What is Workplace Flexibility?

By: Aaronnette McFarlin, MSA

September 2017

 

What is Flexibility?
Flexibility refers to a variety of flexible work options that enable greater control over how, where and when works gets done. Working flexibly is not synonymous with telecommuting. Telecommuting is only one of many flexible work options. Below is a list of common flexible work arrangements that are used at Emory.

• Flexible Work Hours: when workday start and end times differ from the established  

   standard (8AM - 5PM), yet the same number of hours-per-day is maintained.   

   Example: 7AM-4PM.
• Compressed Work Week: allows an employee to work a traditional work week in less

   than five workdays. For example, working four 10-hour days instead of five 8hr days.
• Telecommuting: working from home or a remote work location.
• Shift Flexibility: allows shift employees to work with co-workers to adjust their

   schedules by swapping or trading shifts.

Finding the right flexibility for you
It’s important to keep in mind that not all jobs are suitable for all flexible work options. Approval of FWA should be based on job suitability and work performance, thus viewed as “reason neutral.” FWA require an acceptable level of performance and the ability to work independently, with minimal supervision.

When working flexibly, customer service levels should be no different from when working a traditional work arrangement. This means that there should be no difference in your level of professionalism or response times if you are working non-traditional hours or from a location other than your Emory office space. It also means that working flexibly should not adversely impact another staff member’s workload.

How to propose a FWA to your manager?
Prepare a written proposal and discuss the arrangement with your manager. Be sure to clearly understand your manager’s expectations around your flexible work arrangement, including how your performance will be evaluated, expectations around communication, meeting participation, technology requirements, etc.

Maintain strong communication and accountability with others by being as accessible and responsive to others just as you would be when working traditionally. It is always important to remain flexible with your arrangement. There will be things that come up both at work and in your personal time that will require you make changes from time to time. Remember, this is what working flexibly is about.

 

Additional resources:
• Emory WorkLife Resource Center - Resources and assistance to help with the

  management of work-life effectiveness including flexible work arrangements, raising

  a family, managing the care of an adult loved one, and financial education.

• Library Information Technology Services (LITS) - Resources and support are available

  to faculty and staff to maintain productivity and customer service levels while work

  flexibly. Tools are available to help with online collaboration, instructions for

  forwarding a phone, ensuring seamless communication and holding virtual meetings.

 

Questions – Contact Emory WorkLife Resource Center at (404) 727-8000.