It is important to engage with senior leaders, managers, diverse employees and unions from the earliest stages of moving to flexible-by-default.
We suggest agencies begin by sharing the Summary of Flexible-by-Default Key Messages (page A) which includes the principles of flexible-by-default and then seek feedback on their draft vision, goals and This will help clarify the parameters and intent of flexible-by-default, promote buy-in and provide an opportunity for all parties to discuss any concerns and challenges they see and opportunities to make this successful.
We also suggest agencies share the findings of their self-assessment and data and information gathered in Stage A (page 6), and any stories on flexible working identified in their focus groups.
Sharing video or written case studies of leaders, managers and employees working flexibly is an effective way to build understanding and address concerns. Agencies should encourage all parties to contribute ideas for addressing challenges and ensure managers, employees and unions feel they can raise concerns and ask questions. Ensure that diverse employees are engaged so that the full range of concerns and questions is considered.
While early engagement is particularly important, so are further opportunities for leaders, managers, employees and unions to discuss challenges and successes. Leaders and managers should encourage positive perceptions of flexible working and discourage negative perceptions or negative outcomes e.g. that those working from home are unproductive or expectations that employees working flexibly are available 24/7. Regular engagement within teams and across the agency will help shift attitudes, build capability and develop a sustainable flexible-by-default culture.