How can I implement a policy of flexibility at my workplace?

Why consider work life balance?

You may be looking at work life balance in your workforce plan because:

  • key staff are getting older and considering retirement
  • you want to become a best practice organisation and an employer of choice
  • you want to attract the best possible staff
  • employees need a more flexible workplace
  • there is a problem with staff turnover or absenteeism
  • you are applying for a grant
  • you are looking at long-term workforce planning.

For more help with workforce planning take a look at the South Australian Government's Employer Resource Kit


How to communicate with staff

By effectively communicating the policies and benefits, you can improve satisfaction of current employees and strengthen your competitive advantage in attracting new recruits. Facilitate discussion by:

  • telling staff that work life balance measures are on the agenda
  • asking which employees need to manage work and caring or other responsibilities
  • using emails, newsletters, flyers, posters and intranet to encourage discussion
  • making clear statements about what's changing, why, when and how.


What are your workforce needs?

Work life balance is not a 'one size fits all' arrangement. Employees of any age or gender may need different flexibilities and understanding when developing a work life balance strategy. For example:

  • who is caring for children?
  • who is caring for ageing parents or family members with disabilities?
  • who is balancing caring for children and ageing parents or family members with disabilities?
  • who is thinking of retiring?
  • what is the rate of absenteeism?


Drafting a policy

Find out what people want, involve everyone (directors, managers and employees) to talk about organisational and employee needs.

Form a work life balance project team or interest group where all ideas are accepted for consideration. For example:

  • nominate key individuals to champion work life balance and move ideas forward
  • encourage staff to discuss ideas with management and present it at meetings
  • invite guest speakers to add to the discussion
  • keep everyone informed
  • look at the operational needs of the business
  • look at business and employee priorities and agree on what is achievable
  • consider the impact of flexible arrangements on clients, customers and stakeholders and set up arrangements to cover absences
  • identify managers' training needs
  • agree on work life balance performance measures
  • develop a process for applying for flexible arrangements
  • draft a policy that is clear and accessible and invite feedback and discussion
  • create a section on work life balance in the human resource policy and/or workplace agreement
  • evaluate, refine and improve your work life balance strategies
  • make sure your policies fit within legislative requirements.


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Last Modified Date: 03/APR/2014