Guidelines

Discussing and applying flexible working arrangements

Visible leadership is critical, where leader’s role model flexible working, empower others, are clear about performance expectations and manage for results.

Flexible work arrangements should not be static. They should be dynamic and responsive to the diverse needs at different stages of people’s lives and careers. There is no ‘one size fits all’, but the approach should be inclusive and consistent. These guidelines have been designed for both staff and supervisors to support mutually respectful conversations and normalise our approach towards a more flexible workplace.

  • Adjust mindsets

    Staff

    • Explore different flexible working options & identify what will assist you in working effectively
    • Identify benefits, potential challenges and impacts with proposed arrangements for you, your team and service delivery.
    • Identify what needs to be adjusted with tasks and processes
    • Consider how flexibility will work in your team environment (meetings, collaboration, communication, distribution of work)
    • Be prepared to consider alternatives

    It is also important to think about the benefits of time on campus such as team engagement, learning from others, opportunities for incidental discussion and problem solving, collaboration and networking.


    Supervisor

    • Be open to exploring creative solutions
    • Reflect on whether you might have biases or preconceived ideas about flexible working
    • Consider the benefits of the different types of FWA’s such as enabling diversity and inclusion, supporting wellbeing, maximising office space, and increasing productivity
    • Consider what can be adjusted in the role, tasks and the team to support a request
    • Consider how flexibility will work in your team environment (meetings, collaboration, communication, distribution of work), you may need to adjust your leadership style
    • Create an environment where staff feel comfortable to request and discuss FWA’s (consider a short survey to understand the needs of your team
    • Consider how office and research space can be maximised – what are the current and future communication, ICT and equipment needs of the team to enable flexibility and maximise productivity?
    • Be prepared to consider alternatives that meet the needs of the individual and team
  • Discuss

    Staff

    • The type of flexible work arrangement that will support your personal and work circumstances
    • The timing of the proposal
    • Adjustments required (does this impact your job role and performance expectations – e.g. if time fraction is being reduced?)
    • Impact on the team/clients and how this will be managed
    • Work set up and equipment required
    • Confidentiality and security of information management and OH&S requirements (if working off campus)
    • How the arrangement will be reviewed

    Supervisor

    • Schedule adequate time to discuss and consider the staff members’ request
    • Is the request for an FWA due to a protected attribute (for example, parental or carer responsibilities, disability, or health condition)? *
    • Reasonable adjustments to the role, tasks, processes, and team to determine the viability of the arrangements
    • When approving be clear on what has been agreed to, clarify expectations and the time frames involved.
    • If after exploring all options the request cannot be approved, check with People & Culture that the decision to decline is reasonable. Communicate the reasons for declining the request to the employee in person and in writing within 21 days. Offer to set a future date to revisit the request

      * If a staff member is requesting an FWA due to a disability or health condition seek further advice from People and Culture and MDHS OHS Team about reasonable adjustments to ensure OH&S needs are met.
  • Implement

    Staff

    Ensure team members, and where relevant, customers and stakeholders are aware of your working arrangement.

    Submit required documentation/systems updates:


    Supervisor

    • Document the arrangement to ensure a shared understanding of what has been agreed to
    • Clearly define and communicate performance expectations and ways of working
    • Communicate the arrangements with team members
    • Ensure any changes are actioned, such as approving leave or part-time work arrangements are submitted in Themis.
    • If the changes are working outside the span of ordinary working hours seek further advice from HR Assist
  • Review

    Staff

    • Review if the arrangements are working by checking regularly with your supervisor and team
    • Determine if any adjustments are required and refine arrangements
    • Reflect on the challenges, success and benefits of the arrangements

    Supervisor

    • Discuss effectiveness of arrangements including any need for refinements during regular “check-ins” and career discussions
    • If arrangements are not working discuss and agree on adjusting or reverting to previous work arrangements 
    • Note the benefits and successes and share your flexible working story with others