Flexible working case studies
Flexible working has been implemented in many different types of organisation. However, few have directly addressed a specific problem or barrier to uptake and detailed the response taken.
The following case studies have been selected because the organisations featured have encountered similar challenges to those reported by agencies in the NSW government sector, and their responses provide insight into the ways that agencies can adapt their own approaches.
Qantas successfully implemented flexible working across a diverse, dispersed organisation
Flexible working was identified as a key strategy for Qantas to keep up with the future of work, attract future talent and improve diversity and inclusion.
Qantas set itself a challenge to implement flexible working in selected business support areas by June 2018.
Flex@Q is a structured adoption approach, with prescribed implementation steps and communication tools, has enabled business support areas to adopt flexible working at a time that makes sense to them.
Mirvac used team-based approaches to drive a gender-diverse uptake
Mirvac encouraged employees to discuss as a team the one change they could each incorporate into their work lives to improve their work-life integration, yet continue to deliver outcomes.
Flexible working use among construction workers, a mostly male workforce with previously traditional work practices, is now at 76% (from 27% in 2015).
This shows that flexible working initiatives don’t have to be complex or over-engineered.
NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet used flexible work-space design to drive flexible working
As the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet moved offices to 52 Martin Place, it used the design of new work-spaces and an update of systems as a way to refresh its culture and work practices.
A comprehensive change management program was underpinned by investment in communications, technology and leadership support.
Activity-based working has also provided a springboard to consider what other forms of flexible working arrangements employees can use. Use and satisfaction are now the highest across the sector.
Offering choice drives flexible working uptake across BHP's workforce
Embedding flexible working was prioritised as a way to help achieve BHP’s inclusion and diversity goals, including achieving gender balance by 2025.
Because BHP is a global, 24/7 business, the approach taken had to be adaptable to different business and operational environments. It needed to work as well for fly-in fly-out workers in remote and regional locations as it did for those in the office.
Buy-in and enduring support from BHP leadership, starting with the CEO, was identified as the most important factor contributing to successful up take from managers and employees.
Reserve Bank of Australia developed capability in managing flexible teams
The Reserve Bank of Australia found that while a flexible working policy had existed for many years, uptake and awareness were low.
Using a leader-led approach to encourage uptake and provide visible support, a ‘demonstration effect’ encouraged managers to overcome scepticism and trial it.
Supporting training, streamlined request processes, enhanced accountability and improved IT encouraged managers to try something new.
Women’s Hospital (Vic) applies flexible working principles to front-line services
The Women’s Hospital has a 24/7 operational environment and a workforce committed to patient outcomes. Despite its workforce demographics, flexible working uptake was ad hoc and inconsistent in approach.
While managers were empowered to make decisions regarding flexible working proposals at the local level, they were supported by HR teams that gave guidance on how to consistently apply core principles to each proposal.
Patient outcomes have been maintained, but there is now more equitable access to flexible work across clinical and non-clinical work forces, although the arrangements undertaken can be customised to service needs.
Download the Flexible working case studies pack (PDF 1.2MB)
The diversity of these organisations highlights that there is no one way of implementing flexible working.
Similarly in the NSW government sector, context matters, and agencies will develop their own strategies based on role types, operating contexts and industrial arrangements. However, given that so many of the barriers cited in the case studies are similar to those reported across the government sector, how other organisations successfully responded to their challenges provides useful advice.