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Starting the Process

Flexible work options require divisional leadership approval and depend on a partnership between the supervisor and employee to ensure that the needs of the institution are being met.

Flexible work options are generally introduced in a work environment by an employee who determines that he/she would like to explore a flexible work option. However, supervisors may have conversations with employees regarding flexible work options for some or all employees provided they have gotten approval for a flexible work option from their divisional leadership.

Employees 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

When considering a flexible work arrangement, think about the following:

  • Review all of the flexible work options and determine which would be most desirable and appropriate
  • 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
  • Personal needs and preferences
  • Personal work style and capabilities

2. Prepare a Written Proposal

  • Complete a Flexible Work Arrangement Agreement Form and submit to your supervisor requesting the flexible work option
  • Determine what processes will be needed to maintain good communication and continue to achieve the work goals
  • Consider how accountability, cost effectiveness and customer satisfaction needs will be addressed

3. Supervisor Formalizes Arrangement

  • After reviewing the proposal with an HR Business Partner and consulting with other offices that might be impacted by such an arrangement, the supervisor will send the request to the divisional leadership to approve or deny the request.  The President’s Cabinet member must approve any flexible work arrangement in his or her respective division.  The employee will receive a copy of the Flexible Work Arrangement Approval Form specifying the terms and conditions for the Flexible Work Arrangement or the reasons for denial
  • Supervisor will send URHR a copy for the employee’s file

4. Option is Piloted

Next, the option must be "piloted". The pilot period should be at least 30 days.  During the pilot experience, the supervisor and employee 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 department 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 must be evaluated. Based on the results of the evaluation, and with approval from the President’s Cabinet Member, the option may be renewed annually.  It should be understood from the start that either the supervisor or employee may end the arrangement if the goals of the arrangement are not being met.

Employee's Role

  • Consider need, work conditions, type of flexible work arrangement that would meet this need and why
  • Describe the benefits supervisor/customers/co-workers would experience based on the option
  • Anticipate challenges, provide suggestions to address
  • Prepare written request
  • 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

Supervisor's Role

  • Focus on potential organizational benefits
  • Consider each request on its own merits
  • 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
  • Gain approval from divisional leadership