Stop asking 'why'
Remove the reason requirement from your flexible work application
Personally, I’m not a fan of ‘application’ forms for flexibility and think they should be banished; but I know most businesses have some version of one, so I’ll focus on making them more inclusive for now.
One of the biggest barriers to people requesting flexible work is having to disclose really personal information in the application form (eg mental health concerns or invisible disability). It also suggests there is a judgement being made about which reasons deserve flexibility (usually parenting) and which don’t (typically anything else).
Removing the ‘reason’ question/section makes requesting flexibility accessible to more people for a broader range of reasons, which is obviously far more inclusive!
It’s worth noting that in Australia there are provisions under the National Employment Standards (NES) for specific groups of people where employers are required to respond to requests for flexibility in writing within 28 days.
To accommodate this, consider replacing the ‘reason’ question with a tick box reading ‘Does this request fall under the NES eligibility criteria?’. That way the employee doesn’t have to disclose any detailed reasons, but the employer will still be advised that they need to follow a certain process.
If you'd like to learn more about enabling flexible working in your organisation, please book a complimentary 30 minute call with Tanya (our Director) to discuss how to overcome your current barriers to flexibility.