The real truth about flexibility

How to make flexibility work for you

Last week, I set out to find an alternative voice to help showcase flexibility at our next Accelerator event. I believe flexibility should be for everybody. Not just a right reserved for return to work mothers.

It sounds a whole lot easier than it was. I struggled. And then it dawned on me.

For years, we have been programmed to think

Ambition does not equal flexibility.

It’s time for a mindset shift. Flexibility is future of work. In its purest form, it is redesigning the way we work. It looks at where, when and how we work to get the best outcomes for businesses, individuals and society.

But how can you make flexibility work for you? Here are my five truths for making flexibility work for you.

Get over the guilt

We have all done it, sneaking out of the office like a ninja, afraid people are going to judge us for leaving early. To change the culture of flexibility we have to get over the guilt. Mirvac CEO Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz makes it a point to leave the office loudly every day. Her thought process, if she can do it, then her team will feel comfortable to do it too.

Change the focus from time to outcomes 

I am a Gen Xer. The forgotten generation, starting our careers under the management of the Baby Boomers. I remember in my early career, managers standing by the door, as the clock hit 8.00am ready to blast anyone who was coming in late.  It didn’t matter if you were there till 7.00pm at night shortlisting for a client. It was a focus on face time, not outcomes.

Clear communication

This is a big one for just about anything; Career, business, marriage, parenthood relationships. Have you ever been caught out thinking you were working towards the same thing but only to realise you had different ideas of what it was? Make sure you have clarity on expectations and keep the communication channels open.

Don’t expect a cookie cut formula

What works for one person may not necessarily work for another. Flexibility is about redesigning how we work to achieve the best outcomes while honouring our lives.


I’ve heard managers say, but how can I trust them? My question, why are they working for you in the first place if you don’t trust them? But trust goes both ways. The focus on flexibility is to design work to get the best outcomes. If you consistently cannot deliver expected outcomes, then maybe you need to rethink how you approach your work.

We are on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution. The way we work, our education system all has its roots entrenched from the first industrial revolution. Put simply; we have evolved from the mechanical machine-age era. The old rules no longer apply.

It’s time to create a new set of rules. A new normal in the way we work.