A flexible working policy should not:
Exclude employees based on poor performance
A flexible working policy should not exclude poor performers from having their proposals considered. Poor performance must be handled as its own issue and addressed via formal agency performance measures. Flexible working is not a reward; all employees have access to request flexible working via a flexible working proposal, as long as it meets the needs of the employee, their team and their organisation.
Include probation and eligibility criteria
A flexible working policy should not include a ‘wait time’ or eligibility based on how long an employee has been with the organisation. Flexible working enables organisations to attract and retain people with the best skills and attributes. Flexible working does not need to be earned; if the work can be achieved by working flexibly after a probation period, it could probably be completed that way immediately.
Exclude roles, certain types of flexible working or services
Just as there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to flexible working, there is no ‘one-size-fits-none’ either. A flexible working policy should include all of the flexible working options and should not limit the range of options available or services for which it is available. Each flexible working proposal must be considered on its own merits.
Be overly prescriptive
Over time, flexible working and industrial award frameworks will both evolve. While the policy should acknowledge industrial parameters, being too prescriptive without allowing for evolution will date the policy quickly.
Restrict or cap the number of flexible working arrangements in place
Organisation and managers should not cap or put a limit on how many flexible working arrangements are in place in a team/unit/organisation, unless there are clear operational/rostering reasons (for example, hospitals may require a minimum number of capabilities in specialist areas for a given shift). A team-based approach should be used to determine how any number of flexible arrangements can be accommodated, but still get the work done to the standards required.
Be refused due to the cost of a WHS assessment
A proposal to work flexibly from home should not be refused due to WHS assessment costs. Employees must identify hazards and have an awareness of WHS requirements; this can be completed online with an organisation’s WHS working from home assessment checklist. Key is that any hazards are identified, the employee is aware of them, and treatments will be put in place to an agreed schedule. The WHS assessment must be a cost-effective process that provides the requisite assurance and meets insurer standards.
Be refused outright due to set up costs and travel costs
Set up costs and travel costs need to be discussed and considered on a case-by-case basis when it is an employee-driven flexible working proposal to work away from the office; i.e. working from home, telecommuting/remote working, working from a different location (including a different office/hub).