Why flexible working is the new 8 hour day

Increased demand coupled with a changing workforce means that priorities need to shift. Adopting an ‘All Roles Flex’ approach is critical.

People working from a cafe

The advent of the ‘8-hour day campaign’ – where eight hours of work, eight hours of sleep and eight hours of leisure was seen to be a reasonable expectation for workers in a developed country – began in the late nineteenth century as part of a union movement. However, what was then seen as advanced thinking is outdated in today’s world, as employees across the board are requesting more flexible working arrangements.

We’ve come a long way to establishing what we know now as a ‘flexible working’ policy, but the question remains, how can we achieve the flexible working utopia that benefits both employees and business?

Arcadis operates in an industry known for long working hours across multiple locations and project sites. As populations swell in cities and the need for resilient and sustainable buildings and infrastructure continues to rise, there’s no escaping the fact that the construction industry can’t sleep if it’s going to keep up with demand. This means that the demands on a limited workforce are also increasing- the industry needs more people, and it needs more of their time. With technology enabling 24-hour access to our work, it’s easy to see how falling into long working hours is a common occurrence for those in the industry.

We’re also seeing major shifts in traditional workplace demographics. Research shows that over the past 30 years there’s been a steady increase in the proportion of part-time workers- and the number of men within this demographic is also rising. The ‘Australian family model’ is changing as dual income households become the norm and men spend more time with their families. With Baby Boomers trending towards transitional retirement rather than leaving the workforce behind entirely, today's workplace is balancing a greater diversity of workers than ever before.

Increased demand coupled with a changing workforce means that priorities need to shift. Adopting an ‘All Roles Flex’ approach is critical for organisations, especially those in the construction industry, to deliver benefits not only to employee’s well-being, but to the business’ bottom line. That’s why I’m so pleased that Arcadis has recently been awarded the Flex Able Certification from the Diverse City Careers (DCC), a social enterprise focused on diversity within the workplace.

To be accredited by the DCC means that Arcadis truly does provide flexible working options for all our people, with options as to when, where and how we work flexibly based on industry best practice and our employee’s needs. Arcadis is committed to creating a more inclusive and innovative culture that enables employees to realise their potential, and delivers outstanding results for our clients.

Jacob Grech

Human Resources Director Ask me a question