Among all the lifestyle changes the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown at Australians, one of the most significant is a larger proportion of workers setting up their desk at home.
Now, a new survey has suggested a surprising number of Australians would take a pay cut to keep it that way.
According to tech company Citrix, 56 per cent of white collar employees say they would happily swap some salary for a more flexible working arrangement.
That number increases in younger demographics.
Sixty-four per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds are in favour compared to 52 per cent of 35-44 year olds.
Just 39 per cent of over-55s say they would cop lower pay for a work-from-home arrangement.
The West Australian’s National Political Editor Lanai Scarr says “one positive thing” to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic is that workplaces have been forced to adapt to allowing workers more freedom.
She believes an increased number of Australians being granted flexibility could also allow men – in particular, fathers – to take on increased responsibilities around the home and spend more time with their children.
The Fair Work Commission has drafted a plan to change national awards to increase working from home capacity.
The move would likely be most relevant to small businesses without enterprise agreements.
Employees would be able to compress their week so usual hours are worked over fewer days.
Starting and finishing times could be staggered and employees directed to work at home or other locations.
Workers could take double the annual leave at half pay and also buy extra time off if bosses agree.
With the agreement of three quarters of a workforce, a cut to hours could be shared if an employer can’t usefully employ everyone.
Commission President Justice Iain Ross said working from home had been one of the most significant shifts since the start of the pandemic.
“It is likely the direct economic and social impacts of the pandemic will be felt for some time to come,” he said.
“There will (likely) be a continuing need for flexible work arrangements to assist employers and employees in adapting to the changed conditions and to support the recovery.”
– With AAP
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