Flexible working: The way of the future

The coronavirus pandemic forced many Australian workers out of their workplaces and into home offices, but its effects will continue to be felt for years to come. In fact, many organisations are recognising the value that remote work brings, and are now offering permanent flexibility for all employees.

Let’s explore the ways in which remote and hybrid work are changing our work environment, as well as the pros and cons to flexible work over the long term.

Key changes occurring in the (flexible) workplace

Even before COVID-19 turned the traditional office environment on its head, many organisations were already adopting flexible work strategies. Now that we’ve seen the great work-from-home experiment in action, a number of industries are adopting hybrid and remote policies to support their employees.

Just some of the flexible work arrangements on offer include:

  • Staggered start and finish times.
  • Compressed hours – meaning you could work 40 hours over four days (10 hours per day) rather than 40 hours over five days (8 hours per day).
  • Remote working, whether at home or from a shared space.
  • Hybrid work, meaning you can work a portion of the week from home and the rest in the office.
  • Flexitime, which allows employees to ‘bank’ any extra hours worked and then trade those hours for time off.
  • Job sharing, where two or more employees take on a single role shared across different days.

Adapting to greater autonomy

For the vast majority of Australians who will be impacted by the new approach to flexible work, they will either be remote or hybrid, or return to their usual role as fully in-house.

For those who decide to either work remotely or adopt a hybrid work style – such as working three days in the office and two days at home – there’s more to it than just setting up your laptop. Your employer will expect you to become more autonomous and be able to take care of your tasks without in-person management.

That means setting up your home office including your home workspace, desks and chairs, and ensuring the ability for video conferencing so you can stay in touch with your co-workers. If you have purchased new equipment for your home office, it will be up to you to ensure your home insurance is updated to cover these new additions..

Pros and cons of flexible work arrangements

If you’re still on the fence about whether a flexible work arrangement is the right fit for you, here are some of the biggest pros and cons.


  • Some workers find they enjoy much greater productivity outside of the workplace, as they are free from typical office distractions and co-workers stopping by at their desk.
  • More autonomy means you have greater control over your time and task allocation.
  • It can be a competitive advantage to work for a company that offers flexible work – even compared to a different company who may offer a higher salary but be a permanent in-house role.
  • You can save money because you are paying less for commuting, buying coffees and lunches, and even work clothes.


  • Without the office culture, you can feel removed from your co-workers and find yourself just going through the motions rather than being invested in your job.
  • If you don’t have the self-control to be autonomous, it’s easy to get distracted and procrastinate, which can have a negative impact on your output.
  • There’s a risk of feeling like you need to be ‘always-on’ since your boss can’t physically see you. This can ultimately lead to burnout.

There’s no denying that the traditional work environment has changed forever. While some people will inevitably return to commercial offices and shopfronts, there certainly will be a shift in how Australians are able to work flexibly – whether that’s a hybrid solution or a totally remote work arrangement

If you now have a home office, it’s time to update your home insurance policy to reflect this new situation. Get a quote with Real Insurance today or call us on 136 036.