Senior Partnerships Adviser
Employee demand for flexible working grows each year, with the 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey showing those organisations with a higher degree of flexibility in working arrangements being rewarded with higher levels of employee loyalty.
Global engineering and infrastructure advisory company firm Aurecon, who has been named an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality for the second year in a row, has responded to this trend with their Yes Flex Initiative.
Line managers lead on flexible working
In 2017, Aurecon focused on promoting and embedding Yes Flex into the business by engaging with line management to role model and support flexible work. Evelyn Storey, Technical Director, Built Environment in Brisbane was quick to put her hand up to be an early adopter of Yes Flex, piloting the program before the broader roll-out.
“As a leader, I chose to make an effort to role-model the use of the policy. I’ll often leave work ‘early’ on a Tuesday to pick up my daughter for after-school commitments, which I feel demonstrates my personal support for, and belief in, the policy.”
Across Evelyn’s team the program has a wide variety of uses, with some employees choosing to work a condensed work week, others working from home or working longer or shorter days to suit their personal commitments. Evelyn believes the policy has given users more options when it comes to designing a work day that suits individual circumstances. And for those that are not currently using the policy, the increased visibility of the co-workers actively engaging with the policy has afforded them peace of mind for when they do require more flexibility.
“To ensure unequivocal support of the policy, I sat down with other line managers and agreed together that every time an employee asked about taking advantage of Yes Flex, we would say yes and then figure out how to accommodate it. To date, there hasn’t been a single instance where we were not able to do so.”
A culture of trust
Often when flexible working for employees is discussed, it is relegated to the needs and requirements of employees with caring responsibilities. For Ellie Hubbard, Senior Electrical Engineer at Aurecon, the Yes Flex initiative really appealed to her as it was the first time a policy had made her feel as though her life outside of Aurecon was as important as those employees with kids. It signified to her that enhanced work-life balance was available to all staff, regardless of life stage.
“I was in a regular routine of going to the gym before work and I would always rush in order to be at work ‘on time’,” said Ellie. “Now, I am free to stay later in order to prioritise my health and fitness and make up hours without being questioned for doing so.”
Ellie says the policy has helped build trust between Aurecon and its employees, allowing them to prioritise what is important to them, whatever that may be!