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Flexible work post-COVID

Workplace Gender Equality Agency

2021

Australia

Fact Sheet

Workplace Gender Equality

Flexible work post-COVID

Flexible work post-COVID

The Flexible work post-COVID factsheet, published by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency of the Australian Government, explores the impact that the COVID pandemic has had on both women and men’s workforce participation, employee satisfaction and productivity.

The factsheet analyses 2021 data collected from private sector organisations with 100 or more employees, representing over 4 million Australian employees, on the uptake of flexible work arrangements due to COVID.

The factsheet explains how the COVID pandemic disrupted the way we work and has illustrated that traditional ways of working, which placed great value on presenteeism, are now firmly in the past. These major changes to employees’ preferences about different workplaces, work time and patterns are here to stay.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency data shows that the COVID pandemic has created widespread support for flexible working, amongst employees and employers alike. While COVID has shown that flexible work has great potential to reduce gender segregation and increase female workforce participation, concerns about the gendered impact on domestic work and unpaid care remain.

Highlights

  • In relation to gender equality, the factsheet explores the potential unforeseen negative consequences that the shift to remote working during the pandemic may have had, with the lines between work and home becoming more blurred.
  • However, the analysis also shows that, when managed wisely, access to flexibility has the potential to boost women’s workforce participation and provide more equitable access to male-dominated industries and occupations, including in leadership roles.
  • Likewise, the factsheet highlights how men working from home for an extended period during the pandemic have now experienced the different demands of family, care and domestic work, and how this experience can lead to greater appreciation of domestic demands and the value of flexible working.
  • Furthermore, this means that men’s engagement in flexible work during the pandemic has the potential to change gender norms at work and at home for good.

Contents

  • WGEA 2020-21 data
  • COVID and the shift to flexible work
  • Flexible working boosts gender equality
  • Actions for employers
    • Make “All Roles Flex”
    • Trust your people
    • Role model flexibility by Managers and Leadership
    • Communicate effectively
    • Acknowledge the adjustment
    • ‘Log off and check out’ at home and in the office
  • Related resources

This factsheet was originally published on the Australian Government Workplace Gender Equality Agency website.

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