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Shifting perspectives on flexible working

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How do we re-shape perspectives on flexible working?

By turning employee perspectives into personas, i.e. people you might know, it becomes easier to understand their fears and concerns, and identify ways in which their concerns can be alleviated. If they support flexible working, there is the potential to encourage them to advocate and mentor to drive further acceptance.

Capturing their perspectives in this way can enable managers and leaders to better understand the unique communication needs and preferences of their employees and build confidence in having a conversation about flexible working with their teams.

These personas can be used to build empathy for emotions relating to change, provide a context for why they might have a given mindset, and personalise the flexible working arrangements that might suit them best.

By understanding the typical fears and concerns that are contributing to people’s reactions and resistance to a change such as flexible working, agencies can build their communications and capability initiatives around addressing them.

What are the different perspectives on flexible working?

These ‘personas’ summarise some of the attitudes, fears and wants we’ve heard employees in the NSW Government Sector have about flexible working; that is, as a fictional profile of a person created to represent:

  • the different needs, goals, motivations, and behaviours of employees in the government sector,
  • their attitude to flexible working,
  • and how their perspective could be shaped, influenced or helpful for driving implementation of flexible working.


Claire the contester

Role title: Manager
Employment: Ongoing, full time
Where they’re at with flexible working: Resisting

Sanjeev the sceptical

Role title: Frontline service manager
Employment: Permanent, full time
Where they’re at with flexible working: Sceptical

Isaac the indifferent

Role title: Executive Director
Employment: 2 year contract, full time
Where they’re at with flexible working: Indifferent

Sabine the seeker

Role title: Secondary school teacher
Employment: Permanent, full time
Where they’re at with flexible working: Seeker

Penelope the promoter

Role title: Senior research scientist
Employment: Permanent, full time
Where they’re at with flexible working: Promoter


Note: The goal of these personas is not to represent all employees in the sector, but to focus on their major characteristics, requirements and expectations.

Flexible working workplace sessions for managers and employees

These resources support you to offer flexible working awareness and engagement sessions for your agency’s employees and managers.

Your agency may need to run these sessions when it has revised its policy, if your employee survey data reveals there are employees or managers who would benefit from an increased awareness of flexibility and open mind towards its use, or if your agency is moving to a new activity-based workspace and the expectation is that more employees will work flexibly. These sessions provide an opportunity to clearly articulate organisational expectations about how it can work, and respective roles and goals. Use the facilitator guide and the accompanying resources below.