There are plenty of great resources out there with advice and information on transitioning to flexible work. Here are a few of our favourite informative and thought-provoking articles, podcasts and websites, as well as the suite of Stepping Up resources.
Stepping Up on Flexibility
The following articles were written and compiled as part of a set that draws on four flexibility toolkits developed by the Champions of Change Architecture Group, with the aim of contributing to flexible work cultures within the wider architecture profession.
Modern workplace culture expectations have been strong drivers for flexible working for some time, but the arrival of the pandemic in early 2020 has accelerated the transition for many. So, how does flexibility work in practice, what are the benefits and challenges, what is its impact on equity, what is the business case for change and what are some of the types of flexible working?
An open and transparent flexible work policy is critical to fostering an effective, collaborative and healthy workplace, where people feel supported if they choose to work flexibly and where meaningful and rewarding career opportunities are available. The following article includes practical advice on developing and implementing a flex policy.
Documents / Research
Accelerating Change on Flexible Ways of Working (2020), Discussion Paper, Male Champions of Change.
Developed during the early phase of the pandemic, the document aims to help businesses speed up the process of workplace change in relation to flexible ways of working …
“As we prepare to return to workplaces, now is the time to shift mindsets and behaviours around when, where, how and by whom work outcomes are achieved. In this new world of work, we can make bold moves on flexibility to accelerate change towards more gender equal, safe, inclusive and high performing organisations for all.”
Includes discussion of the fundamentals of flexible working and the system shifts required to support greater flexibility and practical actions to accelerate change.
Parlour Guide to Equitable Practice – Flexibility (2014, currently being updated), Parlour
Parlour’s guide to flexibility guide outlines some of the benefits of working flexibly in architecture and identifies strategies to help these arrangements run smoothly. Everyone has a role to play in achieving a successful flexible work environment, and this guide offers valuable advice for employers, employees and professional organisations on how to make it work.
Flexible working arrangements (Fair Work Ombudsman) The FWO has a best practice guide for managers and employers, which explains the advantages of taking a best practice approach to flexible working arrangements, the process for setting up flexible work arrangements, and how to develop a policy. The guide also includes case studies, practical tips, and a list of Fair Work and other resources and links.
Flexible work (Workplace Gender Equality Agency) The WGEA has an excellent suite of resources regarding flexible work, including a series of toolkits for employees, managers and executives.
ACA flexibility resources (Association of Consulting Architects) The ACA has a suite of articles on flexible work, including practical pieces on modern awards and legal requirements, informative articles packed with advice, practice profiles and personal stories of juggling the demands of work, home and external pursuits.
Flexible teams: resources for managers (NSW Public Service Commission) This NSW government web page has a number of useful resources for managers to implement flexible work in practice. Toolkits include How to make flexibility work as a team; Reviewing the proposal and having the conversation; Managing dispersed flexible teams; and Role redesign for managers.
Flexibility research and resources (Diversity Council of Australia) The DCA takes us through their research, tools and documents on flexibility – from the Business Case to Quick Wins, Taking a Strategic Approach to Flexibility to Tools and Compliance.
Flexible working patterns (Parlour) Parlour has published articles and resources on flexible work on the Parlour website since way back in 2013, with excellent articles by Misty Waters, Emmy Healy, Julie Willis, Rob Henry and Jenny Edwards.
13 Techniques For Implementing A Flexible Work Schedule Policy Efficiently (August 2020), Forbes
Thirteen experts from Forbes Human Resources Council weigh in on the most viable techniques for implementing a flexible work schedule that doesn’t impact the company’s productivity. Tips include getting senior leader buy-in, clarifying what productivity looks like, ensuring accountability through data, and making sure you have the right structures.
Hybrid work – making it fit with your diversity, equity and inclusion strategy (April 2022), McKinsey Quarterly, McKinsey & Company
New research details what empowered employees love about hybrid work models and the risks to diversity, equity and inclusion if managers get the evolving flexible workplace wrong. “After the Great Resignation comes the Great Renegotiation. Over the past two years, millions of people and organisations around the world were forced into hybrid virtual work, many for the first time. Survey after survey has shown that employers eagerly hope their employees will return to the office as soon as possible. Employees? Not so much, for reasons including health, family, and the work–life balance.”
Reimagining the post-pandemic workforce (July 2020), McKinsey Quarterly, McKinsey & Company
Pandemic-style working from home may not translate easily to a “next normal” mix of on-site and remote working. It’s harder than it looks. This document considers some of the challenges of the hybrid style of working and outlines a number of different models with varying costs, benefits and outcomes. Includes plenty of advice for managers, leaders and hybrid virtual teams. “Avoiding the pitfalls of remote working requires thinking carefully about leadership and management in a hybrid virtual world. Interactions between leaders and teams provide an essential locus for creating the social cohesion and the unified hybrid virtual culture that organisations need in the next normal.”
Balancing flex with the needs of business (March 2021), Angelina Pillai, ACA
Successful flexible work arrangements often rely on good communication and an effective (ongoing) consultative process. Angelina Pillai offers some timely advice on rolling out flex in the workplace.
Flexibility and remote working (March 2021), Fiona Martin, ACA
Many practices are at the crossroads of the hybrid working model, but how do we adapt to the new way of working? Fiona Martin reflects on the best way forward for practices big and small.
Parlour resources for remote working (April 2020) Back at the beginning of the pandemic, Parlour published a list of useful resources and articles that focused on remote working. Still a relevant and interesting read.
Rethinking flexibility at work (WorkLife with Adam Grant: A TED original podcast) Organisational psychologist Adam Grant promises to take you “inside the minds of fascinating people to help us rethink how we work, lead, and live” in this ongoing series. This podcast features a number of guests who have introduced innovative workplace initiatives in the name of flexibility, including CEO for the Day and “dabble time”. Another guest talks about the benefits of creating predictability in the workplace as well as flexibility, devoting mornings to dedicated “quiet time” or “focus time” followed by afternoons for collaboration and meetings, and having a set workplace goal of “time off”. Worth a listen!
Ed Miliband on how to support men to share the care (A Podcast of one’s own with Julia Gillard, The Global Institute for Women’s Leadership) Unequal divisions of parental care and flexible working are significant drivers of the gender pay gap. So, what can we do to fix these problems and better support men to share the care? Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard discusses the issues with UK politician Ed Miliband; Principal Advisor of Equalities, Diversity & Inclusion Shoshana Davidson; and Senior Manager for Inclusion Drew Gibson.