A couple of months ago my daughter was struck by a serious illness and was rushed to hospital. Thankfully, with excellent medical care, she has now made a full recovery after a month in and out of hospital. Given her condition, she needed a parent to stay in hospital with her. As my wife was more easily able to rearrange her current part-time job, she volunteered for that role. That left me with the help of a range of friends and grandma to look after our other three primary-school aged boys.
Flexibility has always been a particular passion of mine as I’ve been lucky enough to grow up as an employee with technology that previous generations could only dream about.
So, in that month, I worked at home, from the hospital, on public transport (I found this very productive as you can’t do email or social media or read spreadsheets while driving!), and at one point from a sports ground. I have to confess to burning one dinner (just a little) courtesy of one call running over time, but for the most part, multi-tasking when I wasn’t really concentrating on anything other than work worked very well indeed.
This was great first-hand experience given I currently chair the Telstra Customer Sales & Service Diversity and Inclusion Board. As a group, we talk about, plan and test out what we can be doing as an organisation to encourage further inclusion, diversity and flexibility that supports our entire team.
For the next three months we are testing out something new. For all advertised roles in our sales and service areas, we will be actively encouraging applicants to have a discussion about what flexible options are available for roles. This could be part-time, different working hours, or working from different locations.
Too often, potential applicants are discouraged from applying because the role automatically states that it must be done ‘full-time’ out of a particular location. The key is that we are open to a discussion and aim to deliver practical outcomes for customers, the organisation and potential employees that aren’t just based on 40 hour weeks during traditional hours.
But what happens when we break down those barriers? What happens when we enter a conversation with a more open mind? What richness of talent will suddenly be revealed?
I know that I’m fortunate to work for a company that supports flexible working. We work in an environment where a flexible mindset as well as great technology helps us manage what is required in our ‘complete’ lives.
So we are going to test the waters to see what this new approach reveals. If the results are positive, we will look at how this can become a Telstra-wide approach.
What do you think? Is this something that interests you?