Proposing and Documenting Flexwork

In the past, the University has required employees seeking flexwork arrangements to submit a written proposal addressing where, when and how the work will get done. Due to the pandemic, many employees found themselves working remotely on very short notice. Not only was there little time to prepare, but the University’s formal proposal process was not entirely applicable when the paradigm was inverted in this way, and employees were directed – rather than requesting themselves – to work remotely.

As circumstances evolve, either challenges or operational opportunities may lead an employee to propose an adjustment to their schedule or their place of work. For those instances, the proposal process remains useful. Employees who wish to formalize a request for adjusted hours or a change to campus presence may follow the proposal process using the newly revised flexwork form. As always, managers must consider all proposals and follow an equitable process for evaluating them. And as always, an equitable process does not necessarily mean an identical outcome.

For employees who are currently working remotely and do not wish to propose a formal change to that arrangement, there is still value to the process of developing a thoughtful plan of how, when and where job responsibilities will be accomplished. However long these arrangements last, it is useful to be proactive in defining the approach. The flexwork form allows for this process as well.

Using the Form to Support a Thoughtful Process

Whether you are proposing a new or adjusted flexwork arrangement or defining an existing one, you can use a single form. The revised form is not one-size-fits-all and includes optional sections. And the form doesn’t stand alone. Many managers prefer that the process begins with an employee-supervisor conversation, which is then followed by additional conversations to ensure alignment and mutual understanding once the proposal has been approved.  Some managers choose not to require the form at all. However formally the form is used, it is designed to provide a foundation for best practices and common-sense decisions. It can:

  • Empower employees to think through and develop specific flexwork proposals, identify approaches to balancing dependent-care responsibilities with work, and define methods to evaluate these approaches;
  • Guide managers in evaluating flexwork proposals fairly;
  • Ensure an equitable evaluation process for all employees who propose flexwork;
  • Assist managers who are reviewing multiple proposals in understanding overall team and operational impacts;
  • Enable successful implementation of flexwork through improved clarity and alignment on the specifics of how the arrangements will work; and
  • Serve as a basis for ongoing conversations among employees, managers and teams.