Best Practices for Flexible Work Arrangements

Requesting a Flexible Work Arrangement

The process begins by the staff member submitting a request, it is encouraged that the a verbal conversation takes place before a written request is submitted. Visit Flexible Work Arrangements Toolkit for forms the staff member can use to submit a request.

Evaluating the Request for a Flexible Work Arrangement

Consider a Flexible Work Arrangement request as "reason neutral", ie. the reason for the request is not one of the variables used to determine feasibility. If a request is approved based on the employee's needs and not on feasibility, other problems or issues may result for the staff member and unit. If a request is denied based on preconceived notions as to what is or is not a valid reason, the process may be seen as questionable and biased. When a request is received, there are several variables used to determine feasibility.

  • The units' programs/projects, including deadlines.
  • The staff members area of responsibility and job description.
  • The staff members performance history, problem solving abilities, sense of collaboration and fit with the request.
  • The fit of the request to the mission of the unit, staffing needs and resources.

Place the approval in writing. The toolkit contains approval form letters.

If a request is not approved, provide a written denial with the rationale. Denial is based upon objective criteria such as the staff members past performance, poor fit to the position, financially not viable or the needs of the unit are not compatible with the request. The toolkit contains a denial letter.

Please note: Approving a request is at the discretion of the unit/department. When a change in the schedule is not possible, other support services may be appropriate. Several resources are available through University Human Resources Organizational Effectiveness.

Tracking Flexible Work Arrangements

Tracking approved flexible work arrangements is encouraged. Use Employee Self Service/Administration/ HR Online Update and HR Reports.

If a Division or College wishes to self track, identify who will track the information and how. Include in the tracking: the name of the staff member, the type of arrangement, the beginning date, length of the arrangement, the review dates and the department. If an arrangement is ended, record the reason.

Other Best Practices to Consider

  • Set expectations of supervisor and employee up front for coverage within the department/unit. Establish guidelines for when the arrangement may have to be temporarily changed to accommodate co-worker vacation or illness.
  • If telecommuting from home, it is advised that children or other family members not be present in the home. Establish a plan for their care in advance.
  • Put the arrangement in writing.
  • Establish how success of the flexible work arrangement will be measured.
  • Set a trial period of three months (recommended) to determine if the arrangement is effective.
  • Review the arrangement annually (recommended).
  • Determine how the arrangement will end.
  • Be creative in considering how flexibility may work in your department/unit.