Flexible work arrangements, including logging in from home, are saving Victorian taxpayers and businesses tens of millions of dollars, a new government-funded study has found.
Arrangements that allowed for flexible works hours, patterns and locations gave the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning a net saving of $31 million over 12 months in 2016/17, the report shows.
Over the same period Catholic care provider Mercy Health netted a $23 million saving.
"These are significant savings that we're seeing from these case studies, proving that flexible work arrangements make economic sense," Minister for Women Natalie Hutchins said.
"This doesn't only make economic sense, it makes business sense - organisations will find it easier to attract staff, have less turnover and better productivity."
By normalising and valuing different work structures women can participate in work more and men would be encouraged to work flexibly, Ms Hutchins said.
The Flexible Work, Good For Business? study was done by consultancy group Nous for the Office of Prevention and Women's Equality, looking at the DELWP and Mercy.
It found less rigid work regimes meant staff were more motivated and engaged. The employers attracted and retained quality workers and experienced less absenteeism leading to significant savings.
The flexibility came along with added costs and challenges, such as additional IT investment and administrative support, but were significantly outweighed by savings.
The DWELP, for example, has 3500 employees, 48 per cent women, and 75 per cent of all employees have some sort of work flexibility.
Those arrangements led to a $41 million saving through productivity, staff retention, less absenteeism and recruitment costs and incurred only a $10 million cost burden.
Mercy employs about 7300 people, 59 per cent of them women.
It is trialling arrangements where nurses agree to their shifts, giving them greater autonomy.
The health carer spent $24 million on flexible arrangements for a resultant saving of $47 million.
"In other words, in the absence of flexible work Mercy would have to spend an additional $23 million to achieve the same output due to reduced organisational productivity," the report reads.
Equal Workplaces Advisory Council chair Liberty Sanger championed the benefits of flexibility in the workplace.
"It's a compelling case that will give confidence to employers to take the next step towards creating equal, engaged and productive workplaces," she said.
WHAT IS FLEXIBLE WORK?
* Part-time work
* Purchased leave
* Unplanned leave
* Parental leave beyond statutory requirements
* Compressed working weeks/hours
* Time in lieu
* Flexible career management
* Working from home/telecommuting
Source: Flexible Work, Good For Business?