Four-stage approach to shifting to flexible-by-default

The following sections set out a coordinated approach to shifting to flexible-by-default made up of four-stages2, including:

  1. Agencies explore their current state
  2. Design
  3. Implement
  4. Monitor and review

Agencies that are already working toward a flexible-by-default approach will not need to take all the actions suggested. In addition, agencies do not need to follow the exact order in which the actions are presented here, and may instead choose to:

  • work on some stages concurrently or in an overlapping manner
  • start by developing a request and response process, health and safety policies, information security and IT systems, especially if quick action is needed
  • scale action to reflect the size and nature of each agency.

In making the shift to flexible-by-default, we recommend agencies engage with employees and unions from the outset. It may also be necessary to examine employment agreements (individual and collective) to identify and address any provisions which may be problematic for enabling various flexible-by-default options and practices.

More people are seeking flexibility at work and so an open approach to flexible working will help to attract and retain the best people

Many employees value flexible work for cultural reasons. Agencies can benefit from the knowledge and skills employees gain outside paid work

Tania Gordon, Kaiwhakahaere - Organisational Development Adviser

As an independent working Māori woman, flexible working allows me the opportunity to seek out space and time to build relationships with others in and/or from Te Ao Māori, who live and breathe tikanga. It is an approach I seek out to implement in my role, to bridge an understanding from a Māori world view.

Cultural capability is activity based and building relationships with people who live within our cultural context is very important to me and helps inform my direction. Being able to network outside of an office environment and hours to attend wānanga events and training, in environments such as on a marae, or participating in kaupapa Māori that embrace the natural worlds of Tangaroa and Tane Mahuta, all help support my wellbeing and inspires my senses, to grow my understanding of how tikanga and matauranga influence my way of incorporating that world view into my mahi.


2Adapted from the Australian Government Workplace Gender Equality Agency guidance: Developing and implementing a flexibility strategy © Commonwealth Government of Australia 2018

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