What a time to be alive in 2022, seemingly overnight the job market has flipped in many sectors across the economy and the power balance between organisations and candidates has changed accordingly. This is why now more than ever developing and implementing a cost-effective, yet proven attraction and retention strategy is the best way to set your business up for success moving forward.

Here at wattsnext we are passionate about setting businesses up for sustainable growth and operational outcomes and are excited to be working with innovative clients to be setting up best-practice flexible work arrangements. In a world of many benefits, flexible work arrangements have become commonplace Australia-wide and failing to adjust could be costing you dearly. Our most recent work is focusing on the idea of a Compressed Work Week and setting up effective frameworks to ensure communication with customers is timely, and the disruption to work-flows is minimised.

A compressed workweek can be a very easy and quick win in the world of flexible work arrangements. It allows employees to build their hours of work around what they can commit to. This provides both tangible and intangible benefits for employees, such as:

  • Fulfilling more carer responsibilities (i.e., picking kids up from school);
  • Being able to balance their work/study more effectively (i.e., for employees furthering their education);
  • More time to recover from the stresses of work and life;
  • More time to complete all our weekly chores (i.e., grocery shopping, going to the bank, being at home for that all-important parcel delivery).

In principle, the idea is sound – employees are going to be more engaged if they choose what works for them, leading to higher productivity for the business and generally a happier and healthier team. On top of this – it can be used to demonstrate why top candidates in the market should consider – after all, it’s not always about remuneration. The practicalities of these arrangements can become difficult to manage if not structured and implemented correctly. Throughout our experience, some helpful tips/tricks to ensure business owners can plan workloads accordingly include: 

  • Ensuring office hours are covered adequately, with plans in place in case of higher-than-expected workloads;
  • Setting up effective time-management practices (i.e., calendar invites in advance, including working days/times in email signatures, having days where all team members are on to encourage collaboration/development);
  • Including equitable outcomes for employees (e.g., having rotating Fridays off so each employee has a long weekend on a routine basis); 
  • Allowing employees to opt-in/out of arrangements at pre-planned intervals (e.g., every 3-6 months instead of at any occasion); 
  • Ensuring employees can ‘tune out’ on scheduled days off; and 
  • Regularly review and consult with employees to change what is and isn’t working. 

It’s a complex environment, and not only are these arrangements potentially difficult to manage on a practical basis, but it’s also important to ensure that all legal requirements of Awards/Industrial Instruments and/or the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) are fulfilled.

Author: Andrew Suttor
Andrew is a passionate and experienced HR Generalist who thrives in complex environments and working with senior stakeholders to achieve objectives. With a passion for problem solving, Andrew is the ideal super-star to pick up any problem, identify root causes and implement proactive solutions to achieve sustainable, long-term outcomes that make day-to-day business management easier for our valued clients.