Ask anyone about work-life balance and you might get an eye roll for an answer. This is because many of us in modern society have almost no real sense of control over our daily lives. We work longer hours and find ourselves heavily committed to a lot of duties that prevent us from getting our homelife activities done. Because of that, many live with a sense of a work-life balance leaning far too heavily in the work direction and not all towards the life direction. This is why flexible working arrangements are so appealing.
As an article in the Herald Sun explained, many in Australia “are increasingly embracing flexible working conditions,” and yet many who do say that they are not without their challenges. If you snorted at the thought of working from home as challenging, you would not be alone, but just consider what that might do to the work-life balance. After all, if you are at home and working, the dividing lines between work and home disappear…unless you take steps to ensure they remain firm.
Pros and Cons of Flexible Working Arrangements: The Work-Life Balance
Before we look a bit more closely at the pros and cons of flexible work, let’s be sure just what it means. As the Australian Public Service Commission said, “workplace flexibility also includes flexible:
- working hours (reduced hours, compressed working weeks, split shifts, autonomy in start and finish times)
- working places (working from home, working from another location, use of social media to work on the move)
- working practices (purchased leave, phased retirement, job-sharing, annualised hours).
This is a system created in order to address working parents with young children at home, for those who work as carers for another member of the family, those who are disabled, over the age of 55, or who are experiencing violence from a family member.
So, it is most definitely a solution for those who might struggle with the traditional work schedule, but are there advantages to flexible working arrangements apart from the alternative working schedule? Naturally, there are, and they include:
- Eliminating the daily commute, which saves time, money, and even boosts happiness according to many mental health experts
- Supports a better work-life balance by giving workers a sense of control over their environment and their schedule
- Childcare savings can be enjoyed through the flexible work schedule by reducing the need for so many hours per week.
- Allows workers to work during the hours that fit their energy cycles best. For example, the worker with a flexible schedule may do far better working from 4 AM to 9 AM and then finishing the day from noon to 3 PM. This ensures optimal performance and worker satisfaction.
There is a downside to the flexible schedule, and it can impair the work-life balance by, as noted, erasing the dividing lines between home and work. Also, some people are unable to work as well at home and without supervision as they did in the office and may find themselves struggling to perform as well without that boost of motivation. It can also be quite isolating to transition out of the office to a home setting where everything from communication to lack of socialisation may cause unhappiness.
What all of this means is simple: It can be far easier to enjoy and control the whole work-life balance issue if you are given a flexible schedule but don’t ignore the challenges. Employers are offering flexible arrangements more than ever, but it is essential to ensure that you can enjoy the significant change from a traditional workplace to an alternative arrangement. If you can face those challenges, you may find that you work less, get more done, and enjoy far better success in your career and at home.
Re-establish or build a better work-life balance today with these simple tips.