The business case for flexibility in your small business

How to implement flexible work practices that suit your business.

Shape

Overview

How this helps your business

Best practice employers foster flexibility to achieve a better balance between work and family responsibilities for all their employees.

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 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.

Vokke is a small business and finalist in the 2017 WorkSafe awards for Commitment to Workplace Health and Safety. They embed balance as part of their workplace culture. Watch the video and see if you get any ideas on how to foster balance in your workplace.

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

Why offer better work/life balance?

  • A cost-effective way of keeping the most skilled employees and attracting new ones
  • Improvement in staff morale, leading to greater engagement in the workplace
  • Reduction in staff turnover, leading to lower recruitment and training costs
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Better productivity
  • More efficiency through the benefits of long service, e.g. industry knowledge, networks and contacts

Step 2

Assess your workplace

Tick the items 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

  • 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 the 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 work life balance entitlements in writing and easily accessible to all employees?
  • Have you considered using an individual flexibility arrangement to accommodate an individual employee’s specific needs?
  • Do you create part time opportunities that are meaningful?

Step 3

Make a start

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
  • Taking time in lieu for working overtime hours
  • Job-sharing arrangements
  • Working additional hours to make up for time taken off
  • Allowing parents to start later or leave early for school pick-up
  • Putting family-friendly arrangements into your flexible workplace policy
  • Make balance one of your workplace values
  • A variety of growth and development opportunities to improve skills (formal training, coaching and mentoring opportunities)
  • 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.

More information

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