How to Introduce a Flexible Work Arrangement
Flexible work arrangements require supervisor approval and depend on a partnership between the supervisor and staff to ensure that the needs of students, faculty/staff and the university are being met.
Staff members and their supervisors are encouraged to discuss their needs and to work together to develop the best possible arrangement for their situation. Here are the steps for introducing a flexible work arrangement:
1. Review the Options
Review all of the flexible work arrangement options and determine which would be most desirable and appropriate.
- The office and organizational needs, with particular focus given to opportunities for student services, improved accountability, cost effectiveness and customer satisfaction
- The demands of the job
- Personal needs and preferences
- Personal work style and capabilities
- Guidelines for Success (including hourly staff and salaried staff guidelines).
2. Prepare a Written Proposal
The staff member prepares a written proposal for the unit head/supervisor requesting the flexible work arrangement, covering:
- Benefits to the students/university/department/unit
- Reasons the option will work for the job
- Why you are suitable for this option
- What processes will be needed to maintain good communication and continue to achieve the work goals, and
- How accountability, cost effectiveness and customer satisfaction needs will be addressed.
3. Unit Head/Supervisor Formalizes Arrangement
If the unit head/supervisor determines that the proposal is satisfactory, the arrangement must be formalized with a written agreement and be signed by the unit head/supervisor and appointing officer. The option will be most comfortable for all parties if a collaborative effort contributed to the final plan. The unit head/supervisor should share the decision with other faculty/staff members to explain any issues that may affect the work unit and set appropriate expectations.
4. Option is Piloted
Next, the option should be "piloted." During a pilot experience of up to three months, the unit head/supervisor and faculty/staff member should meet regularly, at pre-arranged intervals, to discuss how the arrangement is going. The following questions can be reviewed:
- Are expectations clearly understood?
- Is productivity being maintained?
- Are the students/university/entity/department/unit needs still being met?
- Are there benefits that can be identified?
- Are there adjustments to the arrangement that might be desired by either party?
- Should the arrangement be maintained?
Note: At the end of the pilot period, the arrangement should be evaluated. It should be understood from the start that either the unit head/supervisor or faculty/staff member may end the arrangement if the goals of the arrangement are not being met. Supervisor and staff member should discuss their concerns, then follow up with a written two week notice to return to the pre-flexibility work arrangement. If you and your supervisor agree on a FWA, you may or may not be able to go back to your original work arrangement.
Staff Member's Role
- Consider need, work conditions, type of flexible work arrangement that would meet this need and why
- Describe the benefits for students/supervisor/customers/co-workers would experience based on the option
- Anticipate challenges, provide suggestions to address
- Be open to feedback and changes to the proposal
- Be accountable for written agreements, including supervisor and appointing officer signatures.
- Communicate with supervisor to ensure you are meeting expectations
- Regularly evaluate arrangement with supervisor and implement agreed upon changes
- Focus on the organizational benefits
- Support concept verbally and through personal modeling of balanced work practices
- Supervisor to notify payroll of hourly staff beginning a FWA (see FWA hourly guidelines)
- Work collaboratively with staff to address problems and/or obstacles
- Clearly communicate defined tasks and expectations
- Measure performance through results and behaviors
- Provide regular feedback on performance
- Be willing to reverse a plan if it is not serving the department's or individual's needs
- Set expectations for procedures and guidelines for flexible work arrangements with all staff.