Workers require flexibility

There has been much said and written lately about those wanting to continue working from home and employers wanting their people to start going back to the office. 

Of course, truck drivers and other supply chain workers, plus emergency services including police, paramedics and health services workers, have never left the “office”. They have no option of working from home, or a flexible combination. 

I understand why people do not want to go back to commuting into the office every day; something I had undertaken this year and did not enjoy. So many wasted hours! However, I now commute for even longer three days each week and work on the train trip, but it is still time away from home and exhausting. 

I also understand why employers want their people back in the office, it is vital for innovation, new collaboration, team building and the brainstorming sessions which are better done in person. The option has been floated that those choosing to continue to work from home should be paid less, how about just paying our essential workers more?

As we try to attract more people to our industry and retain the ones we have, we must be as flexible as possible while retaining a workforce that meets the needs of the industry and ensures the amazing innovation and advancements in safety, technology and equipment continues. 

While some work will never be able to be conducted remotely, most will have a degree of flexibility, and this is what will assist us with attracting more people to the transport and logistics industry if we can meet that need. 

If we can eliminate the commute, allow people to manage their workload around a hybrid method and give them more choices, it might solve some of our staffing problems, unfortunately not our driver shortages though. Although better lifestyles are what they are looking for as well.

All the commuting and the long hours involved in my part-time role has brought home to me the real effects of fatigue. 

I find that with all the things happening and trying to get everything done, by the end of the week I am very over tired, and it does affect your thought processes and how effectively you put forward your ideas, when what you are saying and what you mean to say are not quite the same thing. 

So, it must have a detrimental effect on all other processes as well and that is the main reason that I stopped driving to my job and decided to take the train; I could either use the time to work or by Friday, I could relax or take a nap. 

Taking the train was certainly the safest option and it made my family happier as well, plus it is a much better financial choice. 

In my role as chair of Transport Women Australia Limited, I have been to Adelaide recently for the Heavy Vehicle Industry Roundtable which was a very interesting and worthwhile day.

I have also presented at CeMAT in Sydney, and we have two Careers’ Expos in Sydney coming up. 

I will be attending one in August and other members will attend others as they come along. These schools and careers days are such wonderful ways to expose the next generation to our industry. 

We have the Transport Women Unite Red Ball coming up at the Festival of Transport in Alice Springs at the end of August where our Dream Maker Awards will be presented.  

We have announced the date and venue for the Transport Women Australia Limited 2024 Conference, and the dates for the 2023 EOY functions around the country with a few still to be confirmed. 

They will or do appear on our website on the events page. Also, on the events page is noted where we have speaking engagements. The website is transportwomen.com.au or you can email chair@transportwomen.com.au for any queries. 

  • Jacquelene Brotherton is chair of Transport Women Australia

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