Workplace Flexibility - How to Lead by Example

Workplace Flexibility How To Lead By Example

Many leaders believe in showing up and putting in typical (or extended) office hours to show their team that they are committed, dedicated, and ‘in the trenches’ with them. But what if this is creating a self-perpetuating cycle that ultimately leads to less productivity, lower happiness levels, and potentially even higher turnover?

When leaders work these types of hours, it sets the standard for their team. It says, ‘this is how I work, and if you want me to take you seriously, you should also be here at those times’. But with flexibility presenting the opportunity for the highly sought-after work/life balance and the ability for employees to work at times that maximise their efficiency and output, it’s an option worth implementing for many organisations.

Before workplace flexibility can become a reality that is reflected through all levels of a company, leading by example is key.

Organisational culture is established from the top down, and employees take notice of their leader’s actions. While you can offer employees workplace flexibility, if you’re not implementing the changes yourself, your team may think you don’t fully support the idea.

Since workplace flexibility benefits your employees and your business, you’ll want to make your stance clear to ensure your staff feel comfortable taking advantage of flexible working arrangements.

Learn how to embrace flexibility with these strategies.

Why You Need Workplace Flexibility

Workplace flexibility is one of the most appealing perks to employees, trumping security and salary. Research commissioned by Citrix for their ‘State of the Flexible Nation’ whitepaper showed 97% of Australian employees want work flexibly. With all the benefits of workplace flexibility, it’s no surprise workers are hoping for the opportunity to jump on the bandwagon.

Advantages for Employees

  • Better work-life balance – Choosing working hours around their schedule will allow employees to spend more time with family and complete personal errands.

  • Increased motivation and productivity – Research shows flexible workers are happy and get more done.

  • Reduced time and money spent commuting – Working from home, or working non-standard hours, means less time stuck sitting in traffic and less money spent on fuel or public transport.

Advantages for Employers

  • Higher staff retention – Your staff feel respected and trusted, which they will return, along with loyalty and commitment to your business.

  • Reduced tardiness and absenteeism – When employees get to organise their work hours around their personal lives, they’re less likely to require last-minute time off.

  • Positive image – Implementing flexibility for employees can create a positive, family-friendly image for your business.

How to Embrace Flexibility in the Workplace

As the Citrix whitepaper explores, not all employers who offer flexible workplace arrangements are making an effort to support their employee’s choices. By practising what you preach, you can encourage your employees to take advantage of these arrangements and enjoy the shared benefits.


If it’s practical, shake up your regular 9-to-5 and use flexitime to work the hours that suit you. Taking advantage of flexible working hours will reassure your employees that you’re happy for them to do the same.

Working from Home

Spend less hours in the office and more time working from home. Just remember: balance is key. Lead by example by telecommuting only as often as you’d approve your employees to.


Get involved in Friday afternoon drinks and team-building events outside the office. Use this team-building time to discuss flexible working practices with your team in a more relaxed setting. Encourage employees to take advantage of flexitime and telecommuting, and commend anyone who is implementing the practices already.

If you’re hearing rumblings of discontent, experiencing high turnover rates, or simply noticing a trend among your employees where overtime = value, then it might be time to overhaul your workplace culture and show people how important it is to recharge and enjoy life outside of work. If you’re wondering why you should bother, make sure you read our article on mindfulness and why it’s critical in today’s fast-paced environments.

Success through Insight

If you’ve got no idea if your team are happy and planning to stick around at all, you could think about investing in some professional surveys to help you understand where your culture is at. Chandler Macleod People Insights can do just that, so feel free to check out their services by clicking here.

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