Flexible Working

How Vanessa purchases additional annual leave to strike the right balance | Viva Energy

Viva Energy's Commercial Manager Vanessa believes that flexibility policies will extend her longevity and improve her performance at the refinery.

To celebrate Flexible Working Day 2019, we turn the spotlight to our employer partners leading the way in flexibility.

Meet Vanessa, Commercial Manager at Viva Energy Geelong Refinery who was voted 2018 Woman Manufacturer of the Year by the Victorian Manufacturing Hall of Fame. As a senior female in a non-traditional area, we were keen to chat with her about her career and how she is utilising a benefit provided by her employer to purchase additional leave, through salary sacrifice, allowing her to enhance her work life balance and do more of what she loves!

What’s it like working in a manufacturing facility?

It’s no surprise that working in a 24h manufacturing facility, like a refinery, can be pretty tough. I have been doing it for a long time (over 20 years) but have become more and more aware that I need regular time off to refresh both body and mind.

Tell us about your passions and lifestyle

I have a keen interest in staying fit and strong and have been experimenting in recent years doing cleanse/fitness holidays with like-minded friends. I have found the experience to be very rewarding and I return feeling incredibly revitalised and ready to go again. I am also in a situation where most of my family live interstate, which means that I find myself having to do a trip back to Perth a few times a year for family functions. I enjoy these visits immensely and want to be able to spend quality time with my family, particularly as my parents are getting older (they are in their 70’s now).

Why is purchasing additional leave so important to you?

Overall I have found it hard to balance my leave allocations with all of the things that I want to do and also that I think are good for me, with respect to maintaining my personal health and general well being. This is why the opportunity to be able to purchase additional leave (through salary sacrifice) is so valuable to me at this stage of my life and career. I believe that it will extend my longevity in my role as Commercial Manager at the refinery and improve my performance with the ability to take regular breaks through the year.

Why is flexible working important within your team?

By personally working flexibly it sends the message to my team that work life balance is important to me and that I support that for each of them. For others in my team, in different stages of their personal lives, that may mean being able to take parental or carer leave, work flexibly from home or alternate locations or take unpaid leave for further study. We have examples of all of these options having been taken up in the last few years and I see it giving people opportunities that just didn’t exist before; either to participate differently in their home/personal lives or to match their career development better with their personal commitments.

What is your biggest learning from working flexibly?

I don’t shy away from the admission that it takes work to be able to manage around these individual requirements but I see so much positive for the individuals and the team that it is clearly worth the effort to make work.

Interested in working at Viva Energy Australia? Check out their open roles here.


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