Flexible Working Day 2018

Today is Flexible Working Day, so we took the opportunity to ask our CEO, Sally Osburn to provide her perspective on flexible working.  As a mum of 4, Sally understands the pressures of balancing work and family life. She tells us about what flexible working means to BlackMilk and her as an individual.

As CEO of BlackMilk, do you believe working flexibility is important for the team and the business and if so why?

In today’s working environment it is imperative to offer work flexibility where and when ever possible and viable for the successful running of the business.

In leading people, I always treat the team both equally and as individuals. Every person is an individual, who comes from different backgrounds, with different values, talents and family settings. It is all of these diverse factors that makes them who they are and it is those unique perspectives that help shape and drive the business. If someone needs to adjust their working times, or work from another location part of the time, it is something I always aim to cater to. It is more effective to manage performance by outcomes rather than the number of hours a person sits on a chair in the office. With the technology we have at our finger tips and being an online business, our teams can work from almost anywhere with the exception of some of our roles involving operational/production processes. I find that if you provide people with flexibility, the empowerment that they feel from being valued and trusted drives their efficiency and desire to go the extra mile for the business.

Stepping into the CEO role at BlackMilk, what challenges did you face in achieving work life balance and what role does flexible working play in managing the demands of work and family life?

Balancing work and home life takes ongoing management and it isn’t easy.

Being CEO at BlackMIlk is an amazing role, however flexibility and the support of my partner is critical. I have four children. Two from a previous marriage, Eve 10 and Liam 8 who are based in Geelong Victoria, one step daughter 2.5 year old based in Melbourne and a 1 year old daughter that travels with my partner between Geelong and Brisbane to spend as much time with me as possible. Having valuable and meaningful time with my children and partner are just as paramount as being available for my team at BlackMilk. Each fortnight, I work 8 days from the Brisbane office and 2 from my home in Victoria. Having this level of understanding and flexibility from the founders/owners of the business has enabled me to do my role and retain meaningful time with my family despite the logistical challenges.

Many traditional larger scale businesses would not have provided this level of flexibility and in doing so, they rule out highly valuable and engaged talent they could have in their business.

How are flexible working arrangements structured at BlackMilk?

Like a number of businesses, we have a flexible working policy in place. All team members are eligible to request flexible working to support their own work life balance and this isn’t restricted to groups that are provided with a right to request flexible working by law.

We offer our team various forms of employment from full time, part time and casual arrangements aimed at balancing the needs of the business and the needs of our individual team members. We have numerous team members that work part time for various reasons including studying, and caring for elderly parents or children. The working hours of our team also varies across the board.

Those in desk based roles have the ability to use or request laptops to work from various locations around the office or from home as the situation requires. As a large portion of our team work in production based roles, it is difficult for them to request working from alternative locations (i.e. it’s not possible to set up sewers to sew from home for example) however altered work hours and part time options are available.