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Flexible Work Arrangement

What is a Flexible Work Arrangement?
The University recognizes the changing dynamics of the workforce and the importance of updating our policies to empower our leaders to recruit the best talent available, retain existing talent, increase productivity, and promote employee engagement.  Flexible Work Arrangements provides a framework for the University to respond to the changing landscape.  A flexible work arrangement is an alternative work schedule that may consist of an employee compressing their workweek, flexing their daily work schedule, or working remotely from another location.

Does your role qualify for a flexible work arrangement? Take this assessment and find out!

How do I request a Flexible Work Arrangement?
Supervisors may authorize a Flexible Work Arrangement during this COVID-19 event.  No form or formal agreement is necessary..

Flextime

What is Flextime?
Flextime is an alternative work schedule that gives employees greater flexibility in choosing their work hours, or the opportunity to change their work schedules from one week to the next depending on personal needs. Under a flextime arrangement, employees are required to work during the university’s core hours (9:00a -2:00p), allowing for flexibility in starting and ending times.

Example: John worked with his supervisor to establish a flextime working arrangement so he would be able to pick his daughter up from school each day and participate in her after-school activities. John's flextime schedule allows him to come into work at 6:30 a.m. and leave at 3 p.m. daily.

Benefits of a Flextime Arrangement
• Staggered schedules can allow certain departments to extend hours of service for customers
• Allows employees to schedule work around their personal needs
• Flexibility and variety of hours worked can vary commute times    
• Easy to manage for supervisors 
 

Compressed Workweek

What is a Compressed Workweek?
Compressed workweek is an alternative work schedule that allows employees to work an increased number of hours each day in order to shorten the number of days worked during the workweek. Under a compressed workweek arrangement, employees are required to work the same number of working hours a pay period. A reduction in work hours is not considered a flexible work arrangement. 

Example: John wanted to earn an Executive MBA while continuing to meet his responsibilities at work. After assessing the situation with his supervisor, they both learned that their department had little to no walk-in traffic on Fridays. Working a compressed work schedule would permit John to work three 10 hour days and one 7.5 hour day, giving him an extra day off during the workweek to earn his degree. Additionally, the department can now better service their customers by extending their hours on their busiest days. 

Benefits of a Compressed Workweek Arrangement
• Less time commuting during a given week
• More time outside of work to take care of personal responsibilities; increasing focus on the tasks at hand during scheduled work time    
• Increased productivity during the hours outside of core business, when fewer staff members are present    
• Improved work area coverage and extended hours of service to customers  
 

Remote Work

What is a Remote Work Arrangement?
Remote work is an alternative arrangement that allows employees to work outside of the traditional office space. Remote work may occur from home, a satellite office, or other location. Under a remote work arrangement, employees are required to attend meetings and be accessible to customers, co-workers and supervisors during business hours. Remote work may be appropriate for some employees and jobs but not for others. 

All remote workers must complete a Telecommute Cyber Agreement before starting to work remotely. 

Example: John found that a remote work arrangement helped him complete regular reports that required a large amount of undisturbed time to produce. He now works on these reports from home on Tuesdays. The arrangement has helped John meet report deadlines more effectively, reduced his stress level and made him more efficient with his time in the office.

Benefits of a Remote Work Arrangement
• Reduction or elimination of daily commute, lowering stress levels, personal expenses and carbon footprint    
• Increase productivity because of fewer interruptions    
• Increased retention of current employees and recruitment tool 
• Decreased absenteeism and tardiness  

Remote Work Agreement
All remote workers must complete a Telecommute Cyber Agreement before starting to work remotely.

FAQs

What are the advantages of Flexible Work Arrangements?
Flexible work arrangements often allow employee to have better balance between their work and personal lives, which in turn, improves morale and retention. In addition, offering a flexible work arrangement as an additional benefit gives an advantage when recruiting. Other benefits include:
• Reduced commuting costs and use of parking space
• Reduced tardiness and absence due to personal commitments
• A correlation between work schedules and work styles (early vs. late energy)
• Reduced stress

As a supervisor, am I able to grant one employee’s request and deny another employee’s request?  
Decisions related to granting a flexible work arrangement should be based on the needs of the organization as well as objective criteria related to an employee’s job performance and job demands.  Supervisors are expected to maintain a consistent approach when reviewing the criteria of a flexible work arrangement request.  Supervisors are advised to document the basis for each decision that is approved or denied.  Supervisors should contact their HR Business Partner if they need guidance in developing criteria for a flexible work arrangement request.

Are employees eligible to appeal a denial of a flexible work arrangement?
The decision to grant a flexible work arrangement is determined by the supervisor and department head.  If an employee’s supervisor denies the request, the employee may ask the department head to review the request. The department head’s decision is final. 

I supervise a support staff employee who is key to the daily operations of the department.  I have been able to grant the flexible work arrangement request of others in the department, but have concerns about granting the absence of this critical staff person.  How should I proceed? 
Reasonable efforts should be made to accommodate the employee’s request, subject to the service needs of the department.  Flexible work arrangement may not be feasible for every employee and every department. It may be helpful to review how operations are handled when this employee is out of the office due to vacation or illness, and then determine if that can be maintained as part of a flexible work arrangement.   

Can a supervisor revoke a flexible work arrangement that they already approved?
Yes, a supervisor is able to revoke a flexible work arrangement.  Some of the reasons a flexible work arrangement may be revoked is if it is no longer beneficial to business operations and/or if the employee develops job performance, attendance, or behavioral deficiencies.

My friend and I work in the same division.  Their request for a flexible work arrangement was approved and mine was denied.  This seems unfair.  
Reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate the employee’s request, subject to the service needs of the department. Flexible work arrangement may not be feasible for every employee and every department. If an employee’s supervisor denies the request, the employee may ask the department head to review the request.  The department head’s decision is final.  

What if the day that I’m scheduled to be off as part of my flexible work arrangement falls on a holiday?
Refer to the Staff Handbook Holiday section for guidance. 
 
My doctor recently advised me that I would need a reduced schedule to accommodate my health condition.  Does this circumstance permit me to automatically be granted a flexible work arrangement? 
This may qualify for Intermittent Family Medical Leave or a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Please contact your HR Business Partner for more information. 
 

Supervisor Resources

Considerations
The decision to approve or deny a flexible work arrangement is determined by the supervisor because they are best suited to understand the demands of the work and the capacity of the individual requesting the flexible work arrangement. A flexible work arrangement is most likely to succeed when the supervisor does the following:

• Assesses the benefits of a flexible work arrangement  
• Clearly communicates defined tasks and expectations
• Provides regular feedback regarding job performance  
• Adapts the flexible work arrangement plan as needed
• Assesses overtime implications for non-exempt employees  
• Provides schedules to the departmental timekeeper

Employment Status 
An employee’s employment status (exempt or non-exempt) must be considered when designing a remote work schedule.  Exempt positions have a bit more flexibility as it pertains to a work schedule, since overtime is not a factor.  All non-exempt employees must be paid overtime for any hours worked over 40 within a workweek (Friday-Thursday).  Managers of non-exempt employees must consider any overtime implications that a remote work schedule may cause.  

Example: If a non-exempt employee is responding to a work-related email, regardless of the time of day/night, this is considered time worked.

Out of State Requests
Requests for remote work arrangements outside the states of Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi require additional written approval from the Senior Officer.  The arrangement must be processed by the Office of Human Resources before the employee begins the remote work arrangement in order to comply with any applicable state or federal law. 

Reduction in Hours Worked
A reduction in the standard work hours per week is not considered a flexible work arrangement.  

Example: An employee regularly scheduled to work 37.5 hours per week who is requesting to reduce the standard work hours to 18.75 per week would not be covered under this policy.  Flexible work arrangements must reflect the standard work hours assigned at the time of the request.

Timekeeper Responsibility
If a manager approves an employee’s request for a flexible work arrangement, the timekeeper must enter the updated schedule in KRONOS. The schedule will reflect adjusted start and end times.

Remote Work Agreement
All remote workers must complete a Telecommute Cyber Agreement before starting to work remotely.

Flexible Work Arrangement- Supervisor Checklist