Flexible working arrangements can mean a number of things. It could mean flexible start and finish times, changes to days and the number of hours worked, it can also mean working from home or at an alternate location. The key word is “flexible”.

Many employers avoid opening up the topic of flexible working arrangements with fear of losing control, a reduction in work performance, or impacts to the overall business culture.

Why do businesses offer flexible working arrangements?

Concerns about the effects that flexible working arrangements may have on a business are genuine, and it’s important to manage these carefully. However, there are many benefits to making these arrangements available to your staff. These can include:

  • An increase in creativity
  • An increase in morale and loyalty to the business
  • Easing of management intervention can lead to more productivty
  • Improved health and well-being of employees
  • An increase in employee retention
  • An increase in efficiency and productivity
  • A wider variety of skills and resources available

When flexible working arrangements are used appropriately with the necessary buy-in from both the employer and employee, it can have huge benefits for both parties.

How to best manage flexible working arrangements?

It is very important to manage flexible working arrangements to ensure that your staff remain engaged, performance targets are being met, and the overall relationship between the business and the employee remain positive.

Prior to considering any flexible working arrangement, it is a good idea to have a meeting with the employee and ask them to put their request in writing. Once they have done this, as an employer, you’ll have 21 days to respond back to them in writing. In your response, outline whether the request has been approved or declined and if declined, outline the reason why. You may also outline the key parameters required before the arrangement can commence.

These may include:

  • Completing a working from home checklist
  • Conducting an ergonomics assessment
  • Reviewing any flexible working arrangement policies and procedures

It is recommended that you meet with the employee and discuss what will be expected of them as part of this arrangement including any performance expectations, attendance expectations, availability, and routine reviews of the arrangement.

Can I decline a request for flexible working arrangements?

You need to be careful when considering declining a request for flexible working arrangements as there are some guidelines under the Fair Work Act that need to be considered. If your employee is a parent, a carer, has a disability, is 55 years or older, or is experiencing family or domestic violence there needs to be reasonable business grounds to decline the request.

If you’re looking for assistance in managing flexible working arrangements, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team, via the chat box here or calling us on 08 6150 0043.

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