Flexibility at ANU - fact sheet for staff

6 March 2020

Excellence everywhere is a key message in the ANU Strategic Plan. To support staff to achieve this, we recognise that our staff have passions, priorities and purpose both inside and outside of the University.

We are all part of an inter-connected ANU community, working with our local area teams as well as colleagues across campus and beyond.  None of us works in isolation and, in considering flexibility at the ANU, it is important to look beyond our own needs and preferences and think about flexibility within our teams.  This includes how we engage with our own team, with other teams, as well as supporting our own individual needs.

We want to consider flexibility holistically as part of a conversation about team operational requirements - balancing responsibilities, achievements, personal and professional development and success at work.

Flexibility goes beyond working part-time, changing your start or finish time or accessing leave to support outside commitments. Flexibility can be about: where you work, when you work and how you work. Flexibility at ANU is about fostering and developing the environment in which we can excel, deliver outcomes for teams and our individual role and responsibilities at work and in our broader lives.


How do I know what options are available?

Links to a range of policies and procedures can be accessed here: https://www.anu.edu.au/news/all-news/flexibility-at-anu

Talking to your supervisor or having a discussion about flexibility at a team meeting or team planning day are also good options to understand everyone's needs and preferences and how you can work together and support each other as a team so everyone can do their best work and find the time and space to pursue activities outside of work.

It also means your supervisor can understand the needs of the whole team and think about what may be possible for the team to enable everyone to have the opportunity to access the flexibility options that may be right for them.


How do I access flexible arrangements?

Talking to your supervisor is always a good first step.  Once you are familiar with the options available, you can work together to come up with a plan that balances your needs and responsibilities and those of the broader team in your work area. 

Your PDR conversation could be a good time to raise this topic but you don't have to wait until then.  Your regular meeting with your supervisor is also an appropriate time to raise this this so you can discuss what you are trying to achieve, what may be appropriate and suitable for you, your role and your work area.


How do I know if my role will allow flexibility?

Most roles at the University will allow some degree of flexibility.  While some work areas are required to be responsive to clients during certain hours including during the University's core hours of 8am to 6pm, this does not mean that all staff need to work exactly the same hours.  It is about figuring out what arrangements can be put in place that enable team flexibility but also ensures delivery of responsibilities and required services to and for the University.


I've asked for flexible arrangements previously, but have been told no. What can I do?

Circumstances can change over time for both you, your team and your work area.  Even if you have asked before, it is important to discuss what you are seeking again with your supervisor. Flexibility is about balancing your needs with those of your work area and the broader University.  Your local HR team can guide you and your supervisor through some options.


Are flexible working arrangements permanent?

Flexible work arrangements are agreed for a particular time period and will be discussed between you and your supervisor periodically.  This is to ensure that arrangements are operating as intended, individual and team responsibilities are still being achieved and to enable arrangements to be reviewed and varied as and when circumstances may change. 

If your flexible work arrangements include a change to work hours or your pattern of work, this will need to be documented via the Application to change hours pattern form.


Are these arrangements available to all professional and academic staff?

Flexibility is available to everyone noting arrangements must take into account and balance team and local area needs, operational requirements and individual roles and responsibilities


Is flexibility only available to people with family responsibilities?

Flexibility is available to everyone, not just staff who may have family and/or caring responsibilities.


How can flexibility support my career goals?

The University recognises that you have interests and responsibilities inside and outside of your role at ANU.  Having a career planning conversation with your supervisor, as part of your PDR, is a great opportunity to think creatively about how you might harness flexibility to support your career aspirations. 

For instance, you might consider a secondment to another part of the University or industry partner; working reduced hours to accommodate an interest that will help you develop new skills or pursue additional studies or varying your start or finish time to attend a seminar off-campus in an area of interest.


How can flexibility support me contributing to my community?

We are all part of many different communities and participating and giving back to our communities can be a great way to gain personal fulfilment. 

This may include, but is not limited to, volunteering for and with charities and local community support services, accessing emergency services leave to volunteer with your local SES, RFS or similar organisation or accessing defence force reserves leave to participate in the ADF Reserves.


I have some obligations associated with my religious faith, culture or tradition, are there flexible working options available to me?

The University provides access to cultural leave for staff for the purpose of attending essential religious or cultural obligations associated with a staff member's particular religious faith, culture or tradition.  If you need to access this leave, please speak with your supervisor or your local HR team to understand what options may be available to support you. 


If you would like to share your ideas or suggestions or for more information about flexibility at ANU, please email the Human Resources Division Culture & Development team: hrd.development@anu.edu.au