Flexible Work Proposals

Creating a Proposal

A formal FWA proposal must be made in writing using this form, then followed by a conversation with your manager once the proposal has been completed. Many managers prefer that the process begin with a conversation before starting the proposal. You may also want to discuss flex with local HR to learn if there are any relevant local policies or practices. Proposals should address how, when and where work will get done without a negative impact on the organization or on co-workers, faculty or students, and include ways to evaluate and measure progress against performance objectives.

The proposal form is not a one-size-fits-all document and includes optional sections. It is designed to:

  • Assist employees in thinking through and developing specific FWAs.
  • Guide managers in objectively and equitably evaluating FWAs.
  • Ensure fair consideration for all employees who propose FWAs.
  • Assist managers who are looking across multiple individuals to understand overall team and operational impacts.
  • Enable successful implementation of FWAs through improved clarity and alignment on the specifics of how the FWAs will work.
  • Serve as a basis for ongoing conversations between employees and managers.

Special Considerations for Telework Proposals

Because non-Harvard related work may not be conducted when teleworking or working remotely, the following conditions apply University-wide:

  • Employees may not care for children and/or adults when teleworking or working remotely.
  • Employees may not work on any substantive non-Harvard project when teleworking or working remotely.

For more information on managing Telework, see Managing Telecommuting and Remote Workers.

When a Proposal is Not Approved

Managers should give concrete feedback about why the proposal was denied. It may be because of a lack of sufficient detail about how, where and when work will get done, or a history of underperformance in the job, or simply that the job itself is not suitable for the kind of arrangement proposed by the employee.

Whatever the reason, it is important to have candid conversations about FWAs. If such conversations are not easy, both employees and managers can contact Harvard’s EAP for coaching on having difficult conversations. HUCTW members may note that if a proposed FWA is not approved, the proposal may be explored further in consultation with the human resources department and HUCTW. All employees have a range of other resources as well; for more information, see the FAQs for what to do if a supervisor says “no.”