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Making flexibility work

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HC Online | 12 Aug 2009, 12:00 AM Agree 0
Human Capital talks to Fay Calderone, senior associate at MatthewsFolbigg, about how organisations should be preparing for flexible work practices

  • Tess | 13 Aug 2009, 03:21 PM Agree 0
    There definately is a chasm between the concept of flexible work arrangements, legislation and systems. We have an employee on unpaid Maternity Leave who would like to do some intermittent work from home. Practically, we're happy to do this and we have the mobile technology to do so. However the question is then raised by law and our HRIS: What is her employment status? She's working casually (intermittently), yet she's a permanent employee so can't be moved to a casual. The work is intermittent, so it's difficult to say that she's part time, and she's definately not full-time. We've had to do time-consuming work-arounds in our system and revert to manual processes simply in order to pay her and accrue her leave.
    We find ourselves in a catch-22. We want to support mothers maintaining contact with their workplace and their profession, however don't have the flexibility in legislation nor technology to support us.
  • Guy Forsyth | 01 Sep 2009, 09:18 AM Agree 0
    The real reason why flexible working arrangements are not tolerated in Australia is because of the inability of management to handle such a paradigm shift. The current culture is that an employee is only productive when they are sitting at a desk in an office. If management were able to describe the outcomes that they require and establish objectives for their staff then this work could be conducted from anywhere. We have been hearing about telecommuting for over two decades yet how many employees can really work from home? The public sector is paranoid about security and wont allow its staff to work from home, while the private sector would rather spend their money on what brings in revenue rather than implementing a new capability for staff. The old school thinking is still out there and is being propagated into the next generation yet it is clear that the following generation dont want a bar of it. There are claims of "legilsation" addressing this issue but any legislation is simply ignored by most employers who would rather stick to the old ways. There needs to be a re-education of management and a focus on the establishment of trust before these types of systems can exist. Think about it - if you have spent the last 30 years of your career dragging yourself into a sterile office environment to get where you are then are you really going to let some twenty year old work from home when you know they will be hitting the surf the minute it looks good?
  • Guy Forsyth | 01 Sep 2009, 09:18 AM Agree 0
    The real reason why flexible working arrangements are not tolerated in Australia is because of the inability of management to handle such a paradigm shift. The current culture is that an employee is only productive when they are sitting at a desk in an office. If management were able to describe the outcomes that they require and establish objectives for their staff then this work could be conducted from anywhere. We have been hearing about telecommuting for over two decades yet how many employees can really work from home? The public sector is paranoid about security and wont allow its staff to work from home, while the private sector would rather spend their money on what brings in revenue rather than implementing a new capability for staff. The old school thinking is still out there and is being propagated into the next generation yet it is clear that the following generation dont want a bar of it. There are claims of "legilsation" addressing this issue but any legislation is simply ignored by most employers who would rather stick to the old ways. There needs to be a re-education of management and a focus on the establishment of trust before these types of systems can exist. Think about it - if you have spent the last 30 years of your career dragging yourself into a sterile office environment to get where you are then are you really going to let some twenty year old work from home when you know they will be hitting the surf the minute it looks good?
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