Rewriting the rules with flex for all roles

24 August 2017

The juggle is real: how to restore the balance and manage your career, life, family and other priorities. Sharon Ridgway, Executive General Manager, People & Culture explains the importance of making flexible roles work for all involved.

It’s clear that family life creates a new set of challenges for working parents trying to balance the juggle and manage their career, life, family and other priorities.

But it’s not just families who need more flexibility – it’s those who live with disability, illness or carer responsibilities, those with interests outside of work – be it furthering education or focus on yoga practice, or those who just choose to have a little more time for themselves.

Hard to flex, no obstacle for Origin Flex for All

We have always offered varying degrees of flexibility within certain roles at Origin but it was time for us to make flexibility universal. We took steps to ensure that all roles offer flexibility – including those traditionally viewed as ‘hard to flex’ such as core operational roles or contact centre roles.

As a WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality, we are very proud to have been the first oil and gas company in the world to introduce Flex For All Roles across our entire business.

Embracing the new normal with flexibility

Working flexibly means different things to different people and their circumstances so we had to re-evaluate how work is done.

At Origin, we have embraced flexible work as our new normal and rewritten the rules to offer flexible options across all roles in our business.

Making flexible work, work

There are some simple ground rules to follow to ensure success with flexible work arrangements:

1.    Change the mindset.

The concept of working flexibly needs to be driven by a mindset shift. As a first step we challenged our thinking about traditional roles to focus on output and delivery in order to truly evolve how we work. Constant communication – especially with new team members, good planning and time management are all crucial elements in making flexible work arrangements a success.

2.    Remove the stigma around asking for ‘flexibility’

We all need flexibility at some point in our working lives. It’s not just working parents, carers or students – it’s anyone in the workforce. By making flexibility available to all, the stigma attached to men, for example, working flexibly is no longer relevant.

3.    Engage employees

Be open to ideas about how things can be done better for customers, shareholders and all stakeholders. As part of the introduction of Flex For All Roles, Origin engaged with and trained more than 1,000 managers on ‘Working Flexibly’, we made sure our business leaders talked with their teams about the concept of flexible work and we conducted workshops to identify ‘hard to flex’ roles. All of these were crucial elements to ensuring the rollout was a success.

4.    Remember the value

Flexible working arrangements support diversity in the workforce and a more inclusive culture – both of which contribute to good decision-making, long-term business success and creating a rewarding workplace for all employees.

Diversity and Equality of Opportunity

Flex For All Roles is part of Origin’s broader diversity strategy to engage its people, provide equality of opportunity, build a high performance workforce and attract and retain the best possible talent for the business.

Origin is a recipient of the prestigious citation of Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) by The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).