Under the Radar
The Hidden Productivity Loss Costing Australian Employers $24 Billion Per Annum
Parents At Work
- Australia's leading working parent and flexible work specialists and parent networking experts Juggle Street
examine the results of a study highlighting the effects of work-life balance on employee productivity.
David James, CEO of Juggle Street, has revealed that the national study, commissioned to research and analytics company, Pure Profile, found the Australian economy loses approximately $24 billion per annum from employees ‘organising or stressing over family issues’ whilst at work.
- Up to 80% of productivity loss is not visible to businesses.
- Although 80% of people in total feel they have a family friendly flexible employer, approximately half of these would leave their job for slightly less pay if it was more family friendly, or offered better flexibility.
- 1 in 3 people who work over 50 hours a week feel their employer is not family friendly.
- 25% of men are feeling trapped in their workplace – they want to change jobs for more family flexible work, but feel they can’t.
- Over 63% of working parents reported losing out on over $10,000 lost earnings over the last year because of commitments to family.
Emma Walsh, Founder and Director of Parents At Work comments: “These statistics are frightening. Information like this has never been quantified before so organisations are in the dark about what the cost of stressing about work and family is actually costing them in productivity loss. What this study provides is insight into a working culture that just isn’t working – for employers or their employees – certainly not to the best it could be.”
David James, comments: “The productivity loss trend is continuing unabated. These numbers are going to get bigger. There has been a fundamental change in structure of the workforce: longer commute times, longer work hours, more expensive childcare all mean it’s time to address this issue. We’re hoping this research will open employers up to say “ok, it is a problem and it is getting bigger… let’s do something about it.”
These are sobering numbers but what can organisations do to support working parents to be more productive?
- Set the tone from the top – put policies and procedures in place – and lead these from an executive level so that people truly believe what’s on paper. Unless the CEO leads by example, the culture won’t change.
- Organisations need to be flexible about flexibility. There is a difference in how employers and employees view flexibility. One of the greatest challenges is to be more innovative about how we create more flexibility in the workplace. Think job redesign, job sharing, alternative flex arrangements, and offering flexibility to everyone - not just employees with children.
- If your leadership team doesn’t get it, individuals will need to take action – encourage them to speak up and take responsibility to create the change. Parents can present examples of where it has worked before, what options are available and evidence to support their case. Essentially, we all need to start the conversation.
Emma Walsh: “I’m on a mission to define what a flexible executive looks like. To me, it is way more than ‘location’ and it’s way more than ‘part-time’. It’s about a flexible mindset; it’s a way of being, a way of doing, and a way of thinking. What’s more, flexibility is more of a verb than a noun. Organisations working from a noun perspective see flexibility as solely meaning working from home or having a snazzy new office where people hot-desk. There needs to be a higher level of thinking where organisations allow people to customise and be responsible for their own work production outcomes.”
Contact Parents At Work for a comprehensive assessment for your organisation or contact Juggle Street to provide your working parent employees with a platform to connect to more support in their local community.
The Juggle Street study was compiled using data from 1,000 working parents from across Australia and information extrapolated from the ABS. Working parents interviewed were either single working parents or both-parents-working families. An infograph highlighting the research findings is available to view here.
For a copy of the interview between Emma Walsh and David James about this research email Parents At Work.
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