The Best Thing About Flexible Work Options Is There Is Something For Everyone, Even The Workaholic

June 28, 2016 in Jobs-Shared

When you think about flexible work options I want you to stop thinking about parents, or more specifically, mums! It’s not even about work-life balance, it’s just about getting shit done.

By Simone McLaughlin 1/07/16

Everyone has stuff they need to do and having the flexibility to do that, without eating into an already jam-packed weekend makes people really really happy. And do you know what happy workers do? They stay, and they work hard. And that makes companies money, and money makes company directors happy.

People who work flexible hours look like this

People who work flexible hours look like this

What is your reason to flex?

The first thing to do is think about why you need flexible work and how much you need. Needing to start work an hour later one morning to give you the opportunity to run some errands is just as valid as having to drop the kids to school. We all need flexibility, so let’s start asking for it, and being honest about why. Here are some options for you.

Flexible hours

This is awesome for workaholics or people who just need a tincy wincy bit of flexibility, because it doesn’t necessarily mean working less, just working differently. Basically, you can set your start and finish times to work around other commitments like avoiding peak-hour traffic, yoga class, breakfast with your partner to name a few. Imagine every Wednesday having a nice breakfast with your partner before starting work!

Depending on your circumstances you’re still working a full-time week, but with flexible start and finish times. Most companies will have a period of time, ‘core period’ that you’re required to be in the office, but your start and finish times are flexible.

Positives: Employers can still have a full-time position filled. Employees can work when it suits them allowing them time to do what they want to do.

Negatives: A common complaint by employees is that people still contact them when they’re not at work. Avoid this by communicating your schedule with stakeholders. And if you can, avoid taking phone calls, and definitely don’t send emails!


Work from home / Work remotely

Working remotely is a great way to offer flexibility, but you’ll need the technology in place to allow this to happen. For instance, in most cases you’ll need Internet access, to be able to access the work server and emails. This arrangement allows you to work around your own schedule and complete work in your own time. It also, if you’re so inclined, allows you to work in your pyjamas! WIN! Working from home arrangements are usually a mix between working in the office some days and home the other days.


working from home has it’s perks

Many large organisations like this option as it allows the role to be filled full time. A common fear by employers is that their staff won’t actually do work if they’re home. But let’s be honest, if an employer isn’t going to work when working from home they’re probably not your hardest worker in the office either. So for any managers out there – trust your staff!

Positives: No peak-hour commuting and no peak-hour commuting (it’s so good it’s worth mentioning twice!), and fewer interruptions from chatty co-workers.

Negatives: You need to be disciplined as working from home or remotely can come with a lot of distractions. Again communicate your schedule so people know when you’re working and when you’re not.

Compressed Working Week

A compressed working week allows you to work full-time hours over fewer days. For example, you may wish to work 3 x 12 hour days. This is great if you’re only working 8 hours days to begin with, not so great if you’re working long days.

Positives: You can stay in your career and still have flexibility. Someone is filling the role when you’re not there, so you’re less likely to need to work on your days off and your employer gets full-time coverage.

Negatives: Can take a while to find the right match, so start looking really early. Employers like the role to function as though it’s one person doing the job, which takes a lot of effort by the job sharers.

Reduced Working Weeks

A reduced working week is similar to flexible hours. Some arrangements are working 30 hours a week instead of 40, and some people work a 9-day fortnight. There are many options to choose from. Studies have actually shown that moving to a 30-hour working week could improve our wellbeing, our family life, friendships, and communities. The issue here is there’s an assumption that most people are working 40 hours, which we know is not the case. At any rate, reduced working hours definitely has its benefits.

Positives: More engaged and productive staff. More ‘me’ time.

Negatives: As with flexible hours, you need to be disciplined and not fall into the trap of working when you’re not supposed to be. Or feeling the need to overcompensate for not working a full week.

Job Sharing / Job Splitting

All job sharers must use this chair

All job sharers must use this chair

This is a win-win for the employer and employee. Lots of companies such as Coles, CBA, PwC and ANZ already have successful job share teams working for them. Up until recently, however, it’s been difficult to find someone to share a job with. But now with sites like you can meet someone online, a bit like online dating crossed with LinkedIn. Job sharing is when two people share the one full-time job, each person works part-time, which fills the role full time. This opens up your job options immensely as you’ll be able to apply for full-time roles as a team.

Positives: Allows more days off to attend to personal commitments.

Negatives: If you’re already working more than 40 plus hours a week, compressing these hours could create more stress than it’s worth, as well as there’s a lot of time away from the office.

Part-time work

Part-time is kind of the go-to flexible work option. Part-time work is permanent employment in a regular pattern for less than full-time hours each week. There are different ways you can work part-time, for example, you can work 5 days a week but reduced hours each day, or the most common way is to work fewer days per week.

Positives: Permanent flexible hours

Negative: A lot of part-time workers actually want to work more. Again, a lot of people end up working extra hours outside of work to compensate for not being there.


What about the money?

If you’re going to work fewer hours, you’re going to earn less money, and I’ll show you below how to calculate a pro-rata pay. But as you can see from the options above, flexible work doesn’t always mean working less, just smarter. There’s also some pretty super budgeting resources out there to help you if you do need to cut back in hours.

Working out your take home pay.

Working out your take home pay.

Calculating pro rata pay.

  1. Divide the annual salary by 52 to calculate the weekly pay.
  2. Divide the weekly wage by 40 to calculate the hourly wage.
  3. Multiply the hourly wage by the number of weekly hours worked.

For example, if you work 3 days per week and the annual salary is $78,000

  1. $78,000 / 52 = $1,500
  2. $1,500 / 40 = $37.50
  3. $37.50 x 24 = $900

Just remember there’s tax, super, Medicare levy and HELP debt to name a few that will affect the final amount. But this gives you a rough guide.

So if you’re a workaholic, a new parent, an entrepreneur, an athlete, a student, nearing retirement, a person that breathes, there is a flexible work option for you. You’ve just got to work out which one works best for you and your employer. Next month I’ll cover the best way to approach your employer to get your flex work option over the line. Until then, think about how you can get a bit more flexibility into your working week. Even if it’s starting an hour later one day a week. Try it, I bet you’ll never look back.