While flexible work options had been available at ARTC for years, they were not taken up as widely as hoped, particularly among frontline teams. A leader-led approach was adopted to encourage greater use of flexible work through real-life story telling. The initiative focused on three key messages that encouraged people to:

  • speak to their leader about flexible work options
  • recognise flexibility could work for all roles
  • support a culture of belonging by ensuring people can thrive and bring their whole selves to work

The campaign was supported by a review of flexible working policies. Dedicated information sessions, Q&As, a leader’s guide, guiding principles and scenarios and case studies were provided to leaders to make sure they had all the information they needed to support conversations with team members. A business-wide communications campaign was then implemented to normalise flexible working across the organisation.

Employees were encouraged to speak with their leaders about what was possible, while processes to manage flexible working requests were streamlined to make it easier for people seeking new arrangements. Case studies featuring scenarios such as males with caring responsibilities, females completing further study, operational staff easing into retirement or the CEO leaving early to do school pick ups were featured throughout the campaign.

The outcomes

In support of the campaign, the CEO has developed flexible work arrangements with each of the executive team members. Leaders throughout the business were empowered to make decisions within their own teams, reducing the workload involved in traditional approvals processes.

As a result, flexible working arrangements have increased, particularly for frontline and network control workers. A recent employee engagement survey confirmed 69 per cent of employees believe the ARTC has good benefits and is a great place to work.

Tips for success

  • Embed targets and measure your progress as part of business unit scorecards
  • Promote flexible working for all roles

Personal profile – Jane Lavender-Baker

“Being able to work flexibly has made a big difference for me. When I started working flex it felt like it was accepted because I had kids. Today it’s accepted for any reason that’s important to you, which is a big shift I’ve noticed and a societal one too.

“I work both structured and unstructured flex. I have a structured working from home day each Monday, which started when my kids, Lucy and William, were little. I used to get pretty anxious and uptight every Sunday anticipating what I needed to do on Monday morning – getting the kids up and dressed, packing lunches, childcare and school drop-offs – but when I switched to WFH it took that anxiety away and I could enjoy Sundays again. I also try not to schedule meetings before 9am SA time. and I start and finish early on Fridays so I can take Lucy to Cheer. These flex ways of working are fixed in my calendar, and it doesn’t mean I won’t join a meeting at those times, but I try to work around it.

“I also work unstructured flex - those days when you want to drop into school sports day, or you've got a tradesperson coming or your child has a medical appointment. I used to wedge all that personal stuff into my weekends but now I'm better at going no. it's okay to take time out of your workday for healthcare or selfcare. It might mean I'll work at night to compensate, but that's okay because I'm still delivering outcomes and I see my leader and my peers doing it too. Sometimes work gets the best of me and sometimes my family does - that's balance for me."

“I’ve had team members who’ve needed to be encouraged to feel like they have permission to work flexibly. It’s great that flex is for everybody now – not just for a particular gender or for people with what were considered ‘legitimate reasons’ in the past. Flexible working is good for business, and it improves employee engagement. People who feel like they have permission to shape their work will get better outcomes, and we’ll have an even stronger culture.”