On October 29, hear Paula speak at a lunch and learn event, Flex Work at UK, on a panel of supportive supervisors.
It’s important to me that my team members feel like they have control in how they accomplish their work.
Paula Sandford, assistant dean for finance in the College of Fine Arts, joined the college in the fall of 2017. Within two years, she and her team helped herald a shift to a culture that proactively supports of a variety of types of flexible work for her team, an integrated business unit of seven members.
“It’s important to me that my team members feel like they have control in how they accomplish their work,” said Paula Sandford, assistant dean for finance in the College of Fine Arts.
She first made her support visible by offering flex time as an alternative to using leave for doctor’s appointments. University policy supports flex time, which allows employees to make up a few hours of time within the same work week with their supervisor’s approval.
“It’s up to them whether they prefer to use flex time or leave, but I want them to know they have the choice,” Paula said. “I make sure to talk about this option."
Her appreciation for flexible work starts with past experiences. In her previous roles, Paula benefited from supervisors offering her flex time.
“It alleviated the burden of losing leave time for appointments,” Paula said. “Because it meant so much to me that my supervisor was willing to work with me, I would look for additional responsibilities I could take on to help my supervisor.”
As a result of her open communication, a team member approached her with a proposal for remote work. He wanted to work from home one day a week because it would ease some of the coordination between him and his wife who share a car.
Paula found support from the dean who agreed to a three-month pilot because remote work had not been attempted in their office before. Shortly after a successful pilot, they launched a college-wide remote policy in summer 2019 and have begun seeing requests.
Now, our expectations about remote work, from starting it to continuing it, are spelled out and easy to understand, and they’re visible to anyone who wants to request this kind of flexible work.
She credits her team member for expanding the visibility of flexibility to all staff in their college.
“He told me early on he wanted to do remote work right so colleagues could have the opportunity too, which I thought was great,” Paula said. “He’s methodical and organized, and he used these skills to really set us up for success by creating a template to provide an end-of-day report and helping draft our policy.”
The policy requires approvals from the dean and Paula, who coordinates with ITS to ensure participating staff have a computer to use with the required security. Staff select one day a week to work remotely for a six-month period, with the opportunity to request a renewal at the end of each period.
To develop these guidelines, Paula also worked with HR Work-Life to ensure their college policy aligned with university policies. She appreciates that “now, our expectations about remote work, from starting it to continuing it, are spelled out and easy to understand, and they’re visible to anyone who wants to request this kind of flexible work.”