Home' Air Force News : February 2nd 2012 Contents FLEXIBLE EMPLOYMENT GUIDE
February 2, 2012 4
AIR Force has developed a strong
attendance culture and, understand-
ably, some personnel may be suspi-
cious of any work that might be
performed outside the watchful gaze
of direct supervisors.
Members working from home
have reported that they face numer-
ous negative comments about their
arrangements, from their peers,
supervisors and subordinates, which
suggests that there is much work to
be done in changing perceptions of
This article should assist mem-
bers and supervisors to manage these
negative perceptions, which will
hopefully result in home-based work
being viewed more favourably.
While most members are
extremely grateful for the privilege
of being able to work flexibly and
therefore work additionally hard at
home to prove they are fulfilling
their work requirements, others may
take advantage of the situation. If a
high-trust relationship with a mem-
ber seeking home-based work does
not exist, there are some measures
that need to be taken, to provide
assurances that members are fulfill-
ing their part of the deal.
For members who have 'hands
on' workplace tasks, such as
technical work or customer-based
tasking, supervisors could consid-
er designing jobs that are suitable
for home-based work -- perhaps
projects or administrative aspects
of the work.
Members could be required to
keep a work-from-home diary,
detailing the times that they
worked and the exact tasking they
performed at the time. This is
important for occupational health
and safety (OHS) purposes too.
Members could send an email
when they are logging on and off,
so that times of availability for
tasking via phone and email could
be known by supervisors and col-
Ensuring staff meet the OHS
requirements of the home-
based work in accordance with
A successful recipe
for one of the most
DI(G) PERS 49-4 Flexible work
arrangement for members of
the Australian Defence Force.
DGPERS-AF is working on
improving this aspect of home-
based work by providing greater
guidance and tools for command-
ers and their staff.
Asking staff to copy their supervi-
sor in on any emails sent during
Providing very clear tasking and
finish deadlines for home-based
tasks. This is especially important
if members are performing project
based tasks that fall outside their
normal daily duties.
Offering a trial, with the clear
understanding that a supervisor
can suspend the arrangement at
any time if it is felt that the work
is not being done as required or to
Explaining the arrangements to
the other members of your staff,
to ensure that they understand the
absent member is actually work-
ing while they are home. This
may also remove some of the
resentment from other workers.
Ensuring that the member's
absence does not impact nega-
tively on the workloads of other
members. If it does, arranging
some form of compensation for
members who may be adversely
affected could be an option.
Sending staff the strong message
that the supervisor is supportive
of flexible working arrangements
and explaining the strategic ben-
efits to Air Force.
Working from home is a privi-
lege, not a right. Members who
abuse their supervisor's trust are like-
ly to have a negative impact on flex-
ible arrangements across Air Force.
In entering into a home-based work
arrangement, members have a moral
and ethical obligation to perform the
work that they are being paid to do.
The aim should be to build a rela-
tionship of trust with supervisors, so
that they are more likely to approve
home-based work for the individual
and others in the future.
Here are some helpful tips to
make home-based work more suc-
When applying, clearly outline
the measures you will put into
place to provide guarantees of
your work output (see previ-
ous bullet points for ideas). This
will provide the assurances your
supervisor may need to feel will-
ing to approve the application.
Be clear about your working
hours when you submit your
application. If you are working
from home to attend to carer
responsibilities, make it known
that your hours may be unpre-
dictable, but you will commit to
undertaking the defined hours of
work each week (even if these are
not in one solid chunk of time).
Create a communication strategy
between yourself, your supervisor
and your team members. This is
more pertinent for a member who
is frequently or solely working
from home. Such strategies may
include teleconferencing for team
meetings, tasking via group email
and regular debriefing sessions.
Prove yourself by sticking to the
hours and tasking agreed with
your supervisor; this is important
from an OHS perspective too.
Create a comfortable and func-
tional workspace at home that
accords with standard OHS regu-
lations for Air Force workplaces.
Always ensure you function
safely at home.
Remember that if your supervi-
sor has absolutely no visibility
of your work, they are likely to
develop a perception, however
inaccurate, that you are not doing
any work. This perception can
be countered through the use
of work diaries, emailing your
supervisor about tasks completed
or under way, copying them on
any emails sent during your work
periods or by providing verbal
Openly and honestly discuss
your arrangements with your
co-workers, ascertain any pos-
sible negative impact that your
arrangements may have on them,
and try to mitigate that nega-
tive impact through a process of
negotiation. Outlining ways that
your arrangement benefits them
and explaining what you will be
doing will probably go a long
ways towards helping them to
accept your arrangement.
Do not accept negative com-
ments or inappropriate remarks
about your arrangements. You
need to be the champion of your
own arrangements, to help these
become more culturally accept-
able in Air Force.
Acknowledge that working from
home is not for everyone and rec-
ognise if it is not working for you
that your supervisor will respect
you more if you go to them and
discuss it rather than try to keep
up the façade.
CPL Sarah Booth of 2SQN, RAAF Base Williamtown,
says working flexibly has helped her achieve some
pretty impressive results as an elite sportsperson.
But she couldn't have done it without "amazing
support" from her unit.
"I was recognised in 2010 as an elite athlete in
mountainbiking and, with the support of my chain
of command, was able to compete in the Australian
National Series, Victorian and NSW State series
races last year," she said.
"I was fourth in Australian rankings at the end
of the season and came third overall in the NSW
series, despite missing the last race. I also came
third in the Victorian State Championships."
She said while her unit was flexible, she also
had to be to make the system work for everyone
"I appreciate everything my chain of command
has done for me, so when they ask me to amend
my hours for a particular occasion, I respond as
best as I can," she said.
"I am situationally aware of our work pressures
and staffing levels, so when I ask for time off, I
know we'll have the coverage here at work. These
ensure my best possible chances of getting time
away to compete."
APPRECIATIVE: Above, CPL Sarah Booth
on the job as an aircraft technician, and
far right, competing in the Women's Elite
Downhill race in Canberra.
Photos: CPLs Glen McCarthy and Janine Fabre
Amazing support for Sarah Who are the
people in the
The Deputy Director of Flexible
Employment and Remuneration,
WGCDR Sally Dorsett, coordi-
nates flexible employment in Air
Force from a tactical and opera-
tional level, while the Deputy
Director of Workforce Diversity,
WGCDR Dee Gibbon, is imple-
menting more strategic interven-
tions for flexible employment.
Together, they are aiming to
deliver outcomes that will result
in far greater application of
flexible employment across the
For general information on flex-
ible employment, visit the Air
Force intranet webpage under
DP-AF/Flexible Employment or
contact WGCDR Dorsett on (02)
6266 7716 or sally.dorsett@
defence.gov.au or WGCDR
Gibbon on (02) 6265 2052 or
HOME BASE: Working from
home is a privilege, not a right,
so members need to build a
relationship of trust with their
supervisors to ensure they are
fulfilling their part of the deal.
Photo: LAC Bill Solomou
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