The business case for flexibility in your medium or large business

How to implement flexible working practices that suit your business.

Shape

Overview

How this helps your business

A workplace that supports employees to balance their different commitments makes a huge difference to employee mental health and wellbeing. They also see employees performing at their best and reduce the risk of burnout.

Step 1

Learn more on this topic

Sometimes it's hard to get others to understand the importance of creating a workplace environment that supports balance. Organisations might look at the short-term bottom line rather than looking at the bigger picture of long-term rewards.

The dot points below show why working at best practice level makes good business sense. The Fair Work Ombudsman also lists employers' obligations and further information in the best practice guides for work and family. Use this information to help others understand why you are focusing on increasing balance.

We've also included a link below which shows how one business fostered balance.

WorkSafe Award Finalist - Vokke - Commitment to Workplace Health & Wellbeing

Why offer better work/life balance?

  • A cost-effective means of keeping the most skilled employees and attracting new ones
  • Better productivity
  • A way to be recognised as an employer of choice within an industry or sector
  • Improvement in staff morale, leading to greater engagement in the workplace
  • Reduction in staff turnover, leading to lower recruitment and training costs
  • Show employees they are valued by the organisation
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • More efficiency through the benefits of long service, e.g. industry knowledge, networks and contacts

Step 2

Assess your workplace

Tick the boxes that you can confidently say your organisation practises. It's helpful to get others involved in answering these questions too, to get the perspective of different people in your workplace.

Checklist for a family-friendly workplace

  • Is the idea of work and family balance and its benefits well received and understood by managers and employees?
  • Does your organisation recognise that employees have important roles and responsibilities outside the workplace?
  • Are there processes in place to allow employees to talk both as a team and individually about need for work and family balance?
  • Are employees aware of what family-friendly entitlements exist in the workplace and how to access them?
  • Are the family-friendly entitlements in writing and easily accessible to all employees (e.g. in a policy)?
  • Are employees who use family-friendly options, such as flexible working hours or parental leave, treated the same as other employees, including for promotion and training opportunities?
  • Have you considered using an individual flexibility arrangement to accommodate an individual employee’s specific needs?
  • Do you regularly review your family-friendly options?

Australian Government, Fair Work Ombudsman

Step 3

Make a change

The dot points below have some examples for you to think about. Not all will suit your workplace, but you should think about how you might be able to make some of them fit.

TIP: Choose a strategy that you implement in the next 3 months. This will show your employees that you are committed to their wellbeing.

Strategies to help create balance in the workplace

  • Family-friendly working hours
  • Part-time or casual work offered equally to all staff
  • Opportunities to work from home
  • Being allowed to use annual leave in single-day or part-day periods
  • Taking time in lieu for working overtime hours
  • Job-sharing arrangements
  • Telecommuting
  • Providing a carers room, childcare facilities or information about where parents can access these
  • Working additional hours to make up for time taken off
  • Considering people's out of work commitments when scheduling meetings
  • Providing paid maternal and paternal leave
  • Promoting family-friendly practices at recruitment and onboarding
  • Creating meaningful part-time employment opportunities
  • Allowing parents to start later or leave early for school pick-up
  • Having 'keep up to date' days for parents on parental leave to make it easy for them to catch up when they return
  • Putting family-friendly arrangements into your flexible workplace policy
  • Allowing carers to take phone calls from childcare, children, or other family members
  • Develop a short survey asking feedback from staff on how you can help them balance work and personal responsibilities better
  • Make balance one of your workplace values
  • A variety of growth and development opportunities to improve skills (formal training, coaching and mentoring opportunities)
  • Opportunity to attend courses in line with business needs (giving people financial assistance)
  • Education leave (paid or unpaid)
  • Encouragement to participate in wellbeing and resilience programs

Step 4

Review and keep improving

As your organisation changes over time, the needs of your employees and business change too. Legislation also changes so it’s recommended you regularly review your balance requirements to ensure you’re up to date.

Specify a date that you will review your requirements and set a reminder to do so.

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Disclaimer: The WorkWell Toolkit provides general information only. Please consider your specific circumstances, needs and seek appropriate professional advice.