Promoting flexible working

Ahead of its move to an expansive new site, the City of Casey in Victoria is becoming a champion of flexible working.

The City is currently preparing for the construction of Bunjil Place, a regional arts and civic hub, scheduled to open in late 2017.

The design features an 800-seat regional theatre, studio, regional art gallery, community library and meeting rooms and a community plaza; council offices will also be situated in the precinct.

At $125 million, Bunjil Place is one of the largest projects to be undertaken by local government in Australia.

Ahead of the move, Council has launched a pilot site for employees at its Works Centre in Narre Warren, seeking to introduce flexible working practices.

City of Casey Mayor Sam Aziz said the community could expect to see a range of benefits from the organisation’s shift to flexible working.

“The way local government operates is changing. Flexible working positions the City of Casey as an agile organisation that can more effectively respond to changing community expectations and allows us to maintain a strong focus on delivering the services and infrastructure our community wants.

“With a range of projects underway to improve the organisation’s operations, including a Customer Focus Strategy, Community Engagement Strategy and Digital Strategy, flexible working delivers increased productivity and knowledge-sharing leading to the continuous improvement of service and facility delivery.”

City of Casey Chief Executive Officer Mike Tyler said that the organisation serves a community of over 300,000 residents, which will grow to 490,000 residents by 2041.

“As the needs and expectations of the community change, Council must be ready to adapt. Flexible working allows us to better align our work processes and customer needs, to ensure we continue to deliver for our community.
“The flexible approach being tested at the pilot site provides a range of workspaces, including meeting rooms, training rooms and breakout spaces, and they are provided at almost three times the amount seen in traditional offices. Mr Tyler said this allows staff to choose the most appropriate workspace to increase their productivity.
“Improved technology such as smart mobile devices, headsets and a web-based phone system also provide increased opportunities for staff to work more efficiently and collaborate across office locations.

“Many financial and sustainability benefits are already being realised at the pilot site, including a decrease in the costs associated with traditional offices due to a 41 percent reduction in storage and a 24 percent decrease in desk space.

“A decrease in paper and stationery use will also deliver year-on-year reductions.”

Mr Tyler said it is important to adapt flexible working practices ahead of the move to the new council offices next year.

“Feedback from staff will help shape the Bunjil Place work environment. The early adoption of flexible working, will also ensure that when Bunjil Place opens in 2017, staff will be ready to hit the ground running,”