Working days spent in the office from nine to five, Monday to Friday, are becoming a thing of the past as workplaces around the world embrace flexible working arrangements.
22 May is International Flexible Working day; a day that celebrates and showcases the benefits of flexible work for both people and organisations.
Flexible working arrangements refer to where a person has asked to change their hours, patterns or locations of work. Types of flexible work vary from person to person and range from job sharing, working from home or different locations, part time employment and phased retirement.
Working flexibly can help employers improve the productivity of their business and help employees maintain a healthy work life balance. Numerous studies have been undertaken on the benefits of flexible working, including one study that found that flexible workers achieved more, were off sick less often, worked longer hours and were happier in their work.
While flexible working arrangements don’t work for many jobs where set hours or locations are important, it can always be worth a conversation with your employer if you want to look at making a change to your working arrangements. In line with employment standards, they can only refuse such a request on ‘reasonable business grounds’.
At Programmed, we believe that work flexibility can be achieved in all roles and encourage our people to discuss how they believe it can work for them and the company.
We recognise that this will mean different things for different people and different work types at different times for our employees. It’s not where you are, it’s what you do. It’s about delivering the Programmed Difference, based on performance and outcomes.
Working flexibly supported Christine through a move from the big smoke and motherhood
National Employment Services Manager Christine Bernardo has worked with Programmed for over 15 years and the ability to work flexibly has not only enabled her to flourish in her career, but also at home.
In her current role, Christine manages Programmed’s relationships with jobactive and Disability Employment Services (DES) providers, to help provide job opportunities to jobseekers from diverse backgrounds.
A few years after starting with Programmed, Christine and her husband decided to move from Melbourne to Geelong. Commuting to Box Hill in Melbourne’s inner East everyday proved to be both difficult and stressful, so her Manager suggested that she work some days from home and also work flexible hours to avoid peak hour traffic.
Not long after, Christine fell pregnant and had a girl. As the end of her maternity leave approached, she began to think about her return to work. ‘As a first time mum, I was naturally concerned about leaving my child in care and worried about the adjustment period that follows,’ Christine said.
‘In addition, I had a wonderful child but a terrible sleeper in the early years. Through all this, I was able to juggle work (and my sanity) thanks to the benefit of having flexibility in my role.’
Flexibility in her working week also helped Christine and her family as they transitioned into the school years. ‘Low and behold, my daughter didn’t like going to school! We also discovered that she carried anxiety about me commuting to Melbourne so being able to drop her off at school in the morning and be close by in case of emergency, gave us great peace of mind.’
Christine’s work week is fairly structured now. ‘In the early days, I was travelling a fair bit but now with Skype, this has eliminated much of the travel which is now mostly locally. I have the flexibility to be able to work from home a few days per week and work a few days in our Melbourne office and manage this accordingly.’
Christine feels very lucky, valued and respected as an employee to have been able to progress in her career with Programmed as a result of working flexibly and credits this support for her 15 year journey.
‘I am extremely grateful to Programmed for the flexible work arrangements afforded to me over the last 15 years. I really do believe that I have felt more in control of my work life, more motivated, been happier and less stressed and increased productivity due to my flexible work arrangements over time.’
Programmed strives for diversity, inclusion and equality of our people. We seek a workforce that is representative of the communities we work in. We encourage people of all cultures, gender, age, sexual orientation or abilities to apply.
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