Calls for flexible work arrangements for frontline workers in Australia
This call was made by The Champions of Change Coalition in its report ‘Shifting Expectations: Flexibility for frontline, shift, and site-based roles’.
The recently released report examines work practices in frontline workplace environments such as energy, mining, construction, transport, manufacturing, telecommunications, and logistics.
It is now “incumbent on leaders” to enable “flexible work opportunities, other than remote work, for 70% of the Australian workforce”, the report said. It is estimated that 9 million Australian workers or approximately 70% of the Australian workforce are unable to work remotely due to the frontline nature of their roles.
As such, the coalition of business and community leaders is pushing for more flexible working arrangements for employees with frontline roles in a bid to improve gender equality as well as business outcomes.
Flexible working arrangements have “immediate benefits” for frontline workers, are crucial for advancing gender equality, and should be a long-term strategy for workforce sustainability, the report said.
“Secure flexible work has always been a cornerstone strategy for advancing gender equality; a way to enable more people to participate in work while managing responsibilities and interests outside of paid work,” the report said.
By “challenging traditional ways of working and sharing our experiences in relation to flexibility for frontline and site-based roles across industries we are creating the environment to deliver not only gender diversity, but significant social and mental benefits for employees and communities,” Champions of Change member and Australian and New Zealand president of engineering company Worley, Gillian Cagney, said.
Champions of Change convenor and chair of Manufacturing Australia, James Fazzino, said improving frontline flexibility is “not only about increasing the representation of women in the workforce. To advance gender equality flexible practices need to be designed to be relevant to all genders”, according to SBS News.
The Champions of Change Coalition is a global initiative for achieving gender equality, advancing more and diverse women in leadership, and building respectful and inclusive workplaces.