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What is Workplace Flexibility?

What You Need to Know: 

Workplace flexibility is rethinking how work has been “traditionally” accomplished. It means adjusting work hours outside the 8:00 – 5:00. It means sometimes working from locations other than on campus – at a home office, the library, a coffee shop. For many departments and teams, workplace flexibility is the new norm for how work gets done.

UK Workplace Flexibility Resources

Full-Time Options:

  • Flextime: Adjusting start and end times to meet department and/or employee needs without reducing the number of hours worked each day or week. This can range from individual employee start and end times to department “core hours” when all employees must be present (e.g. between 10 AM and 2 PM).
  • Telework: Adjusting the primary workplace location to meet department and/or employee needs. A common arrangement is for an employee to work from their home office one or two days per week
  • Compressed workweek: A standard workweek compressed into fewer than five days (e.g. 4-10’s, 3-13’s)

Reduced-Hours Options:

  • Part-time: Adjusting total number of regular hours worked to less than full-time. Please note that this option involves a pro-rated salary and benefits.
  • Phased return from leave: Temporarily adjusting the number of hours worked each week to less than full time after returning from an extended leave (e.g. Family Medical Leave for the birth or adoption of a child). Please note that this option involves a pro-rated salary and benefits.
  • Phased retirement: Employees with 15 years or more of eligible service and who are aged 60 are older may be able to reduce their hours as a way of “phasing” into their retirement. Additional details are available here.

How do I request a flexwork arrangement?

  • Click HERE to fill out a short request form. Please review this document of factors to consider about whether flexible work may be a good fit for you and/or your role.
  • A copy of the submitted form is sent via e-mail to the employee, the supervisor, and the Office of Work-Life. 
  • The supervisor review the request e-mail, has a conversation with the employee (if they didn't discuss prior to the request) and then makes a decision to approve, request modifications, or deny the request. 
  • The supervisor will reply to the employee's request and cc the Office of Work-Life with their decision. If the request was for Reduced Seasonal Hours, the supervisor should also cc their budget officer. 

Who can request a flexwork arrangement?
All employees can request a flexwork arrangement. However, flexwork arrangements may not be appropriate for all employees or all jobs. Some factors to consider:

  • Nature of work/position requirements (e.g. employee needs to be on-campus at least 40 hours per week during “busy season”).
  • Current and/or past record of poor performance
  • Personal factors such as home environment or personality (e.g. an employee has other family members at home during the day and distracts him/her from being productive while teleworking OR an employee likes to be around coworkers rather than working alone at a home office).

Why is flexwork important to employees, supervisors, and across UK*?

  • 45% of employed men report work-life conflict compared to only 39% of women
  • 1 in 2 employees expects to provide elder care in the next five years; nearly 1 in 5 currently do.
  • 97% of HR professionals say productivity is the same or better when employees use flexible work
  • More than 4 out of 5 candidates say flexwork is very important when considering a new job.
  • Employees who have a high level of work-life balance are more likely to:
    • be highly engaged at work
    • want to stay in their current job
    • be in excellent health

*All data comes from SHRM and FWI When Work Works Flex Guide.