Ideas for achieving work life balance

In any workplace managers can receive a variety of requests for work arrangements that assist work life balance.

Flexible work arrangements may be used to assist:

  • working parents;
  • parents of a child with a disability;
  • workers caring for a person who is elderly or has a disability;
  • working students;
  • older workers looking for options;
  • workers with a mental or physical disability;
  • injured workers returning to work; or
  • any worker who just needs some time to deal with personal commitments.

Ways businesses can improve work life balance for employees...

Telecommuting/work from home

The employee works outside the central workplace - usually at home or at a satellite location, for all or part of a working week. An occupational health and safety assessment must be done to check the remote workstation meets the required standard and is free of risk.


The employee works fewer than full-time hours. Hours can be fixed or can change from week to week. It is important that full-time duties are not compressed into part-time.

Job share

Two or more employees share one full-time job. Wages and entitlements are also shared.

Compressed work

The employee works their standard hours over fewer days, for example approximately 8.4 hours per day for nine days with a day off each fortnight.

Time off in lieu (TOIL)

The employee may accumulate extra hours to be taken at a later time convenient to the employer and employee. The employee is given the equivalent time off on an hour for hour basis for the additional hours.

Leave without pay

The employee takes a specified period of time off work without pay, returning to their position (or a similar position) at the end of the leave period. Leave without pay must be negotiated with the employer, who can approve at their discretion.

Flexible hours

The employee varies their start and finish times (to meet personal or family commitments for example) provided they work the required hours. Flexible hours are adapted to suit business and employee needs.

Staggered return to work

The employee increases their working hours incrementally over time after an extended break from work e.g. after birth of a child, illness or injury.

Annualised hours

The employee works an agreed number of hours over a full year. Weekly hours are then arranged to suit business and employee needs.

Career / study / community participation leave

The employer and employee agree on an extended period of leave to enable the employee to up-skill, study or contribute to the community through volunteering.


The employer and employee agree on a period of unpaid leave during school holidays to enable the employee to spend time with school-aged children during their break.

Parental leave beyond minimum standards

The employer provides a set period of leave in addition to the legislated minimum for parents.

Work re-design

The employee's duties are reviewed and revised to assist the employee to cope with changes in their personal life - additional caring responsibilities for example.

Leave incentives

The employer offers additional leave days or weeks if the employee is prepared to take time off during a slow time for the business. Leave incentives are a smart way of managing leave to benefit both the employer and employee. The employer has certainty regarding staff availability while the employee gets the benefit of a longer break.


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Last Modified Date: 31/MAR/2011