Develop a Communications Plan a Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA)

When developing flexible work arrangements, it is important to determine when, where and how you are available to your manager, customers, and coworkers. There are personal issues, as well as business ones, to consider. You should consider the questions below and whether you want coworkers, customers or other parties to have different access to you on days when you are not at work. You should review your answers with your manager to develop a communication plan.

Clearly, not all of the questions below apply to every work situation. Address the ones that are most applicable to your job responsibilities.

How and When to Reach You

  1. When you are not in the office, how are you accessible?
  2. When are you available for calls - which days, what hours? Are there specific hours when you must be available?
  3. Have you informed others how and when you can be reached? (You might want to prepare an email or memorandum with the appropriate contact information (telephone, fax, email, etc.) on it for your manager as well as for your work group.)

Customers (Internal or External)

Before agreeing on a alternative work arrangement, you and your manager should consider the effects the new schedule has on your customers. If possible, discuss the new arrangement with your customer. Here are some points to consider:

  1. What is the best way to communicate with your customers (such as when, where and how you can be reached, who can be reached in your absence)?
  2. If there are additional people with whom the customer will be working, would it be helpful to set up a meeting to make the introductions?

Messages

  1. Where can messages be left?  (Voice mail number, home answering machine, etc.).  In order to minimize confusion, we recommend that you limit the number of places you need to check messages.

Meetings

  1. On days when you are not working, are you available for meetings in person when necessary? What contingency plans do you have in the event there is short notice for a meeting?
  2. Are you set up to participate in meetings by phone?
  3. Have you and your supervisor agreed on when staff meetings are scheduled?

Information

  1. Have you informed people about where critical information is kept? (keys, computer access, files, calendars, etc.)
  2. Are necessary computer files shared with others who might need to access them?
  3. If you’re working away from your work site, how can you access information you might need?

Receiving Feedback

  1. Have you encouraged your supervisor, coworkers, customers and other to give you feedback on how the new work schedule is working for them?

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