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Flexwork

UNDERSTAND

The term "Flexwork" refers to work arrangements other than the traditional 5 consecutive 8 hour day work week. Job flexibility is important for many employees and flexwork options can help maintain employee morale by allowing employees to meet their personal needs while contributing to the organization. Offering flexwork options may also help with employee retention and recruiting.

Flexwork options are not an employee entitlement, however the UW supports their development when a manager determines that such an arrangement meets the needs of the unit and the employee.

Typically an employee will propose a flexwork arrangement, though managers may also assign a position to an alternative or flexible schedule to accommodate unit work requirements.

When describing flexwork options, the term 'work schedule' is used when referring to arrangements for overtime eligible classified and professional staff. The term 'work plan' is used when referring to arrangements for overtime exempt classified and professional staff because such positions are always expected to work as necessary to meet the requirements of the position.

Alternative Work Arrangements or plans are anything other than five (5) consecutive equal length work days in a seven (7) day work week.

Flexible Work Arrangements or plans have the following characteristics:

  1. A fixed, core block of work time during which the employee is always at work
  2. A daily work start time that can vary within a specified range
  3. A daily work end time that adjusted each day in accordance with that day's start time

Flexible work arrangements/plans can initially be somewhat complicated to administer, so it is especially important that such arrangements be well documented and understood by the employee, manager, and coworkers.

Other work arrangements may be developed to fit unique or unusual work requirements. Questions about work schedules or unique scheduling needs should be discussed with the unit's Human Resources Consultant.

Holiday Leave Record Keeping

Administering part-time or full-time alternative work schedules requires that special attention be devoted holiday-related leave accounting. See Alternative & Flexible Work Schedule Examples for leave accounting issues that may need to be considered.

ACT

Evaluating Flexible Work Arrangement Proposals

If an employee asks you to approve a proposed flexible work arrangement, think about the following points to evaluate your ability to successfully implement the proposal.

If you decide that you cannot approve the employee's request, explain your decision based on your analysis of the proposal's impact on department operations, and/or the employee’s work record in your department.

Managing Flexible Work Arrangements

Consider the following points in developing a plan to effectively manage the work of individuals working a flexible work arrangement:

EXPLORE

Questions & Answers

Should I limit the numbers of people in one work group who can have a flexible work arrangement so that I can be sure I can manage the work?
Determine the work configuration that will function best for your unit. Some units have found it workable to allow a great deal of flexibility. For other units, only a limited number of positions lend themselves to flexible work arrangements. If you are not sure what will work for your unit, limit flexibility initially with a commitment to review your practices as you and the workgroup gain experience.
How can I avoid having to change my own work schedule to effectively manage employees with flexible work arrangements?
You need to be confident that the work will get done whether you are present or not. Establishing an arrangement on a pilot basis can allow you to determine whether the arrangement is likely to work on an on-going basis. You should also determine the results you need in order to evaluate the effectiveness of a particular arrangement.
How can I ensure that employees do not assume that alternative work schedules are “permanent”?
Establish a clear, common understanding of the terms of an arrangement by putting them in writing. Share a copy with the employee and place a copy in the employee’s department file. Make sure that the written agreement states that the arrangement is subject to revision based on departmental work requirements.

Flexwork Topics