Flexible workplace creates a happy office

When Amber-Liza Guster told friends and colleagues she wanted to work part-time, the response was mixed.

"Some congratulated me on the choice I had made and others felt that my career was going to take a back seat," she said.

"As a family we decided that we needed to spend more time with our older daughter. I had worked full-time for most of her life and felt that I needed to make a step change."

Three years later, the Shell Australia senior commercial manager and mother of two works three days a week - with scope to take on extra work when needed - and would not change a thing.

"I don't feel my career has taken a back seat and I feel this has been due to the company I work for," she said. "In the team I work in we have three mums who work part-time and two dads who have flexible work arrangements.

"Across the industry I see different views and it comes primarily down to a company's beliefs of what value flexible arrangements bring to a business. To make flexible work arrangements successful there needs to be a commitment from the individual and the company."

Shell's human resources manager Helen Reid said about 4 per cent of its employees had a formal part-time position and 93 per cent of those were women. However, she said more than half the workforce took advantage of flexible work arrangements.

"A key concern many employees have in taking up flexible work is the perception it may impact negatively on their career and development," she said.

"Creating a culture where flexible working does not feel like a 'bolt-on' activity but a core element of what it is like to work here is critical to encouraging employees looking for ways to balance work and life to feel comfortable to explore their options."

Kate Emery

In the team I work in we have three mums who work part-time.

The West Australian

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