(Originally posted in 2016)

Just how flexible is your flexible work?

I did some research into ‘flexible working’, and discovered this PwC article, which in many ways sums up my understanding and experience. Flexible work means many things to many people, but generally, the business world is changing. More employees, small business owners and entrepreneurs are trying to achieve work/life balance.

I have to agree that this statement in the article rings very true for me (not just Millennials!)

“For their part, Millennials do not believe that productivity should be measured by the number of hours worked at the office, but by the output of the work performed. They view work as a ‘thing and not a place’. “


Flexible: able to be easily modified to respond to altered circumstances |(of a person) ready and able to change so as to adapt to different circumstances |capable of bending easily without breaking |

Some synonyms: adaptable, adjustable, open, open to change, changeable, variable, fluid, versatile, accommodating, amenable, biddable, willing to compromise, cooperative ..

Why does ‘flexible working’ still cause raised eyebrows or rolling eyes?

If you read the definitions above, can you see any negative words?
Historically, part-time work and ‘flexi-time’ were looked upon differently in the employment world, and were not for those who wanted a ‘serious career’.

Whilst there is still a trace of this attitude remaining, it is becoming clear that business is changing. Governments and private enterprises are realising that Millennials/Gen Y employees in particular are driving a new way of working. A PwC study and report from 2013 stated “work/life balance is one of the most significant drivers of employee retention”. However, the attitude towards flexible work is not only changing amongst the Millennials generation. The report also tells us the following.

“Millennials want more flexibility, the opportunity to shift hours—to start their work days later, for example, or put in time at night, if necessary. But so do non-Millennials, in equal numbers. In fact, a significant number of employees from all generations feel so strongly about wanting a flexible work schedule that they would be willing to give up pay and delay promotions in order to get it. The similarities in attitudes across generations are striking. ”

Many people already have flexibility. I worked from home for almost 10 years before opening the business centre. But I reached a point where I needed social interaction, networking, and feel of a bigger entity. When I came up with the concept of a flexible workcentre, I started my research and was amazed to discover just how many small businesses were within my suburb that I’d never even heard of! They were probably marketing like crazy, but not out in the community. Mostly holed up at home, like me, waiting for the work to flood in from whatever their particular marketing strategy was…

I asked around, and started to get an idea of what type of flexible workspace local business people were looking for. There were still many happy to stay at home and some working from coworking spaces in the city. But there were many more in a similar position to me. Wanting to have the ‘lifestyle’ that comes from being in a suburb, and to feel part of an authentic ‘community’.

The centre was open from 2015 to 2020. Covid changed the whole world in terms of working from home, and I hope I played my part in making it feel possible.

Now (2023)

I’ve now been working flexibly for almost 18 years. There have been many variations of how I’ve done this, and some were not ideal. I’m still learning, but my life is much more balanced. I feel fulfilled in my work, and fully immersed in my home life. I continue to help others who want this way of life. My biggest learning along the way is that everyone has their own version of flexible work.

Updated 01/05/23: I originally wrote this piece on LinkedIn when the workspaces were still open: LinkedIn – Celia Newlands – Flexible Work