Leading Practices from 2023 Australian Great Place To Work Certified™ Community: Theme 3 – Next-level Flexibility & Benefits

Valentina Lwin Bailey


The concept of a great workplace has undergone a remarkable evolution in recent years. No longer confined to traditional, one-size-fits-all approaches, today’s great workplaces prioritize genuine support and care from management. The key ingredients? Flexibility in the workplace and employee benefits that empower individual choices. Organisations are increasingly recognising the importance of allowing employees to determine what suits them best, fostering a strong value proposition that not only enhances employee wellbeing but also builds a foundation of trust between staff and their employers. 


The Next-Level Workplace Flexibility: 


High-impact adjustments in workplace flexibility at the policy level are at the core of organisations that truly embrace diversity and create a sense of belonging in the workplace. Some progressive examples that have emerged from 2023 Australia’s Great Place To Work-Certified community include: 


  • Team-Led Flexibility: Many organisations are now allowing teams to set their own work-from-office days. This autonomy empowers employees and their supervisors to collaboratively design what’s best for both the team and the business. It’s a win-win situation that promotes ownership and responsibility. 


  • Expanding Flexibility Beyond Office Workers: Flexibility in the workplace is not just for office-based staff. Today, frontline service employees are benefiting from split shifts and condensed work weeks, giving them the freedom to manage personal needs more effectively within their workday. 


  • Flexible Public Holidays: Recognising the importance of personal and cultural beliefs, employers have introduced flexible public holidays. This innovative approach allows employees to swap a fixed number of public holidays throughout the year to address family needs and personal preferences. It’s a great way to honour diversity. 


  • Mandatory Rest and Recharge: Companies are now mandating closure times at specific points in the year, such as at year-end, to facilitate company-wide rest and recharge. This practice eliminates email traffic and need to filter work calls during personal leave time, helping employees to properly switch off and return to work with renewed energy. 


  • Support for Multiple Responsibilities: The evolving workplaces recognise not just the needs of working parents and return-to-work parents with phased transition plans and job (re)design strategies, but also for those with responsibilities for aging parents. Companies are now offering EAP that includes extended family members, Employee Support Groups to share like- experiences and support each other, and promoting guilt-free time off to attend to elderlies’ needs.  
  • Redefining “Family” in Benefits: Employers are broadening their definition of “family” when it comes to health and wellness benefits. This includes parental leave and entitlements for same-sex, adopting, and surrogate parents, with the removal of the “primary parent” title to promote equal parenting opportunities. 


  • Wellness Leave and Meeting-Free Days:  Wellness leave, and designated meeting-free days or times have become common practices. These initiatives provide employees with the space they need to focus on their physical and mental wellbeing, reducing burnout and stress. 


  • Customized Benefits: Many organizations now offer a “Pick & Mix” model of benefits, allowing employees to choose resources and benefits that align with their individual needs. This customization ensures that employees receive the support that matters most to them. 


  • Working from Elsewhere: Some employers are responding to employees’ requests to work from abroad or interstate to be closer to family. This demonstrates a commitment to supporting the unique needs of their workforce, high-trust in the employees to manage their own work-dynamics based on deliverables.  

Employers who embrace these evolving concepts of flexibility, inclusivity, and individual choice are creating environments where employees can tailor their work arrangements to align with their personal lives. This in turn, fosters a culture of trust and support where employees are more motivated, engaged and proud of their company.  


Read more on great flexibility practices from our 2023 Best Workplaces List makers in our Insights Report, Trust Matters – Navigating Uncertainty: The Power of Leadership. The report draws on observations from the Great Place To Work Trust Index Survey responses representing over 110,000 employee voices across different industries in Australia. 


Want to see the other key themes that emerged from our 2023 Certified Community? Visit our other two blogs below: 


Theme 1: Advancing Reconciliation Action for First Nations People   – PUT PREVIEW IMAGE OR BLOG CLICK THROUGH 

Theme 2 – Partnering with Underserved Communities to Address Talent Shortages  PUT PREVIEW IMAGE OR BLOG CLICK THROUGH 

Valentina Lwin Bailey