The following blog is authored by Hayley Windsor, Flexible Working Ambassador. She is a millennial passionate about everything business, yoga and reflection. You can follow Hayley here.
The first time I heard the string of words; flexible work arrangement was about 5 years ago. As a management consultant for people and organisational change, I was conducting a workforce planning piece for a client in the airline industry. I very quickly became familiar with the breadth, depth and benefits of flexible work arrangements and began pondering where and how they could be better integrated in organisations. I began to consider how they could enhance people's lives and careers.
Somehow, along the way, I became a living example of a flexible work operative.
I’m Hayley Windsor. You can find me at hayleywindsor.com.
I'm an independent business consultant, project manager and boutique yoga retreat host. I possess diverse career experience through which I’m known to bring a fresh perspective, excellent engagement skills and an outcome-driven mindset. I apply myself with a high degree of professionalism, authenticity and energy. But that doesn’t mean I work in a tall building with an access card and a weekly timesheet.
If I think about it, I’ve experienced a wide spectrum of flexible work arrangements.
My first professional role was with a publishing company in Thailand. This job allowed flexibility for continuation of my Bachelor of Journalism studies (via an online university) and eventually expanded to include weekly Thai language classes during work hours. I later worked for a global business reporting agency with Headquarters in Istanbul and up to 15 multi-national, multi-lingual project teams spread across four continents at any one time. My full-time role in a Big Four consulting firm followed this, and then I moved to flexible-full-time employment in a national non-profit where I managed part time and remote team members. More recently, I made the shift from a part-time-flexible role as a senior business analyst for a State health department, to self-employment.
The last three pieces of work I delivered were completed remotely...
... from a cafe in Bali en route to a surf session, from Singapore airport en-route to Abu Dhabi for a friend's wedding and from the ground floor of The Star Casino complex on my way to a Gold Coast Business Breakfast event. One of the deliverables included contributions to a report for Flexible Working Day, which explores the current state and future opportunities of flexible work arrangements in Australia. It’s a topic I encourage individuals and organisations to explore and a future I believe is inevitable.
I’m a proud ambassador of Flexible Work Day and the three key elements for making flexible work arrangements a success: Delegation, Communication and Trust.
A mutual understanding and application of these between employee and employer, plus a focus on outcomes as opposed to inputs (including time), has proven pivotal to the success of my employment experiences. I continue to keep them at the core of my freelance consulting arrangements also. Technology, globalisation and social shifts all point toward a future where we live, travel and work more flexibly and fluidly. For me, working independently enables better integration of a passion for health, fitness, yoga and travel whilst continuing to help organisations improve performance, problem solve or transition more sustainably during times of significant change. For others, it optimises time spent with family or it addresses physical, geographical or personal barriers to working the traditional, location-dependent nine-to-five.
As an organisation or individual, integrating flexible work practices is exciting and challenging at the same time. Unlike traditional ways of working, there are few requisites, references or pre-existing frameworks to follow - but I’m certain of a future working world that embraces flexibility and I intend to stay at its forefront. Like the analogy in the forthcoming Flexible Work Australia Report about the progressive versus reactive taxi industry (Uber vs Taxi); I’d prefer to jump the queue and become a driver of the change and an ambassador for its benefits.
What about you? Uber or Taxi?
Are you metaphorically standing in the rain in a designated line, or are you the individual ahead of the times, hopping into a traceable car one street north?
As an organisation, how long are your employees willing to wait for workforce flexibility when such an offer might be waiting just around the corner?