As a business grows and develops, there is one aspect that keeps the organisation ticking over - employees.
There is an argument that employees are the most important asset to a business, responsible for creating a culture of success and always working towards the future.
This principle is also highlighted in the fact that businesses often struggle after significant employee departures. Not only does the business lose vital technical insight, but contacts and skills dissipate. This doesn't even take into account the relatively high cost of recruitment and having to train new employees.
With these points in mind, Australian businesses should be doing all they can to discourage employees changing jobs. According to the 2015 Robert Half Salary Guide, the top issue for senior employees who are thinking about leaving a role is their workplace flexibility. This topped other reasons such as remuneration, career advancement and corporate culture.
The recruitment agency found that a quarter of Australian and New Zealand businesses are offering wider options for workplace flexibility as they focus on ways to reduce employee turnover.
Robert Half Director Andrew Brushfield explained this situation in more detail.
"Employees are increasingly rating work-life balance over salary and bonuses as the reason to leave a job, and that is driving the demand for more flexible working options," he said.
However, the benefits of flexible working aren't all just for the employee. There are also significant cost-saving measures that can be realised.
"Likewise, employers are always looking at new ways to make their businesses more efficient," Mr Brushfield stated.
"In the past organisations were more likely to cut headcount to cut costs. Now firms are being more creative and offering remote working opportunities as they can be cost-effective by reducing fixed costs and real estate requirements while improving productivity."
Flexibility = productivity?
According to Robert Half's report, workplace flexibility options aren't just reserved for big corporations. A total of 38 per cent of small businesses in Australia and New Zealand are experiencing the benefits of a mobile workforce.
In fact, overall, 64 per cent of Australian businesses are seeing productivity improvements as a result of greater flexibility.
"There is a growing realisation that workplace flexibility enhances, rather than detracts, from staff productivity. The convergence of employee and employer needs really is a good thing for everyone," Mr Brushfield said.
"Business technology improvements through increased remote-access availability, tele and video conferencing facilities have enabled virtual offices to work."