The Future Of Flexible Work.
Five ways Flexible Working can Protect Against Psychosocial Hazards in the Workplace
Fulfil your legal obligations— and give your employees the best chance to achieve work-life balance.
As of 1 April 2023, the Workplace Health and Safety Act has been amended to include psychosocial risks. Which is “a risk to the health or safety of a worker or other person from a psychosocial hazard.”  The take home? As a business, you must look at these risks in the same way you would for physical risks. We explore how your commitment to flexible work with FlexReady Certification can help you fulfil both your legal obligations— and give your employee the best chance to achieve their work-life balance goals.
Reduced Stress and Burnout
A flexible work policy can help employees manage their workload more effectively and reduce the risk of burnout. For example, allowing employees to work from home or a hybrid work environment can eliminate the stress of a long commute, giving them more time for managing family responsibilities, for self-care and other activities that promote mental health. With a focus on outcomes as opposed to a more traditional nine-to-five approach employees can have a successful career while enjoying other commitments that are also important to them.
Increased Autonomy and Control
Flexible work arrangements can give employees more control over their work schedules, which enables them to be in the driver seat and as a result can help reduce the sense of overwhelm. Similarly, increased autonomy can lead to a greater sense of satisfaction and motivation at work. Locus of control is a well-researched psychological concept, and the extent to which one feels they have agency over their own environment is something that can be leveraged with positive and productive results. Having agency over the times your staff find they are the more productive could be a game changer for productivity. 
Improved Work-Life Balance
Being able to choose flexible options can help employees balance work and personal responsibilities, as a result this can reduce stress associated with trying to manage both. In a recent study of 13,382 global workers, consulting firm McKinsey & Company, found that 40% said workplace flexibility was a top motivator in staying in their role while 26% stated lack of flexibility was a major factor in leaving a position.  Furthermore, with the majority of household and family responsibilities landing on women, flexible options at work are a must for gender diversity and retaining women into senior management roles when the juggle of responsibilities can get too much. 
Enhanced Job Satisfaction and Morale
Research shows flexible work can increase job satisfaction and morale among employees, which can help prevent psychosocial hazards at work such as job strain, low motivation, and turnover intentions. Employees who feel trusted and supported by their employers are more likely to feel engaged and committed to their work, leading to a more positive work environment and better mental health outcomes. Interestingly, the benefits of flexible working practises have been found to apply to all employees and not just those who utilised flexible work policies, indicating that flexible work arrangements have a widespread appeal. 
Proactive Strategies to Reduce Isolation
Flexible doesn’t always mean remote: think part time work, compressed workweeks, job sharing, and flexible schedules. To counter psychosocial risks, forward thinking businesses can implement strategies to maintain regular communication and social support among remote workers, and those that aren’t ‘in the office’ in a traditional setting. For example, regular team meetings, online chat channels, and virtual team building activities can all help remote and those in a flexible work agreement feel connected to their colleagues and reduce the risk of psychosocial hazards such as isolation.
Flexible work comes in all shapes and sizes – as do the employers we partner with.
From large organisations to small businesses, our employers know the difference that flexible work can make to their teams' ways of working, their productivity, and most importantly their employees' wellbeing. Whether your organisation is on the journey to build in flexible ways of working, or setting the standard with world class, future ways of work, our FlexReady Certification can ensure you are showing your commitment to flexible work. If you are a Jobseeker, rest assured on FlexCareers you can be confident that our employers are open to discussing your flexible work needs— all you need to do is ask.
It's important to note, there is still due diligence to be done, and flexible work is not the sole response to maintain the psychosocial health of your workforce. We recommend you consult your legal team to ensure you are meeting your obligations, access resources by work safe applicable to your state or territory.  Your legal obligation involves managing the risks associated with psychosocial factors: recognising potential hazards, reducing, or eliminating risks, following the hierarchy of controls to manage risks, and regularly evaluating control measures to ensure their effectiveness.
Here are further resources you can access:
- WHS requirement in your state or territory
- Watch the toolbox talk presentation on the Code from Worksafe QLD
- Managing the risk of psychosocial hazards at work Code of Practice 2022
- Get a review of the research on creating mentally healthy workplaces
 Legislation (2023): https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/whole/html/asmade/sl-2022-0141
 Castrillon, C. (2022). Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinecastrillon/2022/03/23/why-flexible-work-boosts-employee-productivity/?sh=605e6f256e4b
 Grover (1995): https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1995-45503-001
 Business. (2023): https://business.gov.au/risk-management/health-and-safety/work-health-and-safety
FlexCareers are leading experts in diversity, flexibility and future of work solutions across the entire employee lifecycle. Our careers platform features Australia and New Zealand's largest marketplace of flexible job opportunities, and connects talented individuals with progressive employers offering flexible work. Our employer services include strategy consulting, coaching, branding and training services as well as our proprietary Return to Work Program. Job seekers can also access career support from our expert coaches.