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Flexible Work Arrangements

One of the few positive outcomes from the COVID-19 pandemic is a recognition of the importance of remote work and flexible schedules. Many UW employees have been successfully working remotely for more than a year. The Administration has repeatedly heard that remote work is a strong motivator for many employees – higher productivity, better work/life balance, less stress commuting to and from campus, etc. In addition, employment trends indicate that remote work appears to be morphing into “the new normal” in the workplace.

The new policy is a reflection of the Administration’s support for remote work and flexible schedules. We highly encourage supervisors and employees to consider remote work and flexible schedules, to the degree each campus position allows for it.

University of Wyoming Flexible Work Arrangement Policy


Exceptions to COVID-19 Fall 2021 Plan


  • If you are seeking an exception to any COVID policy element (e.g. remote work, requirement to wear a mask, test, etc.) and this exception request is based on your own medical condition you may initiate the process to be considered for an exception through the ADA process.  Additional details can be found here.
  • If you are seeking time away from work, due to your own serious health condition or a serious health condition for a member of your immediate household, you may qualify for FMLA leave.  Additional details for FMLA leave can be found here.
  • All other requests involving working remotely or a change of work schedule may be requested through the Flexible Work Arrangement policy.  Further information regarding this process can be found on the page you are currently visiting.
  • If none of the aforementioned circumstances apply to you, you need to comply with all elements of the COVID-19 Fall Plan.

Types of Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA)

Compressed Work Week: Compressed workweek refers to a schedule wherein the total number of hours worked each week are conducted in less than five full workdays. The most common compressed schedule is four 10-hour workdays per week.

Flexible Schedule: A Flexible Schedule refers to an arrangement that permits variations in starting and departure times, but does not alter the total number of hours worked in a work week.

Remote Work: A work arrangement in which some or all work is regularly performed at a location other than the employee's primary (usual and customary) workplace, such as the employee’s home or a satellite office.


Flexible Work Arrangement Agreements

A Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA) includes the categories of a Compressed Work Week, a Flexible Schedule and/or Remote Work (telework). A FWA may encompass a hybrid of each category or all of one category for example fully remote. Agreements have two categories, Temporary FWA Agreements and Long-Term FWA Agreements. 

Temporary Flexible Work Arrangement Agreement (45 days or less) -  Requests by employees for episodic or non-recurring FWAs Agreements of less than 45 days may be approved by the employee’s immediate supervisor. These temporary arrangements do not require a FWA Agreement form entered in to HCM or completion of online training. No more then two Temporary FWA Agreements are permitted within the same calendar year. It is recommended the supervisor document start and end date of agreement. 

Long-Term Flexible Work Arrangements (Greater than 45 days) - Requests by employees for Flexible Work Arrangements greater than 45 days requires a FWA Agreement form and completion of online training. Long-Term FWA Agreements require VP approval through HCM workflow. 

 


 

Long-Term FWA Agreement Process

  1. Read University of Wyoming Flexible Work Arrangement Policy
  2. Have a conversation with your supervisor. Things to discuss include:
    • Experience with remote work/flexible schedules during the pandemic, if applicable.
    • The benefits of remote work/flexible schedules.
    • The details of your proposal.
    • Account for any potential problems that may arise.
    • Suggest a timeframe; you may consider a ‘trial period’ to see how well the arrangement works before committing to a longer time period.
  3. Flexible Work Arrangements that incorporate any element of remote work require training for employee and supervisor. FWA Agreements that do not include any element of remote work do not. 
  4. Complete mandatory training for remote work only:
  5. Complete the applicable Flexible Work Arrangement form.
  6. Submit completed form to your Decentralized Human Resources Representative, who enters Flexible Work Arrangement Agreement into HCM and initiates workflow.
  7. FWA Agreements can not extend past the calendar year. All FWA Agreements will require renewal at the beginning of each calendar year. 
  8. Any major adjustments to FWA Agreement will require submission of new form. 

Resolving Disputes

Disputes are inevitable; they are a fact of life. Situations may arise where the supervisor and employee either (a) cannot agree on whether remote work/flexible schedule is applicable, or (b) cannot finalize the terms of the arrangement.

 

In either case, the first step is to involve the supervisor’s manager. The manager is responsible for hearing both sides of the argument and rendering a decision. If this step does not satisfy both parties,the final decision-making authority will be the applicable Dean/Director (for Academic Affairs) or Vice President (for other Units) and HR will work with the final decision-maker, as necessary, to render a final, binding decision.


The Administration feels this process will ensure that every effort is taken to apply the spirit of this policy to the situation at hand.


Tips, Best Practices and Additional Training

If you're new to working remotely 100% of the time or even just part-time, this could be a significant adjustment. Below are some tips and best practices to help you adjust successfully to a flexible work arrangement.

 

What if you could be there more for your family, exercise outside in the daylight, prioritize important things that aren’t doable after hours, and choose how often you come into your office? Having work flexibility means that you have a say in how—and where—you get your work done. As part of a strategic business plan, work flexibility can actually help save a company money. So, how do you negotiate this win-win scenario at your current job? In the course, Negotiating Work Flexibility, (31 min) learn how to create and prepare to pitch a work-flexibility proposal to your boss or HR department. Find out how to build a compelling argument by identifying common work flex options, selecting the right type for your role, and conveying business benefits. Discover how to compare your needs with company policy and earn yourself a trial period.
Moving your workday from an office building to the quietest corner of your own home was likely jarring at first—but now, you've found your groove. Maybe you've even grown to like remote work. But with many organizations prepping for a hybrid work environment in which employees split their time between remote and in-person working, you'll likely need to adjust your mindset yet again. In the course, Enhance Productivity in a Hybrid Work Environment (17 min) productivity author and Emmy-winning producer Paula Rizzo shows you how. Learn how to revamp your productivity style to help you stay on task when switching between locations. Discover how to rethink your physical spaces so that they are mirrored at home and at work, as well as how to prepare both your regular and home office for productivity whenever you're working there. Plus, learn how to stay one step ahead of productivity challenges, including how to deal with new disruptions at home and in the office.
As millions of people head back to schools and workplaces, the world hopes for a return to normal. But work may never be quite the same. In the course, Navigating New Professional and Social Norms When Offices Reopen, join etiquette expert, Jodi Smith, as she shares tips, tricks, strategies, and ideas for making your return to the workplace as positive as possible. Explore how to navigate new expectations for social distancing, setting and communicating boundaries, and interacting with colleagues when offices reopen. Plus, learn tips for being flexible, reducing stress, and re-establishing relationships with coworkers.
You’ve settled into the rhythm of remote work. Having a full schedule of virtual team meetings, presentations, and even social events no longer seems quite so peculiar. But even at this stage, there’s so much more you can do to create a more engaged, positive, and inclusive environment for your remote team. In the course, Level Up Your Remote Team Experience, (37 Min) remote work consultant and educator Mike Gutman shows you how. Mike covers a variety of advanced strategies for working remotely, including how to transform a culture of micromanagement into a culture of trust; make your tasks, projects, and timelines transparent to other members of your team; and keep your team bonds strong by sharing your communication style and preferences. Plus, get tips for building empathy, embracing diverse working conditions within your remote teams, and creating a psychologically safe environment where people feel encouraged to bring their voice and ideas to the table.
Working from home removes distractions, but also eliminates important face-to-face interactions. Home-based workers often report feeling disconnected, isolated, and alone. The course, Building Relationships While Working from Home (22 Min) teaches us how to create professional yet personal connections with remote team members and how to satisfy that missing element of closeness that people get when they are together at work. Productivity expert Dave Crenshaw explains how to reach out to others, be authentic online, build a great reputation, and make meaningful connections with your peers. These tips are invaluable for anyone working from home—and particularly relevant for those working under the challenging conditions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Take the time to watch this course and invest the time and skills it takes to rekindle your most valuable relationships at work.
As we imagine a future after COVID-19, we have a chance to make some very different choices about work. We can make work engaging, sustainable, and blended into our lives, while also supporting well-being and human flourishing. Redesigning How We Work in 2021, offers guidelines for making strategic and human-centered choices to redesign how people work together at your company. Author, educator, and design strategist Lisa Kay Solomon explains how to reimagine leadership practices, help your employees feel supported and safe, and create a resilient culture, driven by shared purpose and trust. She helps you ask the right questions, so you can connect with the people you work with in ways that are truly authentic and empathetic.
Moving your workday from an office building to the quietest corner of your own home was likely jarring at first—but now, you've found your groove. Maybe you've even grown to like remote work. But with many organizations prepping for a hybrid work environment in which employees split their time between remote and in-person working, you'll likely need to adjust your mindset yet again. In the course, Enhance Productivity in a Hybrid Work Environment (17 Min) productivity author and Emmy-winning producer Paula Rizzo shows you how. Learn how to revamp your productivity style to help you stay on task when switching between locations. Discover how to rethink your physical spaces so that they are mirrored at home and at work, as well as how to prepare both your regular and home office for productivity whenever you're working there. Plus, learn how to stay one step ahead of productivity challenges, including how to deal with new disruptions at home and in the office.

Managers:

Managing flex or remote workers is an opportunity to grow and expand your skill set as a Manager. It is estimated that 30% of the workforce will be working from home by 2022. Managers that show competence in leading hybrid teams will be more in demand as the amount of organizations grow that hire remote workers  to staff their organizations. Managers that do not exhibit the ability to lead and manage remote worker could find themselves falling behind their peers and other line managers. 

This does not mean however that remote work is best for every worker or environment.  You must balance your employees needs against those of the mission and respond accordingly. Managing remote employees can be difficult. Managers will have to adjust to decreased employee visibility, and embrace software they may be uncomfortable with to manage your team. The video, Challenges to achieving high performance virtually (4m 22s) will provide quick tips on how to overcome these challenges. 

Employees: 

Flexible work arrangements can cut down on commuting costs, provide autonomy, work life balance and increase productivity. However, it is important to remain reachable, well organized and at times you may feel isolated from your team. The course Tips for working Remotely (28m) can help you to overcome these challenges. 

Managers:

Communicate often with your remote staff employees Consider which communication tool best fits the your teams culture—e-mail, texts, phone calls, video chats, and find that delicate balance between constantly pinging employees with texts and e-mail and radio silence. 

There will be questions; be accessible and provide clarity on priorities, milestones, performance goals and more. The video, Private chat in Teams (3m 16s) will show you a great way to stay connected with your remote workers. 

Employees:

It is essential for a successful remote working relationship that you supervisor and leadership can reach you easily in a consistent manner. Your boss needs to be confident that he/she can reach you on a moment’s notice should the need arise. For these reasons we suggest a conversation with your supervisor on how best to reach you through the day.

Using the Private Chat feature (3m 16s) in Microsoft Teams is one way you can maintain communication. If you have to step away from the computer let you supervisor know an alternate means to reach you. This could include text message or accessing Email through your phone. 

 

 

A quick 15 minute meeting at the start of each morning can help determine task priorities for the day and allow you and your manager to track progress on projects. Set dates that task will be accomplished by review dates and progress at your start of day meeting. The Video, Frequency and style of meetings (2m 48s) will help you and you team check in with each other, report progress and collaborate. 


Frequently Asked Questions

If your standard work location is not the Laramie Campus AND you are not requesting a flexible work arrangement from that location, no form or update of HCM is needed.

Examples:


Ron works at a research facility in Powell, WY. He has not requested to complete a percentage or all of his work away from that facility. Thus no flexible work agreement is needed. His assignment in HCM should remain at the default “On Campus” designation.


Sally works for the Casper Clinic. She works full time at the clinic with no remote hours. She does not need a flexible work agreement. Her assignment in HCM should remain at the default “On Campus” designation.


Note: Departments which are fully away from the Laramie Campus continue to be removed from the possibility of being included in 3% sample COVID-19 Testing, no matter their designation in HCM.


Tiffany works for a department that is mostly based on the Laramie campus, however she was hired to do 100% field based research in another state. Since Tiffany’s work agreement is fully in the field and she is not requesting a percentage of this work to be done away from the research location, no flexible work agreement or update of HCM is needed.


Note: Tiffany may get pulled into the 3% sample population for COVID-19 testing. She can opt out of this testing using the exemption form linked within the testing email.

At this time this policy only applies to benefited employees.
No, the flexible work arrangement form must be attached to the assignment change transaction when submitted. A future enhancement is planned to allow supervisors or DHRs to upload the completed form directly to an employee’s documents of records. However, until this is in place, the form must be attached to the assignment change.
Some employees were currently approved for Telework through UW's previous Telework Agreement Policy. UW will grandfather these agreements until December 31st, 2021. Employees that had a previous Telework Agreement will need to transition to a Flexible Work Arrangement at the beginning of the new Calendar Year.

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