Flexibility & Getting the Best from your Employees.

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Flexibility is becoming more and more common in organisations but we need to be equipped: Everyone needs the tools and knowledge to have a major impact on successfully re-negotiating the workplace productivity and participation: Organisations, Managers & Employees.

“Part of the solution is improving how we work together and how we can get the best out of employees. Anything that enhances how we collaborate will eventually impact the bottom line and tech is an important element that contributes to this.”

Communication in person is also a vital key to ensuring a harmonious, functioning and collaborative workplace, not just banging out emails and hiding behind 4 walls.

Transforming workspaces and IT infrastructure are making it all the more possible to have flexibility in the way you work.  It’s been found that 25 hours/week is the ideal time for being inspired (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/25-hours-workweek-peak-performance-helen-butler?published=t), collaborative, consultative, and why not do that in a high functioning team environment.

Managers now have to manage to results, employees being KPI and results driven rather than hours driven.

Are you equipped?  Why not request our Toolkits or take our Diagnostic on how ready are you for Flexibility?  FlexConnect: Equipping Organisations, Managers & Employees for Flexibility.

http://www.afr.com/news/special-reports/culture-tech/flexible-working-practices-essential-for-success-20160515-govh6i#ixzz48t1yVVrQ 

Working 25 hours/week = Peak Performance

3 day work week

 

A new study has found that working overtime can hamper your brain’s function more than not working at all.

The optimum number of hours to work in order to keep the synapses firing, is 25 hours.

Australians are working far too many hours, according to Colin McKenzie, Economics Professor at Keio University in Japan.

So if you’re working more than three days a week, you may want to start going home early on a regular basis.  Tell your boss it will be worth it thanks to the increased productivity you’ll be able to achieve.

As a nation, we are known for our strong work ethic and long hours, with official figures showing that about 8.2 million Australians work full-time and 3.8 million work part-time.

For every hour worked beyond the optimum 25, there was a steady decline in cognitive function.  Men and women showed the same results in the study.  There are so many cracking yarns to be had here at the impact this will have on our social make-up, stigmas men and women carry for the part-time v full-time productivity & office politics debate, but it doesn’t help the conversation that needs to happen around changing our workforce to suit our lifestyle choices better.

FlexConnect believes and endorses the pursuit of flexibility.  Our latest PodCastentitled “Family Ties – Green Eggs & Chipps” pursues the cultural observations, stigmas and gender roles that society has viewed and how current stereotypes are undergoing re-shaping.

Interestingly in relation to our ageing population, The Melbourne Institute study examined 6500 Australian workers aged 40 and over, testing them on their working memory, linguistic skills, concentration and information processing speed, and cross-referencing the results with data on their working hours.

The study authors noted that their results may impact on the “use it or lose it” theory, which posits that older people suffer a mental decline after retirement if they do not keep their brains active.  So, how do we keep this demographic engaged, contributing and healthy in our pursuit for lifestyle satisfaction.

http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/at-work/why-you-should-go-home-early-today/news-story/ba07ead354416c3146ccac6061084ead

Think Flexibility is hard – think again ….

 

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With Australia’s ageing population and changing labour market, taking on a flexible approach to work is a critical component of your attraction and retention strategy. In a flexible workplace, employers and employees work together to decide on working arrangements such as hours of work, work location and the way work is carried out.

It means thinking creatively about how working lives can be planned to match individual and business needs.

Recently, one of my clients provided the following commentary on her experience embedding flexibility into the workplace as a retention strategy. This is her story.


Essentially, I began looking at flexibility for my team after being provided with flexibility during and after my three maternity leave periods, allowing me to balance school, kids’ sport and work. This was one of the key drivers to remain where I am.

I see the way in which my managers have allowed me to balance work and family as ‘having my cake and eating it too’.  Given the anchor point this has on my retention, I figured it was one strategy I could implement for my team that would create a point of difference. I was a little proactive, implementing changes to create the opportunity before being asked by the team.”

In the past 2 years:

  1. I’ve moved the team from a paper-based office to a paperless office, and from desktops to laptops. All our ICT programs are web-based, which also means we can get real-time access to any of our information as long as we can access the Internet.
  2. I have a number of mobile Wi-Fi connections for the team to ‘book’, and those who have regular arrangements have a dedicated mobile Wi-Fi.  We also utilise phone technology, which means our team can answer their desk phones via their laptops (don’t ask me how it works, I just know it does!).
  3. I trialled the work from home option and flexible work times with the team for three months on the basis that anyone in the team could request to work from home or alter their start/finish times. It was proposed on a ‘one in, all in’ basis – i.e. if we could all get it to work, we would explore how far we could extend this opportunity.

The trial brought the team closer together, with everyone proactively identifying the challenges of the flexible arrangements and coming up with solutions. Most importantly, it was clear that everyone in the team was equal, and had an equal right to work from home.

Workplace flexibility is often directed at working mums, but only two thirds of my team are parents. Others in the team have used the new arrangements to be at home to work around contractors, drop pets at the vet or fit in a round of twilight lawn bowls in summer. Whatever the reasons, so far the system has not been abused, the team has taken less sick leave, and they have turned down job offers when approached – instead they tell me what the other job didn’t offer when compared to ours. Many are even more productive from home.

So far then changes have been effective, but we do continue to review and ensure it’s still working well. The team are open and honest about what has been challenging.  We’ve been together for around three years now, so there is maturity within the team to provide and receive feedback without taking things personally, which I think has been a key aspect to this working.

Whether it would work with a team of newer team members or in roles that aren’t as defined and workload/productivity easily identified, I’m not so sure. I guess I’ve found what works for the team at the moment and the challenge is trying to stay ahead of our competitors to keep my team together.

 

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This is so encouraging to hear and see in action! Employers who provide flexible working arrangements create an environment where employees can be productive while still being able to meet responsibilities outside of work. This increases trust, retention, workload and output.

Be part of the team that is leading the way in Equipping Organisations, Managers & Employees for Flexibility.

Job-Sharing – Is it for you?

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The world of work is changing and we need to change with it.  Job-Sharing is something that is myth busting it’s way into business and we are delighted at FlexConnect that this is part of our offerings to you – employees, managers and organisations.    In a recent study, a few case studies arose, and this HR Director had some great tips.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/job-sharing-you-helen-butler?published=u

 

Annabel Crabb, E-Men & Me

Annabel & Me

Helen is flying solo for this PodCast and had the pleasure of attending the WGEA’s event on Equilibrium Challenge which followed 5 men for 12 months who chose flexibility at work, in different shapes and forms, and for different reasons.

The always delightful Annabel Crabb hosted the conversation, and besides being overwhelmed by her genuineness and charming self, Helen completely fell in love with her shoes! Foxy Lady is all we’ll say! 🙂

(We highly recommend Annabel’s recent Book, “The Wife Drought – Why Men Need Lives, and Women Need Wives” – an eye opening and stunning read on the Australian workplace – it’s amazing).

We’ve whipped up a short PodCast for you on their views, what flex is for them and the conversation that took place around that. It’s encouraging that there is a dialogue around flexibility for men as well as women. Check out their website at www.equilibriumchallenge.com.au.  Enjoy!

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/chewing-fat-on-flexibility/id1076211776?mt=2

Flexibility for Everyone? Well yes, says Mike Baird, NSW Premier

We are over the moon, excited and delighted to have read Mr Baird’s post.

What more is there to say, we salute you Mike Baird for not only identifying so many issues within your government, highlighting them, and looking to rectify them.  At FlexConnect we are all for the dialogue around flexibility and it seems Mr Baird has hit the nail on the head – impressive!

The current status within the NSW Government has been identified as this:

  • Mike identifies the pay gap in the NSW government as being 17.9%  This is higher than the national average.
  • 64% of government sector employees are women.
  • 36% of senior leadership roles are filled by women.
  • Currently 1-2% of senior leaders in the NSW government work flexibly.

As a result of these findings, check this out:

Mike’s Targets

  • 50% for women to fill these leadership roles by 2017.
  • 100% of NSW government sector roles will be flexible by default by 2019.

Well done Mike Baird, a great initiative and we salute you!

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/flexibility-everyone-well-yes-says-mike-baird-nsw-premier-butler

Negotiating Flexible Work Arrangements

Negotiating Flexible Work Arrangements

A recent study provided us with these stats from the 400 people they quizzed:

  • 11% of working mothers believed they had a flexible working arrangement
  • More than half of Australian women have been discriminated against in the workforce, for being a Mum
  • One in Four were forced to resign because their request for flexible hours or duties were denied

Don’t let luck and hoping for the good faith of your employer be your only guide in obtaining flexible work arrangements.  Follow these steps and put fate in your own hands, put your best foot forward by following these steps:

Actually Ask …..

recent study showed that despite nearly 80% of the population believing that they could benefit from flexible work, they were too afraid to ask for it for fear of how they would be perceived. Rarely will organisations expressly offer flexible working arrangements, so the first step in arranging them is overcoming your fear of being perceived as ‘less committed’ or ‘slack’ and mustering the courage to ask.

If you’re a Mum or Dad returning after paternity leave, the ‘double whammy’ of returning to work and trying to negotiate flexible work arrangements can be particularly daunting. However, if you are in this situation it is always in your best interest to try and negotiate prior to returning to work. This is because if you try to ‘see how the first few months go’ and then your performance suffers as a result, you will be far less likely to be successful in any future negotiations.

Know your rights

What can you ask for?  First port of call – check your organisation’s policy and then check Fair Work Australia.

Leverage the success of others

Although the benefits of flexible work are extensively documented, some managers/organisations are just not able to believe it until they see it. Thus, arm yourself with several real-life examples of successful flexible working, ideally within your organisation, but at the very least, in your job role/or within your industry. This will demonstrate to others that not only can flexible work work, but that it can work for you.  Check out this link for a case study http://inspiredpeople.com.au/flexibility-in-2015/.

Prepare your business case

Keep in mind that this is a business case.  You need to focus on the benefits to the business for you to work flexibly, so it’s all about them right!  Here’s a few tips to preparing and presenting a killer business case for flexible work:

  • Have your best practice examples at the ready and be familiar with the benefits of flexible working. Need some? Let us help you.
  • Prepare answers to any potential objections you feel may arise, such as how you will remain contactable, how you will manage your workload, etc.
  • Utilise your performance to your advantage (if it has been good!), for example, state that: ‘I have already proven that I achieve more than what is required of me, and I know I can continue in this vein, regardless of my work location.’ Even if you are returning to work after maternity leave, it is still ok to leverage your past performance – after all, your ability to do your job hasn’t changed, you are simply seeking a more flexible arrangement.
  • Plan a catch up with your manager at a convenient time – you will be far more likely to achieve success if they have the time and energy to consider your proposal.

Have a back-up Plan

If your request to work flexibly is denied, then it is a good idea to have a back-up plan – or two. Firstly, if your request to work flexibly full-time or work part-time is refused, consider asking your organisation whether they will consider a job-share arrangement.  Organisations can only deny your request on business grounds, find out what they are and see if you can work with those.

Secondly, if your organization cannot or will not consider flexible working arrangements, call us. We can help you, your organization with tools and frameworks to manage flexibility.  FlexConnect specialses in “Equipping Organizations, Managers and Employees for Flexibility”  FlexConnect.com.au

 

Congratulations to Kate Jenkins!

Kate Jenkins was announced as our new Sex Discrimination Commissioner by our Federal Minister for Women, The Honourable Michaela Cash, MP.

Kate was the lead partner with Herbert Smith Freehills, specialising in equal opportunity practice for ten years, has been the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner since 2013.

Kate was pivotal in championing the Victorian Champions of Change, following her predecessor, Elizabeth Broderick’s lead to encourage and support men actively participating in the fight for gender equality.

Ms Cash released this statement:

“Ms Jenkins has worked closely with a wide range of organisations, including the Victoria police, to address issues of entrenched discrimination and harassment,” they said. “She has also advanced gender equality in all areas of life with a particular focus on diversity in sport, through the Fair Go Sport and Play By the Rule campaigns.

We look forward to Ms Jenkins’ contribution to the work of the Australian Human Rights Commission where she will extend her productive relationships across the Australian government and the broader Australian community, building on the outstanding work of her predecessor.”

We couldn’t agree more.  Elizabeth Broderick in this recent role and Gillian Triggs who relieved in this post until a replacement for Ms Broderick was secured, are amazing talented women who are inspirational, professional, intelligent and encompass true class and have achieved amazing success and results in their postings!

We look forward to your journey Kate and wish you every success.

 

 

Welcome to FlexConnect

FlexConnect empowers and equips organisations to attract and retain high calibre Flexible Professionals and provides tailored solutions that meet the needs of business, individuals, families and communities.

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We provide frameworks, tools, training, coaching, goal setting and accountability to ensure success in setting and achieving Targets for both Organisations and Employees.

  • Managers are coached on how to effectively communicate and manage their teams as well as how to identify and overcome important challenges
  • FlexConnectors are coached in the art of managing up and down as well as communicating effectively and establishing clear targets and frameworks to ensure delivery on KPIs, and influencing expectations and team

Enjoy PodCasts? Want to join the discussion around Flexibility?  Click here to listen to our PodCasts on Flexibility and Click here to join FlexConnect Community.

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