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WFH and other flex work arrangements: what are the options?

While the decision to work for home has been made for us, this unprecedented circumstance offers insights into the possibilities that the future of work has to offer. For a lot of people, working from home right now is their first experience with a flexible work arrangement. But have you considered what other flex work arrangements you could use to make this transition easier and more successful?

Flexible working is about balancing the needs of the individual with the needs of the business in order to create an effective workplace.

For many working parents, additional flex work arrangements while working from home aren’t only convenient; they are a necessity. As schools and child care centres close or move to online learning, navigating caring for or home-schooling children while also staying productive at the home office desk has become increasingly challenging.

Child minding isn’t the only reason to consider additional flex work arrangements while working from home. By flexing our work hours beyond the traditional 9 to 5, we can reduce the strain on servers and the NBN and work the hours we’re most productive, which means we can all get our work done more efficiently.

So on top of working from home, what are the other flexible work arrangements to consider?

1. Flex your daily schedule

What it is: a flexible daily schedule is working non-traditional hours, allowing you to stagger your start and finish times from the usual 9-5. For example, you could start at 7.00 and finish at 4.00, or you could start at 10.00 and finish at 6.00.

Combining a flexible daily schedule with other flex work arrangements can be particularly useful while you’re working from home. For example, you could ask to work a four-day work week and rearrange those hours so that you work 32 hours across five days. In this arrangement, your hours could like look 7.00 to 1.30 or 8.00 to 3.30. If you have a partner, they could care for your children while you work and then they complete their hours, for example 1.30 to 7.00, in the afternoon and evening.

2. Spilt your daily schedule

What it is: A split shift schedule splits a workday between two separate time blocks. While split shifts don’t typically suit office environments, they can be more adaptable while you are working from home.

For example, you could work a 12-hour day with a four-hour break between the two working time blocks. This could mean your day looks like work from 7.00 to 11.00, break from 11.00 to 3.00, and then work from 3.00 to 7.00.

If you’re a single parent, splitting your work into two shifts might be useful for allowing extra time to prepare meals, get housework done, and spend longer, less uninterrupted time with your children.

3. Compress your work week

What it is: A compressed work week allows you to work additional daily hours to provide for a shorter working week or fortnight.

For example, in a compressed work week, you could work 10 hour days over a four day work week.

Compressed hours might be a suitable option if your role doesn’t allow you to work with interruptions or has a high workload, but you still need a day off for yourself, your families or other commitments.

4. Move to part-time

What it is: Part-time work is where fewer hours are worked than a full-time job – usually less than 30 hours a week. Like full-time work, part-time work is a permanent position and entitled to employee benefits like annual leave and sick leave.

As businesses and organisations continue to feel the effects of self-isolation measures, it might be that you have no choice but to work part-time. For example, organisations like the South Australian Cricket Association recently announced workforce changes that see the hours of remaining staff reduced by 20 per cent.

Part-time hours may help you to better balance work and life (i.e. child minding). You could also utilise other flex work arrangements like changing start and finish times or working split shifts to accommodate at-home responsibilities.

5. Job Share

What it is: Job sharing is where two employees share one full-time position by each working on a part-time basis.

Job sharing is an option to consider if you need to reduce your hours but your role isn’t adaptable to part-time hours.

Amongst the changes caused by Coronavirus, some roles might become redundant, and a job sharing opportunity could present itself in your workplace. Don’t be afraid to suggest this as a possible solution to keep two people employed while gaining the flexibility you need.

You don't have to go it alone! Get in touch with a Job Pair Flex Coach to help you negotiate a flex work arrangement that works for everyone. You can also find out more insights and practical tips from people who are making part-time possible from our Real Stories.

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