In the land of the long white cloud, where innovation meets tradition, the world of work is undergoing a palpable transformation. A new term has started to make rounds in the corporate lexicon – ‘flexiters’. But just who are these flexiters, and why is their emergence starting a conversation in boardrooms across Aotearoa New Zealand?

Flexiters are a growing group of professionals who prioritise flexible working arrangements – and they aren’t just a passing trend. They’re part of the larger narrative of work-life integration that is reshaping the global workplace landscape. For New Zealand employers, the rise of flexiters demands a thoughtful strategy to balance operational needs with employee preferences.

In this post, we’ll explore what flexiters are seeking, why their presence matters, and how Kiwi workplaces can offer flexibility to attract and retain top talent, without compromising on productivity.

Who Are The Flexiters?

Flexiters are employees who value flexibility as a key aspect of their job – way more than ping-pong tables or free snacks at work. We’re talking about the option to work remotely, have varied work hours, and the freedom to structure their work around their life, kids and interests, not just the other way around.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the flexibility movement, with many discovering the joys and challenges of remote work and also the ability to live on less. Now, as we emerge from the era of lockdowns, New Zealanders are voicing a clear preference for jobs that allow them a measure of elasticity in their schedules. Work/life balance it seems, is here to stay.

Why Should Employers Care?

If left unaddressed, the demand for flexibility can indeed become an issue. Kiwi employers who turn a blind eye risk higher attrition rates, as flexiters may move towards organisations that offer the work-life blend they seek, or into self-employment and contracting work.  We have also seen a trend in off-shore companies contracting New Zealand based workers to work remotely.

However, it’s not all about retention; there’s a strong business case for flexibility. Diverse work arrangements can lead to a happier, more engaged workforce, reduced overhead costs, and access to a wider talent pool – after all, the best candidate for the role might not live within commuting distance to the office.

Navigating The Flexi-Waters

Kiwi employers, it’s time to chart a course through these changing tides. Here’s how you can integrate flexibility without losing your way:

Define The Non-Negotiables

Understand which roles and tasks absolutely must be performed in-person or during specific hours. For everything else, get creative with the solutions you can offer.

Trust and Technology

Invest in systems and culture that foster trust. Utilise technology that enables seamless collaboration regardless of location or time zone differences.  Prepare working from home agreements which set out the rules.

Pilot Programs

Implement pilot programs for flexible working, establish and communicate with transparency the ‘trial period’ for this.  Evaluate the impact on performance and tweak the approach accordingly. Remember, one size does not fit all.

Communication Is Key

Keep the lines of communication open between managers and their teams to ensure expectations are clear. Regular check-ins and updates will keep everyone aligned.

Cultivate a Results-Oriented Environment

Shift the focus from hours logged to results achieved. If targets are met and quality work is delivered, does it matter if it was completed at 2 pm or 10 pm?

Legal Compliance and Fairness

Always operate within the framework of New Zealand employment law and ensure that flexibility policies are applied fairly across the board, avoiding any potential discrimination.

At its heart, the conversation around flexiters is about people – understanding their needs, valuing their contributions, and reimagining the shape of work to fit our lives, not the other way around.

To the employers and HR professionals of New Zealand, the future of work is not on the horizon—it’s here at our doorstep. It’s time to welcome it home with open arms and open minds. Flexitertarianism might just be the key to unlocking a new era of workplace satisfaction and success.

Kia kaha – stay strong and flexible!