Work Arrangement Application Initiation
The process begins when an employee requests a flexible work arrangement. Employees are encouraged to initiate a verbal conversation to communicate interest prior to submitting a Work Arrangement Application.
Best Practices to Consider
Consider employee requests for a remote/hybrid work arrangement or flexible schedule as reason neutral, meaning 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 employee or 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.
There are several variables that can be used to determine feasibility, including:
- Unit programs and projects, including deadlines
- The requesting employee’s area of responsibility and job description
- The employee’s performance history, problem-solving abilities, sense of collaboration, and fit with the request
- How the request fits the unit’s mission, staffing needs, and resources
Granting an employee's request for a remote/hybrid work arrangement or flexible schedule is not always an option for a variety of reasons. If a request is not approved, clearly communicate this denial back to the employee with reasoning. Denial should be based upon objective criteria such as:
- Past performance
- Poor fit to the position
- Financial viability
- Unit needs
It is best practice to provide them written documentation of the denial with reasoning indicated. An example of a denial letter is provided below:
After reviewing your request for a remote work arrangement and assessing the needs of the department/unit, I regret that I am not able to approve your request at this time. An explanation is provided below.
If you would like to discuss the denial, please contact me. Please remember that the approval of a remote work arrangement is at the discretion of the department, however, there may be another policy or resource that could be accessed regarding your need. If you wish to explore this with me, please schedule a time for us to meet.
Once a flexible work arrangement is agreed upon, the employee will initiate a Work Arrangement Application Workflow form via Employee Self Service. This allows both employee and supervisor documentation of the Work Arrangement for tracking purposes.
Other Best Practices to Consider
- Set supervisor and employee expectations for coverage within the department/unit up front. Establish guidelines for when the arrangement may need to change temporarily to accommodate co-worker vacation or illness.
- Remote/hybrid work is not a substitute for childcare. Departments should afford all employees the flexibility to meet intermittent childcare needs (e.g., during illness, snow days, etc.) but employees requesting remote or hybrid work arrangements are responsible for ensuring ongoing childcare arrangements to allow for uninterrupted work time and focus.
- Establish how the success of the arrangement will be measured
- Set a trial period of three months (recommended) to determine if the arrangement is effective.
- Review the arrangement annually
- Determine how or when the arrangement will end.
- Be creative in considering how flexibility may work in your department/unit.