Flexible work, but is it available?

Professor Paula Brough

The concept of flexible working practices may be widely accepted within the workforce, however organisations need to look at whether their employees actually have reasonable access to it.

This is the call from Griffith University’s Professor Paula Brough who was one of the speakers at the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland panel discussion last night, on the benefits of flexible work and mental health support within organisations and how it can be good for business.

The Commission runs an annual Human Rights Month campaign to promote fair and inclusive workplaces and this year’s theme focuses on flexible work practices and mental health in the workplace.

As part of her research in occupational psychological health, Professor Brough , the Leader of the Healthy Workplaces Research Group, Menzies Health Institute Queensland, has been working with employers looking at the formal provisions in place for flexible working.

“There are many formalised policies in place such as parental leave, flexi-time considerations. The issue now is more one of access. Just because an organisation says it can provide these provisions, it doesn’t always follow that an employee can get it. The reasons for this can vary widely and may relate to issues such as staffing, non-supportive supervisors and non-supportive organisational working culture.

“Unfortunately, access issues can lead to many adverse work outcomes in terms of employee health and their commitment to an organisation.”

Panel members will also include Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Kevin Cocks; the CEO of Mental Illness Fellowship Queensland, Tony Stevenson and representatives from partner organisations who are utilising good flexible work practices or mental health strategies to provide some case studies.