There’s no cookie-cutter approach to flexibility. It means different things to different people, and comes in various forms.

Flexibility of role 

  • Adaptive skills – a flexible approach to upskilling workers on the job, to acknowledge the rise of robots and artificial intelligence (external link)  and the impact on traditional roles.
  • Casual work – a work arrangement with no regular or systematic hours of work, or an expectation of continuing work. A casual employee is employed on a daily basis when the need arises.
  • Job share – an arrangement where two or more employees share the responsibilities of a single role. Compensation and benefits are received on a pro-rata basis.
  • Part time – Statistics NZ (external link)  defines part-time work as anything less than 30 hours per week, where these hours tend to be on set days as part of a fixed employee agreement.
  • Transition work plan – where employees gradually return to the full-time state of their role through a phased approach, for example working part time for a period before returning to full time. 


"Flexible working made a big difference in my life. As a first-time mum looking to return to the office, the idea of returning five days a week was quite a daunting thing. So I took the opportunity to talk to my people leader about alternative options. As a result of this conversation, I started work at three days per week on a transition plan to four days per week. This has had a huge impact on my family and I."

Rachel Jorgensen, HR Manager, Spark

Flexibility of place

  • Activity-based work – where employees have a broad workspace and choice of settings for a variety of workplace activities, as opposed to a specific set or assigned work station.
  • Hot desking – an office organisation system that involves multiple workers using a single physical work station during different time periods.
  • Working from alternative office or location – where employees work remotely from alternative office locations or satellite work centers, or other agreed destinations.
  • Working from home – where employees work remotely from their own home or chosen work location, rather than in the office. 


"I enjoy the flexibility of working in an activity based environment—to get creative in open shared spaces and connect with colleagues digitally when needed, and tothenretreat to focus rooms for more sustained, quiet time as required. I also enjoy the ability to move around, I think that’s important."

Joyce Chan, Portfolio Manager, Fonterra Ventures


Flexibility of schedule

  • Compressed work weeks - where employees work full time hours in less than the traditional 5-day workweek, by increasing the total daily hours worked.
  • Flexible work hours – a schedule of work hours outside of the set traditional parameters of Monday to Friday 9-5.
  • Part-year work – where employees only work a certain number of months per year.
  • Shift self-selection - where employees assist with the development of shift work schedules and choose their own shifts. 
  • Staggered start and finish times – where employees stagger start and finish times to outside of traditional hours.
  • Time in lieu – also known as time banking, refers to any extra hours worked being recorded and then compensated for by paid time off.
  • 9-day fortnight – a form of compressed working which allows employees to work the equivalent of their two weeks contracted hours over 9 days, enabling them to take the 10th day off.


"I used to travel up to four hours a day to get to and from work, until I made an arrangement with my manager to have flexible start and finish times. With this flexibility of schedule, I have now cut my commute to 45 minutes each way, which has had a positive impact on my personal wellbeing, as well as my family."

- Tris Alcanites, Senior Insights Analyst, BNZ

Flexibility of leave

  • Bereavement leave – paid leave which is available to an employee at the time of death or funeral of a member of the employee's immediate family. 
  • Cultural and community commitments – where employees are supported to meet cultural and community commitments.
  • Domestic leave – where leave is provided when a dependent family or household member is ill and requires the employee to take care of them.
  • Enhanced parental leave – where employees are supported over and above the New Zealand Government funded parental leave entitlement (external link) .
  • Enhanced sick leave – where employees are supported over and above the standard sick leave entitlements (external link) .
  • Jury service leave – supporting employees to attend jury service leave (external link)  (23KB PDF), and in some cases, topping up pay during this period.
  • Public holiday transfer leave – where an employer and employee agree that an entire public holiday will be observed on another day for the employee.
  • Purchased or salary sacrifice leave – an opportunity for employees to purchase additional leave and/or sacrifice part of their salary in return for extra annual leave.
  • Study and examination leave - a paid leave arrangement for employees who need to take time off to study for and/or take an examination.
  • Unpaid leave - a period of unpaid time away from work for holiday, illness, or another special reason, as requested by the employee.
  • Volunteer day leave – where leave is granted to work as a volunteer for a charitable or community organisation. This can be paid, or unpaid leave.


"Purchased leave is a great aspect of our flexible working policy that allows us to purchase up to an additional 30 days leave in a year. When I got the opportunity to attend a friend’s wedding in Vietnam, being able to purchase two weeks additional leave meant that I could have a great holiday, without taking unpaid leave, and still save my holiday leave for our traditional Christmas shut-down period. And because the cost is deducted equally each monthly out of your salary over a year, you don’t ‘feel the loss’ so much."

Justine Todd, Citizenship Manager, KPMG