Leading Australian management consultancy Nous Group has released a new tool that helps organisations understand the financial benefits and costs of flexible workplace policies.
Felix: The Nous FlexiWork Savings Calculator uses a few key pieces of information about an organisation to understand what impact different types of flexible work arrangements are having on operating costs.
The first tool of its kind in Australia, Felix can be used by employers to make informed decisions about the use of flexible work arrangements such as part-time work, flextime, purchased leave and home-based work.
To find out what flexible work will mean for their organisation, users need to enter details including the number of employees, salary expenditure, use of flexible work, staff turnover and number of managers. For more precision, employers can enter the results of a staff survey that captures attitudes and motivations.
Nous was commissioned last year to help Victorian Government agency the Office for Women understand the impact of flexible work on organisations’ bottom lines. It found the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning was saving $31 million a year (2.25 per cent of net income), Mercy Health was saving $23 million per year (3.92 per cent of net income) and Wannon Water was saving $150,000 per year (0.21 per cent of net income).
Nous has used that work to develop Felix so any organisation can now do its own calculation.
Tim Orton, Managing Director of Nous Group, said: “Here at Nous we are proud of the flexible work practices we have put into place for our own team. We know people lead busy lives outside of work, caring for children and elders, studying, volunteering, or making the transition to retirement.
“For us, flexible work has been a critical part promoting an inclusive and equitable culture in Nous. Now, I’m pleased to say, it also contributes to a 4 per cent cost saving for the business each year. Felix has shown us that flexible work is a win-win for employers and employees.”
Tanya Smith, the Principal at Nous Group who led the team designing Felix, said: “Much of the debate surrounding flexible work is driven by anecdotes and personal experience. We thought it was important to take a rigorous and analytical approach to the issue.
“Felix calculates the benefits of flexible work in such areas as direct labour productivity, recruitment and retention. It then subtracts the costs involved, such as those associated with management burden and additional recruitment. The result lets organisations estimate the net impact of their flexible work policies.
“We hope organisations take the time to use the tool and would be pleased to assist either in doing the more detailed analysis or finding other ways to improve organisational performance.”
Consistent with accepted definitions of flexible work we consider three categories of flexible work arrangements: those that provide flexibility in terms of hours of work, patterns of work and location of work.
Within these categories we identify 10 types of flexible work arrangements: part-time work; purchased leave; unplanned leave; parental leave beyond statutory requirements; flexitime; compressed working weeks/hours; time in lieu; job sharing; flexible career management; and working from home/telecommuting.
To calculate the impact of flexible work, Felix needs some basic information about an organisation: number of employees (headcount and full-time equivalent); total annual salary expenditure; proportion of employees who use flexible work arrangements; proportion of employees who are female; number of new hires this year; and number of managers.
For more precise estimates, Felix has space to enter data based on a survey of staff regarding productivity, recruitment and retention.
Felix will break down the flexible work benefits by three categories (direct labour productivity; recruitment; retention) and the costs by four categories (management burden; managerial onboarding burden; flex implementation; marginal IT expenses). It will then attach a value to each benefit and cost, and calculate the net cost or benefit.
Felix uses the data you give it to calculate the likely impact of flexible work. To achieve this we’ve given Felix a set of assumptions about organisations based on extensive research. Our full set of assumptions are explained in the tool.
Get in touch to discover how Nous Group can work with your organisation to make the most of flexible work.