Flexible working provides employees with a healthy work-life balance and promotes a happy and loyal workforce. It encourages diversity, attracts great talent and reduces business costs. It also helps employees stay focused on their work, leading to improved productivity and better profitability. So, why aren’t we all working flexibly?
After 27 years at Worsley, Rob said he was starting to feel a bit ‘weary’ and wanted to slow down a little. Rob felt it was too soon for retirement, but a shorter working week meant he could still continue to share his years of site experience and knowledge, keep up the social network he enjoys at Worsley, but also give him a couple of days extra to rest and recuperate at home. For Ricky, a job share role helped him overcome some personal issues.
In January this year, Rob Pennefather and Ricky Longshaw started a flexible working arrangement as Maintenance Servicepersons in Area 4 – Calcination. Together they have combined to form a 1.2 Full Time Equivalent role on B crew and both say they’ve found a happy medium in their work-life balance.
Rob Pennefather and Ricky Longshaw, Maintenance Servicepersons, South32
Playing a semi-professional sport means that I must juggle my sport, personal and working lives, and sometimes they can collide. Having a flexible work arrangement means that when tournaments pop up and I have to travel overseas or if lunchtime trainings run a little over, working remotely or picking up hours at the end or beginning of the day is a frequent reality. Working flexibly has positively changed my approach to work. I feel like I maximise the time I have in a day and don’t stress as much about if or when I can fit something in. Whether that be trainings, games or report deadlines. I have found that it has allowed me to bring my best self to work.
Hayley Lee, Graduate – Parks, Recreation, Tourism, Jacobs
Flexibility for me is having a supportive working environment that allows me to be focused on work outcomes rather than being constrained by traditional ‘9-5 ‘business hours’. Flexibility is also about having a leader who trusts, supports and empowers you to make it work. It empowers me to do my job in a way that works for me, which I think results in better engagement and outcomes in my role and ultimately increased growth from a work perspective. It also makes me great at time management and helping to prioritise to make the most effective use of my time!
My advice is to go for it, have a conversation with your manager and work out arrangements that suit all parties. Technology is really helping to make it much easier to achieve and as long as there is a clear focus on the outcomes expected of your role and an acknowledgement that flexibility is a two way street, people should not feel constrained by what is considered ‘normal’.
Rob Grummitt, Head of Enterprise Risk – Group & Operations, AIA
One of the things I love about working for UGL is that flexible working is not just a policy that has been written and sits there, it is actually in practice!
Having a supportive leader and organisation that supports working parents allows you to find the right balance for both work and family without “mum/work guilt”. In addition, gender equality is visibly high on the agenda for UGL and is demonstrated by programs such as the Emerging Female Leadership Program which I am fortunate enough to have been selected for and eager to commence.
Clytie de Vries, Project Controller, UGL
PwC promotes flexible working and we are empowered to take ownership over our work, including how we get the job done, meaning that we can work remotely as required. In summer, I will sometimes start work early so that I can finish early and give myself time to surf or do something outdoorsy after work.
Outside of work, I am passionate about health and wellbeing and trying to lead a balanced life. I think it’s so important to have a healthy work life balance, something which PwC is definitely an advocate for! Not only is it beneficial for the individual, but it also helps our performance at work too!
Alexandra Raikes, Senior Consultant in Risk Assurance, PwC
I was working for nbn on a part-time basis before parental leave and was pleased that I could return in a job-share arrangement with my colleague Emma. 18 months’ later this arrangement is going well, providing value to nbn whilst I continue to progress with my career and balance raising a family!
Caroline Lamb, Change Analyst, SEO, nbn
I love job-sharing, as I get to work in a challenging and interesting role. It’s fantastic to know that when I’m spending time with my daughter, the role is covered by my colleague Caroline. We work so well together and communicate regularly. All deliverables are shared equally and in the last 18 months of the job share, we’ve achieved great outcomes, whilst balancing the needs of our family. It’s a win, win situation for everyone.
Emma Hodgkinson, Change Analyst, SEO, nbn
I live in Ballarat but work in the Collins Street office in Melbourne. My wife and I also have a young daughter who was born this year. In order for me to be able to spend time with my family during the week, I work from home two days a week. When I do come into the office, I take an earlier train home and do some work on my commute, so that I get home in time for the dinner and bed-time routine. I feel really lucky to work for a company that allows me to have the flexibility to be with my family during the precious early years, while also being able to progress my career.
Liam Bax-Branagan, Manager Remuneration & HR Analytics, Programmed
Over the last year, I have used flexible working combined with Lifestyle Leave to work from home one week of the school holidays and take the second week as annual leave. For me, it takes the pressure off having to find available family members or pay a babysitter. Most of all, it’s just nice to be there with them as they’re only little once.
Most families require both parents to work just to get by and flexible working takes a lot of pressure off parents. It’s comforting to know that we can still focus on our career whilst being there for our children when they need us most.
Sara Russell, Structural Designer, Hatch
I’ve reduced my work hours to 25 hours per week. This allows me to attend university part time – I’m currently studying Environmental Management at UNSW. I love what I’m learning at university and I have recently been given the opportunity to move into a project based role to help apply the skills I’m learning, as well as transition from a BA role. My tip for anyone considering a flexible working arrangement is to weigh up all of the pros and cons and make sure you have the support to make it work for you and your wellbeing.
Danielle Smith, Business Administrator, Arup
Having teachers as parents, I was lucky to be able to spend a lot of time with them – something I always wanted to carry on with my own child. With the flexibility I have at Common Code, I’m able to pick up my six year old from school every day and be really engaged in her after school activities, friendships, and just spending quality time with her. Instead of feeling like I’m missing her growing up, I’m right there seeing it happen.
Simeon Morgan, Principal, Common Code
I feel very lucky to work for an organisation that treats me with respect and recognises the importance of flexible working. I’m working from home today so I got to go to my personal trainer this morning AND do school drop off for my 9yo. Today was only the second time this year that I was able to do school drop off and he loved it. Most of the time my work means I need to be in the office and with my people. And I love that. But when the moment arises when I can be there for my kids or my other life priorities RACQ is right behind me.
Michelle Bagnall, Bank CEO, RACQ
The flexible work options offered by Transport for NSW have helped me balance my work and childcare arrangements while continuing to achieve my career aspirations. I really valued the ‘return to work workshop’ which allowed us to share our experiences and learnings and build confidence, so that coming back after a break is not so daunting. My top tips to better manage a flexible team is using technology when you can and having one day each week where the team can connect, it’s a give and take.
Susie Garland, Associate Director – Travel Demand Management Program Implementation, Transport for NSW (incorporating RMS)
What flexible working means to me is that my employer and my manager have complete trust in me. We’re clear about what needs to be done, and I get it done at the best time that suits all parties. I’m usually in the office on average 3 days a week. I’d spend 45 minutes door to door commuting to work. If I work from home 3 days, I just got 4.5 hours back in my week that I can spend with my kids or occasionally some me time.
Flexible working is all about trust, if you don’t trust someone, don’t hire them.
If you do trust them, give them the flexibility to get it done. The gratitude that flows back from the employee will be huge.
Luke Wallace, Senior Engagement Manager – APAC, Zendesk
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