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The future of work is flexible — and here’s how you can make the most of it

Indeed economist, Callam Pickering can predict what the future of work will look like. Based on Indeed data, Australian job postings containing “flexible working hours” have been steadily on the rise.

So, we predict that the future will bring the possibility

 

Yes, that means on those hot summer days, you may be able to work on the beach or by the pool instead of inside a stuffy office! But remember that ‘flexible’ can mean different things to different people.

So, to help you navigate the complex future of flexible working, we’ve compiled three tips on how to make the most of a flexible working arrangement.

The Future of Work series is brought to you by Indeed.

  1. Clarify what your flexible working arrangement means

Probably the most important tip, setting expectations early on about what your flexible working arrangement is going to look like is important for ensuring both you and your manager are on the same page.

While flexible working could mean you get to pick your own hours,

 

So first, set some time aside to understand what your employer means by “flexible”, if it fits with the idea you had in your mind and what will be expected of you.

For example, if your flexible working arrangement means you get to work remotely, does your manager still expect you to be online, answering emails during work hours such as 9-5? Or does it mean you have the ability to pick your own hours, but with the possibility of having to respond to emails and take calls late at night or early in the morning? Whatever the expectations are, it’s important to ensure you are aware of them before agreeing to a flexible working arrangement.

 

  1. Communicate regularly with your colleagues and manager

Regardless of what your flexible working arrangement will look like, it’s important to always keep an open line of communication with those you work closely with. This is especially crucial if you will be working remotely often or all the time, as many remote workers can sometimes feel isolated or left out.

If you are an occasional remote worker, make the most of the days you will be in the office by having those important conversations

 

On the other hand, if you are always working remotely, give your undivided attention during any virtual meetings as they’re often your only opportunities to communicate with your team or manager. For example, avoid multitasking during the meeting (yes this means you shouldn’t answer any emails or make any brunch plans during the meeting) and make sure to come prepared with topics you want to discuss.

To help prevent feelings of isolation, and even possibly help boost your creativity juices, it can be beneficial to set up regular check-ins with your team and manager. Even a quick 30-minute brainstorming session may help you be more productive and efficient in your flexible working arrangement. 

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  1. Choose a location that will help you stay productive

While lounging on a beach with a laptop is often the first thing that comes to mind when many people think about remote work, it may not be the most practical location to work for everyone. So it’s important to choose an environment that you will be most comfortable in and will help you stay productive and motivated throughout your work hours.

If this is your first flexible working arrangement, spend some time trialing some of the more common areas people work in to see what’s best for you. For example, studies show that many people are often more productive in coffee shops or co-working spaces because moderate noise levels can actually help improve performance and creativity. However, if you’re someone who needs complete silence to get work done, a home office may be a better fit. 

If you decide that working from home is the best environment for you, make sure to avoid any distractions like household chores, roommates or partners. For example, if you’re doing laundry, watching TV with your roommates, or cooking meals in between your work, chances are you won’t be as productive and efficient during your days. So whether you are working from your home office or on your couch in your pajamas, dedicate that time to your work to help stay focused. 

While a flexible working arrangement may seem like a faraway dream for many, it’s actually a reality that could soon become quite common in the Australian workplace. But, in order to make sure it really is everything you dreamt it would be, it’s important to communicate with your employer before and during your arrangement to ensure you are both on the same page. By setting expectations early on, regularly checking in with your team and manager and creating a productive environment, you, your employer and your team can all reap the benefits of your flexible working arrangement. Meaning hopefully, you’ll have more work days at the beach than inside an office.

Next up: An Economist’s Guide to What the Future of Work Looks Like in Australia

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