Flexible working hours
Some people can work at whatever time they like. If they miss some work one day they can do it on another day. This is called flexible working hours. Studies have shown that people who have flexible working hours can be healthier. DiVine talked to people with a disability about their experiences at work.
Posted by: Chris Morris, on 05/08/10
Nicci Wall has great flexibility in her role at Harley Davidson Geelong
Studies have shown that workers who have flexible working hours experience health benefits.
The Cochrane Systematic Review included 10 studies examining over 16,000 people. It found that flexible working conditions had positive impacts on a number of health outcomes. They include:
- Improved blood pressure
- Better sleep
- Improved mental health.
On January 1, the Federal Government introduced “the Right to Request Flexibility”. It is now one of the national employment standards through the Fair Work Act 2009.
Being able to choose when to go to work and when to leave sounds like a great idea. So DiVine spoke to people with a disability who have flexible working hours to get their opinions.
Leigh acquired a disability recently.
I have been on an emotional roller coaster ride, says Leigh.
Some days I battle mild depression or feel panicky. Flexible working hours mean I get some breathing space.
Leigh thinks flexible working hours means less pressure on the worker. This is helpful because having a disability can be stressful even before starting work, he says. Leigh says flexible working hours is
a more human approach.
Flexible working hours have also helped Leigh with the balance between work and other activities.
It is more accommodating whether you have a disability or not, he says.
Some days my work goes really well. Then I work extra hours to make the most of it. But other days he struggles to produce good work, so he simply goes home early.
My employer benefits from flexible working hours, too.
Nick is an older man who works part time. He loves to do things with his grandchildren. Flexible working hours at his workplace mean that if one of them is doing something special, he can join them. Then he goes to work another day to catch up.
it takes me a long time to get ready in the morning, which means I am usually late. But it does not matter because Nick says he can
go into work another day and make up time. Because of the good relationship with his employer, Nick sometimes does extra volunteer work during busy times to help out.
John has a physical disability. He needs to take a taxi into the city where he works. With flexible working hours, he can choose to travel out of peak hours. That way he does not have to wait too long for a taxi or pay to be stuck in traffic.
Whether you have a disability or not, flexible working hours are good, John says. He explains that people with families can especially benefit from flexibility.
If they have a sick child for example, they can stay at home to look after them. At John’s workplace he can work any time between 7am and 7pm.
John can also work some days from home if he wishes. This means he does not have the difficulty and expense of travelling.
I can access all the computers at my office with a special link, he says.
What's more, email and phone are just as available at home as the office.
John also uses teleconferencing. This means that people in different places can talk with one another using a telephone. Other people also come to see John at his home just like they do at his office. His employer is happy with this arrangement as it helps make John more productive.
Tell us your experiences of working conditions in the comments section below.
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