Flexible Work Arrangements
Alternative and flexible work arrangements are alternatives to the traditional "8-to-5" workday that can accommodate employee preference or a unit's unique job requirements. Examples include telecommuting (telework), alternative work schedules, and reduced work schedules.
Approval and Documentation Requirements
The University encourages the adoption of flexible work arrangements when they work to the advantage of both the employee and the unit. Adoption of a flexible work arrangement therefore requires the
supervisor's and/or unit administrator's advance approval, and is based on their determination that the
arrangement will work for all concerned.
Supervisors may also assign a position to
an alternative or flexible work arrangement to meet work requirements.
Once adopted, an alternative or flexible work arrangement may
be revised or ended in the same way that other work schedule modifications
would be made for the position.
Holiday Leave Record Keeping
Working a part-time or full-time alternative work schedule requires special attention to holiday-related leave accounting. See Alternative & Flexible Work Schedule Examples for leave accounting issues that may need to be considered.
Flexible Work Arrangement Considerations
If you plan on proposing a flexible work arrangement, keep in mind that your supervisor will probably want to know how the arrangement will help you, and how it will meet the department’s needs as well. Consider the following points:
- Does your position require regular interaction with coworkers or clients? If it does, how will your proposal address any concerns that might arise about your ability to meet these requirements?
- Does your position require that you work with such confidential information as student records, personnel records or patient records? How can you perform your job duties and maintain the required data security and confidentiality?
- Will your proposal require a computer, printer, or other equipment? Who will supply the equipment and be responsible for maintaining, upgrading, and supporting it?
- Is your home computer secure? If not, there is a high probability that you could corrupt files or damage UW computers by spreading computer viruses or other malware.
- Do you perform work that has critical deadlines that might be missed if you are working from home and your computer connection or electricity fails? If so, how will you ensure that critical deadlines can be met or tasks can be accomplished even if you experience a home computer problem?
- Does your productivity, reliability, and overall work record demonstrate the ability to fulfill the terms of the proposed arrangement?
Preparing a Proposal
If you decide to develop a proposal, be sure to:
- Describe the type of arrangement you are requesting and the proposed weekly work schedule;
- Describe how your position’s job duties will be accomplished;
- Describe how the arrangement will benefit your work group, department, and/or organization (or at least, how it will not have a negative effect on the organization);
- Describe your plans for communicating with coworkers and others and what kind of back-up for your work you think may be necessary in the event you are absent;
- Identify the proposed start date and how you suggest the success of the arrangement be evaluated (tasks completed, deadlines met, etc.);
- Commit to being flexible and making adjustments to your proposal as necessary to ensure success; and
- Tell your supervisor that you understand that the arrangement can be ended if your supervisor or manager determines that the arrangement is not working as desired.
Common Questions & Answers
- Are there restrictions on which or how many employees can request a flexible work arrangement?
- Any employee may submit a proposal, but not all jobs are suitable for a flexible work arrangement. Consider your job’s main functions and whether they can be fulfilled under the proposal.
- Will working a flexible work arrangement limit my opportunities for promotion?
- In general, no; however, the work unit requirements and responsibilities of a position that represents a promotional opportunity may not be compatible with your current flexible work arrangement. In order to be considered for some positions, you might have to change your work arrangement.
- What options are there if my supervisor denies my proposal?
- The University is not obligated to provide flexible work arrangements. Each proposal is considered individually to determine if it can work successfully for you and your unit.
- Can my supervisor change my schedule if it is not working out?
- You would need to talk to your supervisor to request a different flexible work arrangement, or return to your original schedule. A change in your current schedule, or a return to your previous schedule, may not always be possible.