What is Flexibility?

What is Flexibility

‘Workplace flexibility’ is where a business and one or more of its employees agree on changes to standard working arrangements to better accommodate employees’ commitments away from work.

Types of flexibility

There are many different types of flexible work arrangements.  Below is a list that is an example, but not an exhaustive list.

According to the WGEA, Flexibility can be:

Type Description
Flexible hours of work This is where you may vary your start and finish times
Compressed working weeks You may work the same number of weekly (or fortnightly or monthly) working hours, compressed into a shorter period. For example, a forty-hour week may be worked at the rate of ten hours per day for four days instead of eight hours a day for five days. Changes to salary are not required.
Time-in-lieu You may work approved overtime and be compensated by time-in-lieu. It can include ‘flexitime’ arrangements where an employee can work extra time over several days or weeks and then reclaim those hours as time off.
Telecommuting You may work at a location other than the official place of work. A wide range of terms refer to working at different locations, including ‘mobile working’, ‘distributed work’, ‘virtual teams’ and ‘telework’. These are referred to collectively as ‘telecommuting’ in this toolkit. Note that telecommuting is generally most effective when there is a relatively even split between time spent in the office and working elsewhere. This lessens the sense of isolation that can come from working away from the office.
Part-time work A regular work pattern where you work less than full-time and are paid on a prorata basis for that work. Not all part-time work is necessarily flexible in nature, but it offers flexibility to workers who have other commitments or lifestyle choices that are not compatible with full-time work.
Job sharing A full-time job role is divided into multiple job roles to be undertaken by two or more employees who are paid on a pro-rata basis for the part of the job each completes.
Purchased leave A period of leave without pay, usually available after annual leave allocation is finished. Employers typically deduct the amount of unpaid leave from the worker’s salary, and this can be done as a lump sum or averaged over the year.
Unplanned leave Informal access to leave for unanticipated or unplanned events.
Flexible careers You are able to enter, exit and re-enter employment with the same organisation, or to increase or decrease your workload or career pace to suit different life stages. This may be particularly relevant for employees transitioning to retirement. It can also include employees who are able to take a ‘gap year’ early in their careers and return to work for the same employer afterwards.


Other choices about hours, patterns and locations of work Other options about when, where and how work is done, e.g. overtime and having autonomy to decide when to take breaks during the working day