Smart workforce the way forward

Peter Williams, The West Australian, 17.6.16

Employees are capable of doing the same amount of work part-time as they do full-time, company director Diane Smith-Gander says.

Ms Smith-Gander said being more productive and cutting out time wasting made it possible to haw a more flexible workplace.

“If you’ve got a five-day-a week job, that can be done in four days,” she told an AmCham event yesterday.

“If you’re just smarter, more productive and you squeeze out some of the water cooler time, and ‘I don’t look at my email every 15 seconds.”

The Broadspectrum chairman and Wesfarmers director made the comments in the context of women returning to work from maternity leave.

“Part time jobs are not seen as career jobs,” Ms Smith-Gander said. “That’s another thing we’ve got to change.”

She said people had to be more resilient about moving from fulltime to part-time, working under a contract or in an interim role.

“Get off this input thing and get to outcomes that you need out of the job,” Ms Smith-Gander said.

“If you understand the outcomes, you start to understand the real skills that you need.”

She lauded a Telstra program in which the onus was on a manager to prove a job could not be done flexibly.

In another example, she said Wesfarmers chemicals, energy and users unit’s chief financial officer’s role was shared- by three women, one of whom was on maternity leave.

Fly-in, fly-out resources workers were effectively job-sharing under a flexible arrangement, Ms Smith-Gander said.

“If we can wrap our heads around that, we should be able to wrap our heads around flexibility more broadly,” she said.