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Our New Ways of Working – Water Operations

Water Operations is a vital component of Melbourne Water’s essential work in helping ensure the community has access to world class drinking water.

The team are tasked with many responsibilities including monitoring water treatment and quality, and carrying out inspections of dams and our treatment plants. It’s a 24 hour seven day a week job, often out in the field - and while that isn’t changing - the way the Operations team is managing its work load - is.

For the first time and as part of Our New Ways of Working pledge, (where we are testing and examining new approaches to work arrangements on site and remotely) we are trialling part time operator arrangements for several back fill positions on short term contracts. This is proving to be successful for both Melbourne Water and the employee. 

Team Leader Infrastructure Operations Nick Stuart says it’s an exciting change that aims to increase both diversity and staff retention.

“Melbourne Water already has a strong foundation of flexible work arrangements – this move is building on that. The Water Operations roster is 24/7 and had been geared to full time positions. We’ve gone to market actively advertising for part-time roles to share shifts and hours across the week and have been impressed by the talent we’ve attracted and how well the model is working.”

Li Lau is one of the new Water Operations team working part time and based at the Winneke Water Treatment Plant. She has years of experience in a similar role in WA, then moved to Melbourne and has been raising a young family.

Li Lau work

“When I read the job description, it emphasised both work life balance and that parents were encouraged to apply. I jumped at the chance to return to work in a part time capacity in a job and sector I am passionate about. The team is very supportive and I am loving the work,” Ms Lau, pictured right, said.

For Nick Stuart it’s a win, win for the wider business and the water operations team 

“By actively promoting work/life balance and making concrete changes to how we configure the team across shifts we will attract a wider pool of talent and more diversity and that’s always a good outcome.

"Field workers don’t often get the work from home benefits – they’re in the field - this commitment to part time options and sharing the load is allowing people to work flexibly and will help the well-being and retention of our staff. We want to grow this model and run with it.”

The last word goes to Li Lau.

“Returning to work in this role is a dream. I enjoy being out in the field, the responsibility that comes with the job and the team I’m working with. My work life balance is a really good one.”

Media Catherine Garrett : 0429 219 084  (Photo of Li Lau was taken before current COVID-19 restrictions regarding mask wearing indoors were put in place).