We know that a truly flexible approach to workplace flexibility means that flexible working can come in many shapes and sizes. For Matt, a Dispute Resolution Specialist at AGL, flexible working has provided him the opportunity to support his personal passion – animals.
Matt recently negotiated compressed working hours with his leadership team so that he could volunteer with in the Lort Smith Adoption Centre in North Melbourne, an organisation that provides world-class animal healthcare.
Since joining AGL in 2017, there have been plenty of instances where my life outside of work has been able to run seamlessly thanks to our flexible work conditions.
“For me, this means I can work compressed working hours (nine-day fortnights), which provides me with the opportunity to give back to the community and invest in my true passion – which is animals!”
I applied for the volunteering program at Lort Smith after moving to North Melbourne in 2019. Now, every fortnight, I join the other volunteers for around four hours, helping the hospital staff to care for the animals and maintain their daily routines.
Often we take the dogs for walks around the area, providing them with necessary exercise and enrichment as they prepare for their ‘fur-ever’ home. Other tasks include feeding the animals and helping to clean their yards and bowls. By looking after these activities, we support the full-time employees at Lort Smith and allow them to focus on the more serious tasks – such as adoption enquiries and the treatment of injured or sick animals.
When things are quiet, there are plenty of cuddles to be had back at the kennel. There is also the opportunity to visit the Adoption Centre and play with the kittens as they look to find new families.
This volunteering experience has been a real comfort for me since losing my own cat (Atticus), and I have no doubt that when I am ready to adopt another cat it will be from Lort Smith. The hospital has a great reputation of never giving up on animals they believe can be rehomed – recently, a dog named Miller was adopted after spending nearly 500 days at the shelter!
The other volunteers are amazing people from all walks of life. They are highly dedicated and passionate individuals, and anyone can see that we form an integral part of the culture and operations of the hospital.
Not only has this journey been an opportunity to invest in the community, but it has also been an invaluable chance to learn and grow personally. I’ve noticed plenty of benefits to my mental and physical health that come with my volunteer work, and the ability to work flexibly at AGL has been an enormous aid in achieving this.
I’d encourage anyone with a few spare hours a week, a love of animals, and a desire to support your local community, to offer your time or support to this great cause.