Getaflex, the job site that only advertises flexible work, is the brainchild of Amy Prebble. On the hunt for professional work that didn’t require her to be sat in one place for eight hours a day, she found a gaping hole.
Employees’ expectations and needs around where and when they wanted to work had been changing for years, but not all employers have rushed to keep up.
So what do leaders need to be aware of when implementing a flexible working policy that works for them and their people? We sat down with Amy over a cuppa to find out.
1. Be a Role Model
Ever had a ‘meeting’ when you needed to attend to a personal matter? Life and work aren’t two separate things; to be our best at work we need to be at our best in life. Yet we sometimes still hide things like school pick-ups or physio appointments as though they are shameful secrets. Consider Westpac’s Leave Loudly policy, which encourages staff to let their colleagues know they are off to do things that are outside their office life. By making a point of highlighting our work/life integration we normalise it for others too.
2. Conquer the Fear of Communication
Let’s be honest, workplace communication can be scary, fraught with potential pitfalls. But to make flexibility work for your unique team, you need to have an open discussion about what people want, what the constraints are, and what’s possible.
3. Take a Team Approach
There can’t be one rule for parents and another for everyone else. Flexible working arrangements should be applied as fairly and consistently as possible within your circumstances, with no privilege or exception. Have a ‘yes flex’ approach, working to find solutions to obstacles rather than reasons to say no.
4. Change Mindset, Change Minds
If you’re still of the opinion that people need to be at their desks in one place at the same time for work to happen, it might be time to do some more research. Desktop research will show that employees empowered with flexible working options are more engaged and productive, and stay with their employees for longer. Beyond this, though, speak to your people to understand why it’s important to them, at a human level.
5. Tap into Tech
It’s almost a cliché because it’s true: technology has been a catalyst for flexibility. Talking face-to-face is one form of communication we use when we’re not Slacking, pinging, texting, Zooming, emailing or calling. Just because we’re not in the same place at the same time doesn’t mean communication can’t happen.
Amy recently took part in a panel discussion on The Gig Economy, at a PwC Herald Talk. You can watch the discussion here: