Working Flexibility

At Russell Kennedy, we recognise that our people are engaged when they’re doing work that they love and have work-life balance. We appreciate that people’s lives are busy and personal or family commitments can make the traditional 8-5 workday difficult to manage. To support our employees, we take an ‘all roles are flexible’ approach wherever possible.
Kylie Walsh   

Kylie Walsh

Principal - State Government 

“I work flexibly so that I can try and have the best of both worlds by balancing my career and spending time with my family."

Which team do you work in and what is your work schedule?

I am a Principal in the State Government Litigation team. I work 4 days a week with Wednesday’s as my regular day off.

Why do you work flexibly?

While I work part time and I don’t have a formal flexible arrangement with RK, I do try to leave earlier on some days so that I can spend some time with my kids on an evening and then I will catch up with work once they go to bed. I have two children – Chloe aged 5 and Jack who is nearly 2.
I work flexibly so that I can try and have the best of both worlds by balancing my career and spending time with my family.

What are the personal benefits of flexible work?

The benefits are that I get to spend more time with Chloe and Jack and it allows me to fit in some exercise. I also love it when I can pick them up from childcare.

How do you think the firm benefits from flexible work?

The firm benefits from flexible work in a variety of ways such as improved staff retention rates and overall wellbeing of staff. I have only worked at RK for a few months but I can see the benefits of flexible working practices reflected in the firm’s culture.

What are the challenges of working flexibly and how do you overcome them?

To be completely honest, the nature of litigation work makes it challenging to work flexibly. I have chosen to be flexible with my day off so that I can meet deadlines and attend Court when required but I have only been able to do that because I have the support of my mum who can look after the kids if I have to work on a Wednesday. I would like to work one day from home but that is pretty much impossible when Jack is home with me. Jack is still very young and it is something that I will look at doing in the future and I know that I will have the firm’s support.

What would you recommend to others about flexible work?

Even though I work part time and flexibly (on an informal basis), I sometimes find myself thinking that I should be in the office. We need to overcome that sort of thinking because there is really no need to be in the office all the time when you are contactable by phone and email. You just need to be organised so that you have all the files and things you need for working from home. I encourage everyone to embrace working flexibly, whether it is for a better family life or to pursue other interests outside of work.

Sarah Heald 

Sarah Heald

Legal Secretary - Dispute Resolution

“It is wonderful working for a firm that acknowledges that their employees have lives and families outside of the work environment and how important that is.”

Which team do you work in and what is your work schedule?

I work as a Legal Secretary in the Dispute Resolution team. I work part time, Monday, Tuesday and Friday each week, sharing the other days with another Legal Secretary who works Wednesday and Thursday.

Why do you work flexibly?

I work flexibly as I have two young daughters, Ella, aged 6 and Olivia, who is 11 months. Having the extra two days off during the week means I can spend more quality time with my girls while they are young. This work arrangement gives me the chance to be more organised with home tasks during the week which then frees up more time on the weekend to spend with my family. It also allows me to attend more school activities.

What are the personal benefits of flexible work?

The main personal benefit of flexible work for me is that it gives me a nice balance of work life and family life making being a working mum less stressful.

How do you think the firm benefits from flexible work?

I think the firm benefits from flexible work as it increases employees motivation and enthusiasm, making them more productive and happier in their role.

What are the challenges of working flexibly and how do you overcome them?

The only challenge of working part time for me is, a lot can happen in two days when working in a busy department so it can take a bit of time to understand what has been happening on matters during my days off. I find catching up on handover emails the night before I return to the office helps with prioritising my work.

What would you recommend to others about flexible work?

I think we are very lucky to work at a firm that supports flexible work for employees. It can be hard at times to juggle both work and home life. It has made returning back to work after parental leave with both my children enjoyable and less stressful knowing I have two extra days off a week with my girls to be involved in their lives.

Samantha Taylor - RKWN Flexible work   

Samantha Taylor

Principal - Property & Development

"Flexible work is essential in a modern workplace. Technological advancements allow us to think about work in ways that was not contemplated, even until quite recently. I encourage people to think about how they can embrace flexible work to allow them to engage more with work and their personal lives."

Which team do you work in and what is your work schedule?

I work in the Property and Development Team. I work full time, with two of those days from home.

Why do you work flexibly?

I work flexibly to save time on my commute, so that I can spend more quality time with my husband and 3 children. It also means I can take my children to school a couple of times a week and be there for after school activities. 

What are the personal benefits of flexible work?

The personal benefits are enabling me to more easily balance my career with my personal life. As a result, I can have a rewarding career and fulfilling time with my family. 

How do you think the firm benefits from flexible work?

The firm benefits in a number of ways. Flexible work practices enable the firm to have access to a larger pool of candidates for a variety of positions. It creates a culture where staff are personally invested in the firm, because the firm understands the value of balance between work and personal life. I also think the firm benefits from staff retention by allowing staff to balance personal commitments with work, leading to greater employee satisfaction. Staff retention leads to depth of talent within the firm. 

What are the challenges of working flexibly and how do you overcome them?

Some challenges can be created when an unexpected urgent matter arises. This is overcome by good file management, in particular, ensuring that electronic files are well maintained, so that key documents can be accessible from anywhere at any time. I think sometimes we also need to challenge ourselves a little, to question our traditional views about how work can or must be done. This is overcome by embracing a truly inclusive flexible work policy – something RK has done. 

What would you recommend to others about flexible work?

In my view, flexible work is essential in a modern workplace. Technological advancements allow us to think about work in ways that was not contemplated, even until quite recently. I encourage people to think about how they can embrace flexible work to allow them to engage more with work and their personal lives, whatever their motivation may be. 

Rohan Hariss Flexible work 

Rohan Harris

Principal - Corporate and Commercial

"Working flexibly allows me to do my job, and be a father and a husband. It also allows me to keep up interests that I have outside of work."

What is your work schedule and where do you work? 

I work from wherever I am and when I need work – it’s usually in the office, but it can also be at home or when I am travelling to visit clients or for work. I usually work from home on Tuesdays, however this varies with my schedule and can change depending on my client’s needs and where I need to be.

Why do you work flexibly?

I think it’s a necessity, I have to and I want to. Working flexibly allows me to do my job, and be a father and a husband. It also allows me to keep up interests that I have outside of work.

What are the personal benefits of flexible work?

I get to have an interesting and fulfilling career while enjoying other things in my life, for example, family time, kids’ school events, and non-work activities.

How do you think the firm benefits from flexible work?

If people didn’t have the option of working flexibly, I don’t think some of them would be here. It helps facilitate a happier workplace for our people and how they engage with their work.

What are the challenges of working flexibly and how do you overcome them?

You have to be contactable. I do this by using my phone and logging on remotely. My clients have my mobile number so they can contact me when I am not in the office. 

What would you recommend to others about flexible work?

I recommend people be open about it. People shouldn’t be afraid to explore their options.

Emma-Clark-Flexible-work 

Emma Clark

Senior Associate - Victorian WorkCover

"I want to be part of my young children's lives. Working flexibly allows me to be an involved and active parent while simultaneously allowing me to pursue a legal career."

Which team do you work in and what is your work schedule?

I am a Lawyer in the WorkCover department. I work Monday to Thursday. My work schedule is part time, rather than flexible as such.

Why do you work flexibly?

I have two young children, Lily aged 8 and Jack aged 5. Both of them are at school now and I like to be available to speak to the teachers and keep in touch with the other parents. 

What are the personal benefits of flexible work?

I am able to do the school drop off and pick up one day per week. I am also a parent helper in Jack’s classroom on Fridays. Both Lily and Jack do sports on Friday afternoons straight after school so I am able to take them to their activities.

How do you think the firm benefits from flexible work?

I think the firm benefits by having employees more motivated to work during the time they do have in the office. 

What are the challenges of working flexibly and how do you overcome them?

Being in a department that has strict timelines and is involved in litigation, it puts some extra pressure on meeting deadlines early and being available if necessary. The team, in particular my assistant and mentor, are very supportive and helpful. I have remote access at home and emails on my phone so I can complete work or respond to emails that need action that day.

What would you recommend to others about flexible work?

It is important for me to be able to be involved in my children’s day as well as feeling valued in a work environment. It enables a work life balance. 

 Paul Kitch Flexiwork - 500 x 376 

Paul Kitch

Special Counsel - Victorian WorkCover

"Flexible work allows me to still contribute to our practice group whilst enjoying rural living."

Which team do you work in and what is your work schedule?
I am Special Counsel in the Victorian WorkCover Authority group. I work full-time from home on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday and my working hours are 7am to 5pm.

Why do you work flexibly?

In December 2019, I moved full-time to live on 30 acre property in Sedgwick near Bendigo and it has allowed me to extend my working life.

What are the personal benefits of flexible work?

Flexible work allows me to still contribute to our practice group whilst enjoying rural living.

How do you think the firm benefits from flexible work?
I consider the flexibility makes staff more happier, productive, efficient and effective.

What are the challenges of working flexibly and how do you overcome them?
There are IT issues at times working with remote access, however there I am able to receive assistance as, and when required from our great IT team.

What would you recommend to others about flexible work?

If it suits your lifestyle and family situation it is a great solution to accommodate the needs of all concerned but may not suit everyone, right combination of attendance in office and working from home is an ideal outcome.

 
Michael Rhodes Flexi Work - 500 x 331

Michael Rhodes

Manager - Business Services

"Flexible work has provided me with extra quality time to spend with family on weekends, as well as the ability to spend more time doing activities that one enjoys."

Which team do you work in and what is your work schedule?
I am a manager in the Business Services team and work a 9 day fortnight having every second Monday off.
 
Why do you work flexibly?
After 10 plus great years working at RK and many more years working full time I needed a change to my work environment that would give me a new lease on life and would reinvigorate my passion and motivation for coming into the office every day, whilst providing greater job satisfaction and reducing stress and fatigue. Weekends were also full of chores that needed doing so extra time to free up more quality family time was desirable.

What are the personal benefits of flexible work?
For me the main benefits have been an improvement in overall health and work life balance. It has provided me with extra quality time to spend with family on weekends, as well as the ability to spend more time doing activities that one enjoys, whilst also doing the ones that you have to and at the same time it has provided an added imputes to go into work and enjoy the work I do, it is no longer a drag.

How do you think the firm benefits from flexible work?
It’s a win, win situation for the firm, improved morale and motivation, you are willing to give more with an increased passion and enthusiasm for the job. Improved employee wellbeing helping reduced absenteeism due to stress and fatigue whilst also helping attract and retain talent.

What are the challenges of working flexibly and how do you overcome them?
As a manger it is not always possible to take the day off, there might be an important meeting scheduled, resourcing issues or a deadline that needs to be meet or a pandemic that gets in the way. In these circumstances you need to be flexible, business needs come first so rescheduling your day off, accruing for later use, though this can become problematic, or getting paid are all options. I also ensure that I am contactable if needed.

What would you recommend to others about flexible work?
It’s a no brainer, flexible working arrangements benefit both employees and employers. I would highly recommend any one that is stressed, fatigued, unmotivated, or just unhappy with work or having difficulty coping with a very hectic family life to consider flexible working, speak to their manager or P&C team and work out what is best for both. The last year and a bit has taught every one that flexible working practices are possible, practical and even essential and will more than likely be the new norm in some shape or form for a majority of office workers.