The Australian branch of financial services company Deloitte has introduced a radical policy that involves dumping the 9-5 work week for good.
Under a new "flex" policy announced in a company-wide email on Wednesday, staff at Deloitte can design their work week by setting their own hours.
In all, there are 12 new "flex rules", which includes employees getting one paid wellbeing day off per year and being able to swap public holidays for cultural or religious days.
More paid-leave options are available for Deloitte workers who "support local communities" by doing things such as donating blood, helping not-for-profit organisations or volunteering in the emergency services.
Mid-level manager Max Dedekind, 29, from Sydney, is already making the most of the policy, by going surfing in his lunch break.
"When you're into a sport like surfing, it's dependent on tides," he told news.com.au.
"You have to line things up a bit more than a sport such as running when you can go at any time. It's great to be able to work flexibly."
Dedekind's typical work day starts at 9am, if it's a surfing day.
Then he clocks out at 11am to head into the surf in Sydney's eastern beaches, at either Bondi or Tamarama.
He jumps back on his computer by 1pm and works into the night until 7 or 8pm.
"It does allow you to break up your day," the audit manager said.
"I struggle to concentrate for nine hours straight and I think we all do.
"It's great for your productivity and great for your mental health."
On days where Dedekind isn't surfing, he makes an effort to come into the office.
"Certainly I feel some benefit to being in the office and connecting with colleagues, I make sure I work that in (to my schedule) too," he said.
He first asked his boss if he could surf during Australia's nationwide lockdown in March 2020.
"Lockdown was the catalyst, at which point you started to be able to ask the questions," Dedekind said.
"It started the conversation. I think it's great, seeing people go back into the office. They've applied the same principles."
Deloitte's chief HR officer, Tina McCreery, said the company's decision to ditch the 9-5 work day was only possible because they trusted their workers.
"Many offices made it mandatory to work 60 per cent in the office (but) we decided not to do that and to trust our employees," she told news.com.au.
"Only a small minority of people do the wrong thing.
"For us it's all about outcomes. If they're delivering what they need to do for their job, then there's no issue."
That said, employees must still keep meticulous records of time sheets, particularly so they can charge clients for hours worked.
McCreery is herself a mum of three, and plans to make the most of the new working arrangements.
When asked if these changes were bad for young workers just starting out in the industry who might lack mentoring or socialising opportunities, McCreery disagreed.
"Part of our culture is connection," she said.
"This (policy) isn't just designed for parents, it's designed for all of our people."
News.com.au also contacted a 23-year-old graduate at Deloitte who said the company put in "a lot of effort" to ensure young workers were meeting colleagues and senior members of the firm.
Deloitte introduced the flexible changes after a global survey found that women were overwhelmingly adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of their work and home life balance.
The Woman @ Work survey interviewed 500 Australian female staffers and found that their workloads increased by 77 per cent because they had to care for children, do housework and also work during the coronavirus pandemic.
While the pandemic fast-tracked Deloitte's flexible working arrangements, many of the "flex" policies were already in place unofficially.
The NZ flex
What's the policy on this side of the Tasman?
"Deloitte NZ already has a flexible working policy in place and we encourage our people to reference this when talking with the business about how they manage their work commitments in a way that best allows them to meet the needs of our clients as well as their own personal needs," a Deloitte NZ spokeswoman told the Herald.
"We also have a number of other policies that support flex, including our Life Style Leave policy that enables people to take up to an additional eight weeks in a year where the financial impact of the leave can be equally apportioned across a 12 month period.
"Our partner leave can be used flexibly across a two-year period, and the ability for our people to swap out public holidays for a day that is more culturally or religiously significant for them has been in place for a number of years.
"Flexibility is certainly important for our people and we have to balance that with the fact we are a learning organisation with a strong apprentice model of junior team members learning from those above them. Collaborating and innovating across our business to solve our clients challenges is also really important and so these factors do influence how we work.
"The announcement by Deloitte Australia is exciting, however, their context has been different to ours in NZ where they have had people working at home or predominantly from home for over a year in some locations. Therefore, we need to keep this in mind when determining what is right in our NZ setting."