Flexible working practices are here to stay as Australian employers embrace the way our workplaces have transformed since the global pandemic of 2020.
With employees across the country having built up the reps and know-how to make working remotely a success long-term, workplaces from the banking sector to healthcare are reimagining the modern workplace structure.
Let’s explore which Australian employers are embracing a hybrid work model, what hybrid for these companies looks like, and what Australian workers are saying about the state of virtual work.
The state of hybrid work in 2021
According to our own State of Remote Work report, 77.7% of survey respondents would prefer a hybrid approach to work going forward. This means a combination of some time in the office, and some time working from home. Further to this, over 60% of respondents shared that if asked to return to the office full-time by their employer, they’d ask for more flexibility.
It’s clear to see that increased flexibility and work-life balance are a priority for Australian workers. And it’s easy to see why; the rapid shift to remote working in 2020 made it clear how much work can be done from home, and where face-to-face time with colleagues is most effective and must be utilised. Employees across the country are now increasingly aware of how much work can reasonably be done from home, and in what ways they need a space to collaborate and ideate with their in-office counterparts.
Australian employers embracing a hybrid work model
The Big Four Banks of Australia
In Australia we know our largest, most prolific banks as ‘The Big Four’. It’s a term you’ll see strewn across headlines around the country more times than you care to admit. These banks are big-time Australian employers and their moves to embrace a hybrid work model speak volumes.
NAB has announced their intention to transform new Sydney and Melbourne offices into hybrid working havens for their employees. NAB Group Executive of People & Culture, Susan Ferrier, has this to say – “The way we work has changed and this is about creating environments that help our people bring their best to work, so that we can best serve our customers”.
Across all 33 markets that it currently operates in, including Australia and New Zealand, ANZ have committed to embracing a hybrid work model for their global workforce. In a company blog Kathryn van der Merwe, Talent and Culture, shares that through internal surveys they’ve found that more than two thirds of ANZ employees have a preference for blended working. They’re committing to looking in detail as to how different roles can be best expressed in a blended approach.
For Westpac, the pandemic-caused shift to remote working was the circuit breaker the company needed to embrace and experiment with the concept of flexible working. Now they’re hoping that 20,000 of their staff will remain in the hybrid work model into the future.
Commonwealth Bank Australia have also operated through a hybrid work model across 2020. Large organisations have a lot to consider when it comes to commitment to an ongoing hybrid model, particularly in a relentless change environment.
Gloria Chen, Adobe Chief People Officer and EVP has shared the company’s plans to offer flexible working options and a hybrid work model going forward. Specifically stating that Post-pandemic, Adobe will balance the benefits of flexible, virtual work arrangements for employees with the need for teams to gather together—sometimes in person—to perform at their best. Chen predicts a hybrid workplace model will become more common throughout the organisation into the future.
Kylie Bishop, Group Executive of People and Culture at Medibank has shared the vision for the modern workplace and between us, it’s looking decidedly hybrid. “As we move into a post-2020 world, people are going to want more choice in where and how they work. Corporate Australia has, for the most part, developed an understanding of the benefits of allowing greater flexibility in where their employees want to work. We know that when employees feel supported, productivity increases, and people are more engaged. Many businesses are redefining the purpose of the office to be centred around the type of work being done. The office will become a place of purpose; to collaborate, connect, and if needed concentrate. No longer will they be places you must go to because it’s Monday.”
Regardless of organisation size or function, hybrid working arrangements are always a possibility. Within Queensland Government we have seen an adoption of flexible hybrid working practices. In fact, for public sector employees it is looking like a hybrid model of work will soon become the norm. According to the QLD government website, “Post-COVID, many Queensland public sector employees may now find themselves part of a hybrid team—where on any given day some employees are working in the office—or their normal place of work—and others are working remotely. Hybrid teams also require new and different skills of managers, to ensure ongoing engagement, productivity and performance of their teams.”
Overwhelmingly, the signs are pointing to a hybrid work model becoming the new norm for workplaces across Australia. The call for increased flexibility, greater efficiency in how work is done, and work-life balance is currently squarely on the agenda with Australian employers.
For those stepping up to the plate with contextual workplace training on virtual and hybrid leadership skills, communication and conflict training as well as practical and efficient systems and tools to support hybrid work, the results of this shift are sure to sustainable.
If you’d like to explore how to make this transition successful, and equip your leaders with the necessary skills via highly engaging asynchronous or synchronous virtual training for your hybrid team, connect with our team to chat further about how we support.