The questions below address many of the common concerns managers have about flexible work arrangements. In addition to reviewing these questions and answers, managers are also strongly encouraged to take our online training course, Managing the 21st Century Workforce: A Guide to Flexibility for Managers and to consult with their own managers and HR representatives as necessary..
Managers are not obligated to approve flexible work arrangements. Each proposal is considered individually to determine if it can work successfully for the employee and the department.
Any employee may submit a proposal, but not all jobs are suitable for flexible work arrangements. Consider the job’s main functions and whether they can be fulfilled under the proposal.
Determine the work configuration that will function best for your department. Some units have found it workable to allow a great deal of flexibility. For others, 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 work group gain experience. You can also establish a set of “core” hours when the office is fully staffed.
You need to be confident that the work will get done whether you are present or not. Employees seeking flexible work arrangements are asked to submit proposals that outline how work will be accomplished. You will have the opportunity to review and make suggestions to the proposal before implementation of the flexible work arrangement. Establishing an arrangement on a pilot basis can allow you to determine whether the arrangement is likely to work on an on-going basis.
Establish a clear, common understanding of the terms of an arrangement by including them in the employee’s proposal that will be signed by both of you. Make sure the employee understands that the arrangement is subject to revision based on the needs of the department.
Flexible work arrangements are subject to ongoing review and may be terminated at any time based on performance concerns or business needs. Generally, at least 30 days’ notice should be given before ending or changing an arrangement, business needs permitting.
When reviewing a proposal for a flexible work arrangement, it is unnecessary to ask why your employee wants the arrangement. In fact, doing so could put you in the awkward position of making value judgments about one employee’s reason versus another’s. Your focus should be on whether or not the employee can meet or even enhance business needs under the flexible work arrangement.