Flexible work options require supervisor and departmental leadership approval and depend on a partnership between the supervisor and employee to ensure that the needs of both the employee and the institution are being met.
Flexible work options are generally introduced in a work environment by a staff member who determines that he/she would like to have a flexible work option. However, supervisors may also suggest flexible work options for some or all staff members.
Staff and their supervisors are encouraged to discuss their needs and to work together to develop the best possible arrangements for their situation. Here are the suggested steps for introducing a flexible work option:
1. Review the Options
Review all of the flexible work options and determine which would be most desirable and appropriate.
- Personal needs and preferences,
- Personal work style and capabilities,
- The demands of the job,
- The office situation and organizational needs, with particular focus given to opportunities for improved accountability, cost effectiveness and customer satisfaction, and
- Benefits and Payroll considerations
2. Prepare a Written Proposal
Prepare a written proposal to the supervisor requesting the flexible work option, covering:
- Benefits to the school/entity/department/unit,
- Reasons the option will work for the job,
- Why he/she is 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.
Note: A staff member is not expected to explain the personal reasons that a flexible work arrangement is desired. By avoiding a focus on personal need, the organizational needs receive the primary focus and the arrangement has a greater chance of being successful.
3. Supervisor Formalizes Arrangement
If the supervisor determines that the proposal is satisfactory, the arrangement must be formalized with a written agreement. The option will be most comfortable for all parties if a collaborative effort contributed to the final plan. The supervisor should share the decision with other 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 the pilot experience, the supervisor and 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 school/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 option be maintained?
Note: At the end of the pilot period, the option should be evaluated. It should be understood from the start that either the supervisor or staff member may end the arrangement if the goals of the arrangement are not being met.
Staff Member's Role
- Consider need, work conditions, type of flexible work arrangement that would meet this need and why
- Describe the benefits for 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
- 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
- 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