Implementing a flexible working environment
In order to improve productivity, save costs and improve working conditions, the Australian Bureau of Statistics is implementing a Flexible Working Environment strategy. The approaches used successfully apply the principles of good work design.
This case study is the result of a collaboration between Safe Work Australia, Comcare, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The challenge – why good work design was needed
In 2013 the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) embarked on the development of a Flexible Working Environment strategy. The drivers for the ABS adopting a Flexible Working Environment strategy were:
- the need for improved productivity (purpose built office design offers collaboration and innovation opportunities)
- budget pressures (significant potential savings on lease costs), and
- improving the flexibility of working conditions for ABS staff particularly supporting diversity and work/life balance.
What the good work design covered
The two main components of flexible working in the ABS are teleworking (working outside the office – predominately from home) and Activity Based Work. The Adelaide Office was chosen to pilot a Flexible Working Environment for the ABS.
How good work design was implemented
Good work design principles were applied over the lifecycle of the project from the conceptual and planning phases through to implementation and post-implementation review and process improvement. The case study document summarises the measures undertaken by the ABS in meeting the objective of healthier and safer work by design and the benefits achieved.
Outcomes and lessons learned
The post-implementation evaluation indicated that staff were generally happy with the process used and the outcomes. Subsequently, the ABS has used the learnings from the Adelaide Office pilot project to inform the design and implementation of Flexible Working Environment in the Brisbane office, and the combined experience will be applied to Flexible Working Environment designs for all other offices.