Yarra Valley Water has been named an Excellence Awardee in the Best Remote Work Strategy category in the prestigious Australian HR Awards 2023. The awards, run by Human Resources Director, recognise the achievements of HR professionals, teams, and employers at a national level.
The Best Remote Work Strategy category acknowledges excellence in virtual and remote work programs and practices. Entries are scored on initiatives across a range of areas including levels of innovation, employee engagement, productivity and results.
People, Performance and Culture General Manager Amy Singe said hybrid working offers benefits for both businesses and staff.
“This way of working benefits everybody. It’s not just for parents who need flexibility to do the school run. It’s also for those training for a marathon, caring for their elderly parents, or perhaps taking an extra-curricular class,” Ms Singe said.
While some roles require permanent attendance at worksites, Yarra Valley Water no longer mandates set days in the office for the majority of its employees.
“This culture of trust enables us to achieve great results such as over 80% employee engagement and we’re bucking the trend of global declines in employee engagement,” she said. “Our customer satisfaction scores have also remained consistently high, with a rating of 87 per cent.”
Human Synergistics, the organisation that delivers the global OCI culture measure, presented Yarra Valley Water with an Award for Cultural Excellence in 2022. It’s only the second time in 40 years it’s been awarded in Australia.
Amy added that Yarra Valley Water’s hybrid working model helps to attract and retain the best people.
“Our approach is based on trust, which allows our people to manage where they do their best work,” she said. “We have a hybrid playbook that outlines our hybrid working guidelines, and we’ve found that this gives our staff a little bit more certainty about how we operate.”
Yarra Valley Water’s hybrid playbook includes information about flexible working options such as condensed working hours, where people work and flexible leave arrangements.
“It’s important for leaders to recognise that each employee is different, and we need to work through how it works for them as an individual. It’s not a one size fits all approach,” she said.
“We also value the importance of connection and collaboration, and so we regularly have ‘moments that matter’. This is when all staff come together onsite in person. Feedback from our staff about these events is overwhelmingly positive,” Ms Singe said.
‘If our people are happy and have a good work life harmony, it will naturally flow into great outcomes for our customers, community and natural environment,’ she said.
Yarra Valley Water is recognised alongside other organisations such as Allianz Australia, Queensland Health and Bafta and Oscar-awarding winning creative studio Framestore Australia.
Rish Khan, Digital Metering Technology Lead, said hybrid working positively impacts productivity and work-life balance.
"I really value the flexibility and choice that hybrid working offers. It allows me to prioritise my personal and professional needs. Whether it's dropping off my son at school, picking up groceries, or attending appointments, I can do this when I need to and work around it.”
"One of the things I really love about our hybrid work strategy is that our leadership team leads by example. Seeing them embrace this approach makes us feel more comfortable and trusted working in this space," she said.
Ms Khan added that remote working helps to reduce the stress of daily commutes by enabling people to commute at less busy times. It allows them to plan their schedule around the need to collaborate in the office, rather than coming in to do work that can be done independently.
"In our team, we have people who live quite far away from the office - on the other side of the city. So, taking away the stress of spending hours traveling each day is a huge benefit,” she said.
Ms Khan said the key is finding the right environment for where staff do their best work.
"It’s important to choose the best environment for different tasks. When I need focus time, I prefer working from home,” she said. “Although I appreciate the flexibility we have, I also love that we have moments when we come together as a team on-site.”
Winners will be announced at a gala dinner in the Fullerton Hotel in Sydney on 1 September 2023.
To find out more, please watch Yarra Valley Water’s hybrid working strategy video.
For more information, please read Yarra Valley Water’s Hybrid Playbook.