Blog

Let's talk about flex, baby!

Let's talk about flex, baby!

Wednesday the 21st of June is Australia’s inaugural Flexible Working Day.

A day to celebrate the benefits that flexible work practices bring to employers, employees and families. The Parenthood is proud to be a supporter of this important initiative.
 
So…let’s talk about flex, baby.
 
When I first started working full-time, if you weren’t at work, you weren’t doing work. That’s because there was no way to do the work anywhere but at the office. 
 
Email was barely a thing and Windows 3.1 only came on the PC that sat on my desk. There was no ability to access the files I needed from home so when I shut down the computer, my day ended. All day my boss could see that I was working because I was there.
 
Well not anymore! Face time (physically being at the workplace, rather than the calling app!) has become just so unnecessary in a lot of workplaces. You can access your work from almost anywhere in the world, so why would you want to hang out in an office all day? (Especially if, once again, Dave used the microwave to heat up his ‘tuna surprise’ for lunch and left a stench that is generously described as ‘most unpleasant’?)
 
Well, probably because it just isn’t accepted in your workplace. Maybe because of what Career Inside Track’s Vanessa Vanderhoek rather appropriately calls, ‘flexism’ - the discrimination you face when you ask for more flexible work options. Parents (particularly mums) face flexism quite a bit.
 
Flexism happens for many reasons, but maybe it comes from bosses who just don’t trust their employees. They think that if you’re not physically in front of them, you just can’t possibly be working – because that’s how it worked for them.
 
They just couldn’t be more wrong! I am proud that The Parenthood understands that I am a whole person and that work is simply a part of that whole. They know that I work when it bests suits me (I’ve written this after 8pm after the little ones have gone to bed) and that often, I do it from home. They trust that I get my job done and I value that they respect my life as much as my work.
 
Recruitment firm Hays found that 86 per cent of employees consider flexible working options an important or very important factor for their engagement and that 71 per cent would go above and beyond for their employer if those flexible options were offered. Engaged, dedicated and loyal employees – just for offering flexibility. Amazingly beneficial for employers who want to attract and retain the best talent.
 
But flexibility isn’t just about face time. It’s about understanding that I value being the parent helper for Grade Two’s reading hour, so will adjust my work time accordingly. It’s about realising that technology means I’m accessible 24/7, but my employer doesn’t take advantage of me because of it. And it’s about trusting your employees and focusing on outcomes, not hours.
 
Come on Australia! Flex your flex muscle and have a conversation about flexibility in your workplace this Flexible Working Day. You can fill out a pledge card and find out more at flexibleworkingday.com