New Zealand organisations could save at least $1.4 billion on wasted wages by employing female employees in flexible roles due to their productivity levels.

Since the 1970s, the rate of women in the work place has increased from 40 per cent to 60 per cent in 2017. Australian Bureau of Statistics data indicates that 53.4 per cent of Australian mums are working.

What makes flexible working mums more productive?

  • Flexibility: for working parents, flexible working arrangements are often highly sought-after and therefore they work hard to ensure these arrangements work for themselves and their employer. 
  • Time-management: due to multiple commitments and priorities, in particular hard deadlines for child collections, time is a precious commodity and therefore not to be wasted. 
  • Fulfilment: working provides women with independence, purpose and an opportunity to follow their interests. They’re happy to be working. 
  • Motivated: working after hours or on weekends detracts from time spent with the family, downtime, and keeping the home running, so being productive during working hours relieves the guilt of missing deadlines and having to sacrifice family time for work tasks.
  • Team-players: a study by Microsoft found that employers felt women with children were better team players.
  • Multi-tasking: an obvious one, however it makes women tackle tasks a little differently, such as having a phone meeting while taking a walk at lunch. Simple but effective.

 Flexible working should be available to everyone in the workforce so, if you think you’d benefit from a more flexible working arrangement, consider speaking with your employer about how it can work for you and the organisation. For tips on how to request flexibility, read our blog here.