Working Flexibly Can Draw Resent From Other Workers

working flexibly draws resent

But working flexibly is good for employees and employers right?

A friend sent me a link to a great article from The Guardian the other day, Part-time employees face unconscious bias, and I thought it was worth sharing the key points with our readers.  This article will help prepare you for or corroborate what they already may know about, working part-time or flexibly in Australia today, especially if that flexibility is tied to being a more active parent.

It seems that there is a fair amount of resent for people working flexibly, in fact as stated below, nearly 50% of mothers experience it whilst working flexibly.  According to a National Prevalence Survey commissioned by the Australian Human Rights Commission as part of a national review of working parents in 2014.

“One in two (49%) mothers reported experiencing discrimination in the workplace at some point during pregnancy, parental leave or on return to work. What’s more, it also revealed that over a quarter (27%) of the fathers and partners surveyed reported experiencing discrimination in the workplace related to parental leave and return to work as well.”

While being sad that flexible workers will likely experience this, there were plenty of positives too.

[Prof Robert] Wood [the director of the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Ethical Leadership] says one of the conclusions was that flexible roles, when well implemented, create more productive employees. Secondly, these workers are incredibly loyal, despite getting a bad rap as being poor corporate citizens.  “Flexible workers often put in more time [by giving up their home time],” he says. “They’re not there to turn off the lights but they overcompensate in other ways.”

And more again

While flexible arrangements should be available to all workers, the application needs to be tailored to the individual, according to Wood. One of his recommendations is that “the introduction of any flexible working arrangements be based on a diagnosis of the suitability of the particular arrangements for the work setting, as well as the preferences of the individual workers”.

While it’s not ideal that you can expect to feel some animosity from colleagues whilst working flexibly, don’t give up on your dream to do so, especially if it’s tied to a desire to be a more active parent.  The more people that push to work flexibly, for parenting reasons or otherwise, the less negative attention it will attract. We might even find some of those who once scorned the practice, seeking it out and enjoying it.


NB: You can read the whole Guardian article here.

Leigh Grigaliunas

Leigh is an owner and co-founder of School Hours Pty Ltd.Leigh's passion for helping others coupled with his desire to achieve a balance between raising children and earning a living, lead him to create School Hours Pty Ltd with his wife Yasmin.School Hours will be the place to go for Australian parents wanting to connect with progressive thinking, family friendly employers.

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