Flex – because life brings curve balls


The following article is authored by Tracy Hocking, Digital Content and Social Media Advisor, DCA.

When I joined the DCA team a few years ago I simply viewed the flexible working arrangements available as a pleasant bonus. My kids were older and reasonably independent and there were no other family members who were in need of my special care or attention. Consequently, I wasn’t looking for a job with flexibility. I didn’t think I needed it.
However, the benefits of the working from home a few days a week and being able to take time out in the middle of the day to deal with a personal or domestic matter quickly became apparent.

Simply not needing to do the one hour commute each way every day gave me the precious gift of time, which I sometimes kept for myself and the family, but also chose to give back some days, by starting and finishing work at the times I would normally begin and end travelling to the office.

Stress levels were down and energy up. I believe I became a better parent, partner, friend and
employee as a result.

Yet, the real benefits of flexible working emerged following unexpected results from some medical tests last year. In December 2017 I underwent major brain surgery on a growing tumour. I needed completely rest for several weeks, was unable to drive for months and told to limit personal interactions as this could put an added stress on a brain recovering from the trauma I had undergone during the eight+ hour procedure.

Six weeks post-op I had the all clear to ease my way back into work. Working from home a few hours each day was the recommendation. Could that be arranged? Absolutely!! I was already set up for this. There was no added stress created by the need to implement new systems, strategies or equipment. It was all there and ready to go. Coming back to work in this way was the best rehab I could have asked for, physically, mentally and emotionally. 

I am now having daily radiotherapy and working adjusted hours around treatment sessions. I have been able to start this regime with confidence that as my energy levels wain and capacity to concentrate declines I can adjust my work pattern accordingly, thanks to pre-existing flexible working arrangements and a very supportive employer and colleagues. Not only is this great for me but I sincerely hope that this will result in my absences not creating a significant added burden on the rest of the hardworking team at DCA. 

Approximately 20% of Australians have some form of disability or significant health condition. 2.1 million Australians of working age (15 – 64 years) have a disability (Australian Network on Disability). 

Accurate data on the number of people with disabilities in your employ can be difficult to gather as many have ‘invisible illnesses’ and choose not to share their health status, particularly in the case of mental health problems. But it is recommended that employers work on the assumption that 10% of their staff have some form of disability. For many of these employees standard workplace flex would make life and work a whole lot better. 

So don’t wait for that request for flexible working arrangements on a reasonable adjustments
application. Make flex mainstreaming in your organisation today. Everyone might not need or want it today, but who knows what tomorrow will bring. 

Read more on DCA's Mainstreaming Flex.

@DivCouncilAus @TracyHocking

Flexible work works for people with a disability

The following blog is authored by Jessica May, Flexible Working Ambassador.  She is she CEO and Founder of Enabled Employment.  They have highly skilled people ready to work for you now. Advertise or apply today! To find out more click here.

Flexible work presents an opportunity for people to access paid work and break the cycle of poverty which having a disability can cause.

Flexible work can include job sharing, part time work, flexible hours, home based work, and results only work environments.

Enabled Employment encourages the use of flexible work for people with a disability, for several reasons.

Firstly, it enables people with a disability to maximise their contribution to the workforce. Travelling to and from a workplace can exhaust a person with a disability, and reduce the number of hours they are able to work. Working from home ensures that the exhaustion and difficulty with transport is not impinging on a person’s health, nor their ability to undertake their work.

Working from home is a safe environment for many people with a disability. Where an office may require modification, a person’s home is generally set up already to best enable a person to manage their disability, and a home office ensures occupational health and safety spot checks can be undertaken.