17 May 2021

Probing the polls: workplace dress codes and flexible working hours

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Traffic backed up along Adelaide Avenue. Photo: Supplied.

The idea that someone else can tell you what to wear at work has a surprising amount of support in the Canberra community, judging by last week’s poll results.

On the back of a contentious suggestion from the HR team at the Department of Home Affairs, which proposed a ban on staff wearing sleeveless tops when working, we had a vigorous discussion about whether your workplace should be able to control your clothing.

READ MORE Should your workplace have any say in what you wear?

Michael Aicholzer spoke for many when he wrote: “The reason dress codes are required is because common sense isn’t as common as we would assume. And can we please get rid of the noose men are still required to wear to look professional?”

Many of you agreed. We asked Should workplaces be able to tell you what to wear? 1058 readers voted.

Your choices were to vote No, it’s more about exerting control than common sense. This received 27 per cent of the total, or 287 votes.

Alternatively, you could choose to vote Yes, employers have the right to expect properly dressed staff. This option was the clear winner, with 73 per cent of the totals or 771 votes.

This week we’re wondering what you think about staggering traffic hours to ease congestion on some of Canberra’s clogged arterial roads.

Transport Canberra and City Services Minister Chris Steel says traffic volumes in Canberra are currently exceeding pre-pandemic levels because people have not yet returned to public transport, a trend seen in other cities across Australia and the world.

The government says they will be engaging with major Commonwealth public service agencies and businesses based along the light rail route and initiating discussions with other employers about flexible working hours to reduce the load on the roads and transport networks.

These type of proposals aren’t new: Singapore has had similar schemes for many years, and they’ve been implemented or are under consideration in many other cities.

The Liberals don’t agree, though.

READ MORE Staggered hours worth a shot to unlock city’s roads

Transport spokesperson Mark Parton says it is not up to businesses to be changing rosters and the times people come to work, and the public transport system is there to support the city, not the other way around.

Nicky Goose agreed with the proposal.

“Flexible work hours are a fabulous idea, and frankly, in a modern society and economy, why we don’t push them more is beyond me,” she wrote.

Bill Gemmell added: “They could really accelerate light rail construction, funded by proper congestion charging.”

Lucy Jane wrote we should have a “4 day week for everyone, but everyone gets a different day off. [It] will help immensely with traffic congestion and has been trialled elsewhere”.

Daniel disagreed: “Yep, stagger it, ‘Chris, you get in at 10 AM OK? But you have to stay later’ = can’t get kids to sports and can’t find a park. Pure genius.”

Renee Mae commented that it was “ridiculous that it can take up to 3 hours, 2-3 buses and a tram to get from one side of a city to the other in a journey that takes only 30-40 minutes MAX by car!!!”

Our poll question this week is:

Would more flexible working hours sort out our traffic congestion?

View Results

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ChrisinTurner1:16 pm 17 May 21

A study a few years ago determined that the best effect on traffic congestion would be to delay the school day by 30 minutes. This is because children who don’t attend their nearest school contribute enormously to road congestion.

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