The Office of Contracts and Grants (OCG) supports flexible work arrangements that allow employees to balance work and personal commitments while ensuring the operational needs of OCG are met, staying connected with the mission of the University of Colorado Boulder, and upholding and strengthening OCG’s office norms.
Along with the University of Colorado Boulder’s campus Guiding Principles for the work environment, OCG’s Guiding Principles are to:
- Embrace flexible work arrangements holistically for OCG’s people and the organization
- Establish the office primarily as a place for interaction and collaboration
- Honor work-life well-being of staff
- Promote the pillars of a high trust and inclusive culture
- Measure productivity through appropriate metrics
- Emphasize contribution and impact
- Meet and exceed stakeholder needs and expectations
Flexible work arrangements are agreed upon between the employee and supervisor and subject to approval of the Director of OCG and/or Deputy Director through the Flexible Work Arrangement Agreement Form. A flexible work arrangement is a business arrangement and not an entitlement. Operating a successful hybrid work environment is the responsibility of OCG’s leadership and all staff..
OCG allows the following flexible work arrangements:
Alternate Work Schedule – a variation from OCG's core hours in starting and departure times but does not alter the total number of hours worked by employee in a week. CU Boulder standard hours are 8am-5pm during the academic year (August-May) and 7:30am-4:30pm during the summer (June-July).
Hybrid Schedule – staff may work a combination schedule of in the office and remotely (one (1) to four (4) days) on a regular schedule.
Fully Remote Schedule – work conducted at home or another off-site location, for a specified number of hours per week or month, on a consistent basis. Dependent on business needs, staff may work fully remote on a regular schedule with the following limits and expectations:
Classified staff are required by the Colorado Constitution to reside in the state of Colorado, but they may work remotely from other states temporarily.
University staff are permitted to work remotely from anywhere in the United States.
International remote work is not allowed on a permanent basis. Short-term situations for working while abroad are addressed on a case-by-case basis with the supervisor and OCG Director and Deputy Director.
Managers are not eligible for out-of-state, fully remote arrangements.
Staff working fully remote outside of the state of Colorado are expected to meet with a benefits advisor to discuss healthcare and tax implications for their out-of-state location.
Occasional Use Flexibility – temporary change to start/end times or a work location that is agreed upon between a
supervisor and an employee to accommodate working on a short-term project, during inclement weather, emergency or
other situations. In consultation with their supervisor, staff may adjust their remote schedule to include more or fewer remote days than their baseline schedule and to accommodate temporarily working out of state. Temporary arrangements are made on a case-by-case basis and documented and approved between the employee and direct supervisor. Remote work arrangements lasting longer than 3 months require a Flexible Work Arrangement Form to be completed.
Reduced Schedule Options such as phased retirement, part-time or partial year appointment, medical leave/disability-related schedule adjustments, etc., all integrate flexible work practices. Note that part-time/reduced appointments may not be eligible for return to full-time appointments, as further explained below.
Staff members are eligible for flexible work arrangements upon employment and are dependent on the business needs of the office. The decision of position eligibility for flexible work arrangements is made prior to hiring new staff and may be included in job postings. Employees must have a Flexible Work Arrangement Agreement Form completed prior to beginning remote work or, for new hires, within two (2) weeks of employment.
Employees are expected to meet their annual performance plan and promptly discuss challenges regarding the arrangement with the supervisor and propose solutions. Remote work is a privilege and, therefore, also requires employees to be adaptable to adjusting their flexible arrangements to accommodate the needs of the office. See Guidance for Employees and Supervisors.
Managers are eligible for remote work arrangements, subject to the business needs of the office and the training needs of staff. Manager schedules are expected to support the flexible work arrangements of their staff, providing remote and in-office support to their team. Managers are expected to attend in-person Senior Leadership meetings and other strategic collaboration meetings as determined by the Director. Managers are encouraged to attend OCG social events. Managers are not eligible for out-of-state, fully remote arrangements.
OCG staff working a fully remote or hybrid schedule are expected to have a baseline work schedule, including standard work hours and work location as documented in the Flexible Work Arrangement Agreement. Staff have flexibility to deviate from their schedule, if needed, and with approval from their supervisor.
Staff are responsible for having a work site and equipment (telephone, internet, etc.) suitable for remote work and for operating costs, home maintenance and any other cost associated with the use of the home as an alternate work location.
University information security and records management and retention policies that apply at the regular University worksite, apply when the employee works remotely. Staff must use the VPN when working remotely.
Non-managerial staff with a remote work schedule may or may not have an assigned office space.
While attending work conferences and meetings, fully remote, hybrid remote and fully in-office staff are expected to have a backup for their daily work and to make attendance at and participation in the conference or meeting a priority.
It is anticipated that there may be 1‐2 times per year when OCG employees are expected to attend in‐person all staff events. Required in‐person events will be communicated as far in advance as possible.
OCG follows CU Boulder’s HR guidance with regard to travel and parking reimbursement as follows:
On-campus: Employees are not eligible to be reimbursed for parking on-campus or for mileage between the Boulder campus and their home. Employees may be reimbursed for parking and mileage for work-related travel to other destinations, such as other campuses if the distance is longer than their commute to the Boulder campus.
Hybrid: Employees are not eligible to be reimbursed for parking on-campus or for mileage between the Boulder campus and their home. Employees may be reimbursed for parking and mileage for work-related travel to other destinations, such as other campuses if the distance is longer than their commute to the Boulder campus.
This applies regardless of the frequency of the hybrid schedule.
The employee assumes the cost of travel to satisfy the hybrid schedule, including required department events or meetings.
Remote: Employees are eligible to be reimbursed for travel expenses including air or ground travel to the Boulder campus, lodging (if needed), on-campus parking and/or mileage and tolls to attend a required event or meeting on the Boulder campus. These events and meetings should be infrequent (i.e. no more than 1-2 times/year).
Office space within the ARCE building is allocated based on the following criteria:
- Managers are allocated an office, unless they are fully remote
- Fully remote staff are not allocated a specific space, but have access to temporary work stations if they come to the office
- Hybrid remote staff are allocated work spaces based on number of days in the office, which could include shared spaces with other hybrid staff or temporary space
OCG provides all hybrid staff with the following equipment for use in the office:
- Laptop computer (available for use at remote work location)
- 1-2 monitors (dependent on availability and number of days in the office)
- Keyboard and mouse (both may be used at remote work location)
- Docking station for workstations with 2 monitors (no dock needed for 1 monitor)
- Office supplies (office supplies are not shipped to hybrid staff)
**If available and budget allows, two monitors, a chair, and/or a docking station may be issued to hybrid employees working 3 or more days a week from home on a first come, first serve basis for use at their remote location.
Fully remote staff are issued the following equipment for use in their remote location:
- Laptop computer
- Two monitors
- Keyboard and mouse
- Basic office supplies
- Docking station
All equipment issued for fully remote staff is the property of the University and must be returned upon departure from OCG. Equipment will be returned to OCG at the employee’s expense.
A condition in the Flexible Work Arrangement Agreement Form for fully remote staff is the expectation to have backup equipment in the event that University issued equipment fails or the ability to come to the office for loaner equipment is not possible. Backup equipment should have access to necessary software (Office 365 or downloaded), VPN, systems, files, etc. Refer to OIT’s website for additional software information. Depending on availability, OCG may issue backup computers to out of state, fully remote staff.
The employee is responsible for operating costs, internet service, home maintenance, or any other cost associated with the use of the home as an alternate work site. In the event of an internet or power issue at your remote location, if you are unable to resolve an internet or power issue within a reasonable amount of time, the employee is expected to take leave for the period of time that they were unable to work. Contact your supervisor as soon as an internet or power issue is identified to work through resolution options.
If you have computer issues that prevent you from working, contact UIS and your Supervisor immediately to work through resolution options. Inability to work due to issues with university issued technology will not require taking leave.
Employees shall initiate the request for a flexible work arrangement with their immediate supervisor to discuss and outline how the proposed schedule will meet the requirements of their job description and the impact on the office and customer needs. The employee and supervisor should review all of the Flexible Work Arrangement Guidance and complete the Flexible Work Arrangement Agreement Form to be submitted to the Director and/or Deputy Director for final approval.
Occasional Use Flexibility must be documented in an email between the employee and supervisor. The email should address the dates/times of the work days and outline clear expectations about tasks, availability, reporting of work completed, etc. In addition, supervisors must confirm prior to approving Occasional Use Flexibility for remote work that the employee understands and meets requirements for remote work as detailed for hybrid work.
Supervisors are expected to thoughtfully review flexible work requests and arrangements by evaluating the individual’s performance, responsibilities and work style. Supervisors should coordinate with the Director of OCG and Deputy Director on flexible work arrangements to assure that best practices are implemented and determinations made in a manner that is fair, equitable and transparent for OCG staff.
Staff remote schedules should be reviewed on an annual basis, typically during performance planning, and changes will be allowed to increase/decrease days depending on OCG’s business needs or employee’s needs.
Part-time work refers to employees who work less than a full workweek with compensation and benefits adjusted accordingly. A part-time employee may work fewer hours each day of the workweek or fewer days per week. Part-time/reduced time requests can be considered for phased-in retirement, as a transition period after a major life event, return from long-term medical leave, or if an employee requests consideration for a reduced schedule through a formal proposal.
A flexible work arrangement for part-time/reduced time has some additional considerations:
- The employee and supervisor should be aware that the department budget may be impacted, and, therefore, the employee may not be able to return to full-time should funding not be available.
- It is important to carefully analyze the requirements of the job and the employee’s history of performance when assessing a proposal for part-time/reduced time.
- The business needs of the office, including the impacts on other team members, must be thoroughly evaluated when considering this arrangement. Reduction in work hours and the subsequent adjustment in compensation may change an employee’s exempt or non-exempt status, requiring potential changes in how an employee accounts for their time in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.
- Employees working part-time/reduced time must maintain a consistent schedule. Schedules should not vary from week-to-week.
Any flexible work arrangement may be withdrawn at any time by the supervisor or employee. Instances when a flexible work arrangement shall be withdrawn:
- A need for staff to cover business needs in the office.
- A change in position and the need to train for this position on-site.
- Loss of equipment listed on the employee equipment loan agreement.
- Performance issues with the staff member.
Employees must report to their local authorities any theft of CU equipment and/or furniture from their remote location. In case of injury, theft, loss or other liability in a remote office location, the staff member must allow agents of the University to investigate and/or inspect the work site. Reasonable notice of inspection and/or investigation should be given to the employee.
Job-related incidents or accidents that occur during work at home hours are to be reported immediately to the supervisor.
Costs of personal telecommunications equipment, computers, printers, residential insurance and utilities incurred by the staff member are the responsibility of the staff member. If OCG provides equipment and/or furniture the staff member is responsible for safe transportation and set-up of such equipment and/or furniture.
If any University equipment is lost or stolen, the Supervisor and Manager of Operations must be informed of the loss, and they will cooperate with the University on the investigation, including timely completion of and forms needed. A University Claims Adjuster will determine if the equipment is covered by insurance. Depending upon the Claims Adjuster’s determination, the staff member may be responsible for the deductible or computer and/or furniture replacement.
The employee will be responsible for:
- any intentional damage to the equipment and/or furniture;
- damage resulting from gross negligence by the employee or any member or guest of the employee's household;
- damage resulting from a power surge if no surge protector is used.
Failure to exercise due care with university property is considered a performance management issue and will result in a letter of expectation issued to the employee.
All staff must be aware that under Colorado law, University records and work-related communication stored on personal devices are considered public records. If a record relates to the performance of public functions or involves the receipt or expenditure of public funds, then it is a public record regardless of how it was created or where it is stored.
To the extent that remote work is done on a personal device and creates such a record, then the work is considered public record and accessible through a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request. Purely personal records (e.g.emails or other documents that are unrelated to the employee’s public functions) are not a public record under any circumstance, regardless of where they are stored or created.
Nonexempt employees are covered by the overtime and record keeping (e.g. electronic timekeeping) requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA defines overtime as any hours worked by a non-exempt employee that exceed 40 hours in a standard workweek. At CU Boulder, overtime pay is based on any hours paid that exceed 40 in a standard workweek. The standard CU Boulder workweek begins on Sunday 12:01 am and ends the following Saturday at 11:59 pm. If there is a holiday or you take leave in a work week, you will be paid additional standard pay not overtime pay.
Therefore, as flexible work schedules are being considered, non-exempt employees and their supervisors must take these overtime implications into account. The employee and supervisor should clearly outline how time will be recorded in a flexible work arrangement. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to ensure that the flexible work arrangement adheres to the requirements of FLSA and does not create overtime situations that have not been approved by the Director.
Exempt employees are not covered by the overtime and record keeping, e.g. electronic timekeeping, requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Therefore, there is inherent flexibility in work scheduling for them. Even though the law allows this latitude, exempt staff members must discuss specific scheduling arrangements with their supervisors and obtain their approval.
Hybrid teams require more care and attention to be effective than co-located teams. To this end, OCG has the following expectations for OCG staff to uphold our department’s culture and to make our hybrid office an effective place to work.
Trust – OCG’s office norms and flexible work arrangements are based upon a culture of high trust among the staff, between managers and direct reports, and with campus partners. OCG staff are expected to work and communicate in ways that build and keep trust.
Core Hours – CU Boulder’s standard hours are 8am-5pm during the academic year (August-May) and 7:30am-4:30pm during the summer (June-July). Each team within OCG is expected to have sufficient staff coverage during CU’s standard hours. Individual staff hours may vary. Routine schedules outside core hours require Alternative Work Schedule approval through the Flexible Work Arrangement Agreement Form.
OCG Campus Office – OCG staff can successfully perform the majority of OCG’s transactional work from remote locations. We recognize the importance of in-person interaction for developing relationships, informal training opportunities, and unstructured collaboration. OCG provides space and opportunities for in-person interactions, and the office is primarily used for collaborative work.
Inclusion – An inclusive work environment is a top priority and requires intentionality, especially in a hybrid work environment. The following resources and practices are some ways to encourage inclusion:
- CU Boulder’s HR provides numerous inclusion resources, including tips for making remote engagement and meetings more inclusive.
- Consider including your preferred pronouns on Teams, Zoom, and in email signatures
- Consider adding an acknowledgement to your email signature that the CU Boulder campus resides on the homeland of Indigenous peoples. Example: Located on the traditional territories of the Arapaho, Cheyenne and Ute peoples
- Use virtual meeting best practices.
Communication – Communication is essential to the success of a hybrid organization. The expectations around OCG-wide communications are as follows (Quick Guide to Communication Channel Use and Norms is an additional reference tool):
- Email is a primary mode of communication in OCG for internal and external needs
- Email signatures are required and should include contact information, hours (if different from CU Boulder’s standard hours), and any other pertinent contact specifications such as known absences for vacations, etc.
- A response is expected according to OCG’s Email Norms and Tips
- Out of office messages with backup contact(s) should be used when away from work or unable to respond to emails
Outlook Calendar expectations:
- Staff keep their Outlook Calendars up to date with meetings and days out of office
- Calendar specifics are shared with other OCG staff dependent on comfort with level of detail shared (view busy times, view meeting details, etc.)
- OCG has a CU phone number issued to all employees, including fully remote employees, that can be utilized for both incoming and outgoing calls through Microsoft Teams
- Messages can be forwarded to another phone
- Set up voicemail and check voicemail in Teams
- Cell phones are not issued nor are employees reimbursed for the use of personal phones for business purposes
- Refer to OCG’s Communications Options and Ideas for additional phone communication resources
- OCG staff will not use Google Voice due to security concerns
Microsoft Teams expectations:
- The OCG All Staff Teams site is used for Frequently Used Documents, links to OCG OneNote libraries, repository of current working groups and committees, and team or project channels for collaboration
- Teams is encouraged as the preferred tool for shared documentation editing
- Teams is available to all of campus, is supported by OIT, and is the primary application for phone and chat for all CU Boulder faculty, staff and students
- Teams has integrated chat, video call and Outlook calendaring features that show your Teams status as busy in tandem with blocked times in individual Outlook calendars, Outlook out of office notifications, and the ability to add a status message
- Since Teams is the primary phone and chat application for all of campus, it is important to check Teams regularly for messages or to set up your phone and chat to prevent the perception of non-responsiveness, which may include:
- Slack is used for community building and for work-related business through various channels and direct messaging
- OCG Teams and functional groups (ex. Logging) have Slack channels and agreed upon response expectations for those channels
- All employees are members of their functional team, general, random, ask-an-expert and help Slack channels
- There are no mandatory response requirements for Slack
- Employees manage their participation in channels, and expectations for use and responsiveness of team or project specific channels is determined by the team
Video Calls (Zoom & Teams) expectations:
- Zoom is provided by campus OIT and used for larger meetings, including OCG All Staff and Stand-up meetings
- Zoom or Teams may be the preferred video call option for different units on campus
- Zoom or Teams calls may be required to connect verbally in place of phone call
- The use of video is encouraged during meetings, however it is understood that there are times when that is not feasible
- When using Zoom in the office in a shared office space, use headphones to avoid interrupting office mates
- For times when your video is off during meetings, have a profile picture uploaded to Teams and Zoom so meeting participants “see” you without seeing you
- Mute yourself when you are not speaking
Asana and Trello expectations:
- Asana and Trello are project management tools used by various OCG teams for projects, collaborations and/or team meetings
- Use of and expectations around Asana and Trello use is determined by each group and should be clear to all group members
- Posting statuses and calendars provides transparency about when and how we’re accessible and helps connect remote and on-campus team members
- Err on the side of over communication of your schedule
- Statuses can be included in Outlook signatures, Slack, and white boards outside of offices
- Teams status will reflect your availability on your Outlook calendar
- Both Slack and Teams have the ability to add additional status information
Meetings – Meetings are a regular part of connecting for work related projects, collaboration, social connectivity, etc. The following are intentions, expectations and meetings practices for creating effective and inclusive meetings in a hybrid work environment:
- OCG’s large meetings are generally held virtually to allow for maximum participation
- All staff are expected to attend weekly Stand Up and monthly All Staff meetings in-person or virtually. Exceptions for attendance include paid time off, sick leave or other business reasons as discussed with your supervisor.
- Functional teams have a set meeting cadence and expectations for attendance. Periodic in-person meetings are encouraged.
- Agenda is provided in advance to all attendees
- All participants review agenda, complete any pre-work and come prepared for meetings
- All participants, regardless of location, attend and participate
- Meeting organizers need to consider how meetings will be held (in-person, hybrid or virtual) and ensure that the meeting invite is clear about the expected mode of the meeting
- Meetings start and end on time
- The length of time needed for meetings fits the type of meeting and topic – strive for shorter increments, such as 15, 30 or 45 minutes as possible
- The right people are in attendance for the topic(s)
- Meetings are a safe space for questions, conversation and discussion
- Every meeting has a facilitator to manage the meeting, including starting and ending on time, moving through the agenda, consciously ensuring everyone has the opportunity to contribute, and following up on items after the meeting ends, as needed
- Hybrid meetings have a technical facilitator to watch chat, to ensure remote staff are logged on, and to speak up if remote staff are not being heard
- Remote attendees are responsible for contacting the technical facilitator or others in the meeting if they are having internet issues, this can include having another meeting attendee to share on their behalf if they are unable to connect
- In virtual meetings, OCG staff are encouraged to turn on their cameras as much as possible and feasible. Video calls help people interpret emotion (you can see some body language), build rapport, and show up for the conversation, all of which help build trust.
Social Activities – OCG holds a variety of social activities throughout the year and will host both in-person and virtual events. Fully remote staff may not be able to attend in-person events but will have opportunities to gather socially through virtual events.
Senior Leadership Review – OCG’s senior leadership team reviews OCG’s flexible work guidelines and assesses effectiveness of the remote work culture in meeting OCG’s mission and upholding office norms at least annually. Senior Leadership will make updates and adjustments as needed.
New Hires – New Hires are provided with interview, training and onboarding in-person, virtually, or a mix according to the new hires’ flexible work arrangements. Managers ensure that new hires have the opportunity to meet all of OCG’s staff in some format within the first six weeks of joining OCG. OCG staff may need to adjust remote schedules to accommodate for new hire onboarding and training, making considerations for in-person meetings, especially at the beginning of employment to help establish relationships. Schedule adjustments are made in coordination with supervisors.
- Create and participate in social interactions with co-workers whether fully or partially remote or in the office.
- Ask, who’s missing and how we can bring them into the fold.
- Build interaction, not just transaction.
- Engagement is your choice, not something you wait for others to do for you.
- Participate in meetings and projects.
- A successful hybrid office demands that all staff take responsibility for engaging in our work and mission.
- Everyone balances work and personal lives. Respect boundaries when scheduling meetings.
- Use the tools, statuses, and alerts to let others know when you are away during specified times so they can plan accordingly.
- Be mindful of biases, including those that are unique to remote work (proximity and location bias, visual bias)
- Combat microaggressions in interactions with other staff
- Consider including pronouns with your name on Teams and Zoom
Build and Maintain Relationships
- Make reaching out to others a priority.
- Use multiple communication channels.
- Make time for conversation.
- Assume positive intent.
- Go first.
Support “Not Camera Ready” Times
- While video use is encouraged during virtual or hybrid meetings, there are times when it is not feasible for a variety of circumstances. It is 100% ok to turn the video off as needed.
- Do try to have a profile picture so others can still “see” you.
Set Boundaries & Take Care of Yourself
- Make it a priority to take care of physical and mental health needs including standing up frequently, staying hydrated and getting sleep.
- Block time on your calendar for lunch or breaks AWAY from your workspace.
Prevent Video Fatigue
- Use time limit boundaries for meetings, recognizing video fatigue is real.
- Shift to 15,30, or 45 minute meetings as much as possible.
- Ensure breaks are incorporated for unavoidable longer meetings.
- Pick up the phone as an alternative to a virtual meeting or agree to video off calls.
Set clearly defined, measurable benchmarks with your supervisor and agree on expectations so that you can
Clearly communicate your capacity to take on work, both your limits and your ability to expand your responsibilities.
Something as simple as sending updates, even unsolicited, demonstrates you are actively working toward organizational
goals and achieving results.
Cooperate with co-workers. Employees may need to consistently, and politely, remind coworkers of their schedule, since coworkers don’t always remember. Be clear about your inability to make a meeting if your schedule conflicts, and rather than taking it personally, accept that it may take some time for everyone to adjust to the new arrangement.
Calendar your remote schedule in Outlook and post your schedule appropriately (eg, office white boards, email signature line, Outlook calendar, and Slack) so that there is a clear understanding of how and when to contact each other. Make sure anyone who might need you knows exactly when they can get you, what to do if they feel it's urgent, and how long it will be before you return their voicemail or e-mail message.
Modify your voicemail greeting to provide callers with information on how they can reach you, who to contact in an emergency, and when they can anticipate your returned call.
Must be present at key meetings and trainings as discussed with supervisor. OCG will make remote attendance an option whenever possible.
Be flexible and adaptable. Supervisors/colleagues won't always be able to work around your schedule. If you are on a flexible schedule, you may have to come in on some days that you ordinarily work from home or take as a day "off." These occurrences should be expected, especially in the event of crucial meetings. You should discuss these with your supervisor in advance.
Reschedule your day/time off or away from your worksite, if necessary, so you do not miss office social events or key times of the year (eg, large deadline days, state and federal fiscal year end). In-person interactions are key as business often gets accomplished during informal settings, whether planned or not.
Request feedback from your supervisor for at least the first few weeks on how the flexible work arrangement is working and then monthly or quarterly after the initial period.
Set up an off-site work environment that is conducive to a remote work arrangement.
Secure child care/elder care, as needed, that allows you to successfully fulfill your job duties.
Have in place a backup plan in the event that issues with your technology prevent you from being able to work (laptop issues, internet service interruption, etc). This may include having a personal laptop available, driving to the office for employees within driving range, and/or working with team members for work coverage.
Take responsibility as a remote employee for your career growth, engagement with your team and OCG, and providing feedback on remote work and solutions for issues that may arise. A successful hybrid office takes the efforts of every OCG team member.
Set clear expectations. Define the normal working hours within which the flexible work arrangement is to occur or when the employee can work outside those hours. Clearly define productivity standards and expectations. This may mean setting response time expectations for departmental and PI inquiries, establishing an “average” number of actions to be completed per week or month, etc. Clearly define how work completed should be reported. Providing parameters can minimize performance-related issues down the road.
Focus on results. Supervisors who successfully manage employee performance use a results-oriented approach with metrics to measure achievement. Supervisors are expected to make intentional efforts to keep remote staff engaged and to avoid location bias. Supervisors will define staff success by job design and outcomes; hours, visibility (face time), process and location are not measures of success. Business outcomes, employee productivity, relationship building with campus partners, and engagement are what make a difference in the work environment.
Make a decision. Supervisors need to make sure that the work of their unit is being accomplished in a timely manner and with solid results. Supervisors need to determine whether the work that is being done can be accomplished in just as an effective (or more effective) manner by utilization of a flexible work arrangement. They should take performance evaluations into consideration, as well as reliability and work styles.
Plan and communicate. Consider the potential improvement of business/department needs when assessing remote work schedule proposals from employees. Develop systems and structures that allow employees to respond to ever-changing work demands, such as having a back-up plan for coverage and communication. Communicate consistently about standards for accountability, quality and timeliness.
Include employees. Include employees in the development and improvement of the department’s flexibility offerings. When arrangements are made, clearly communicate them with all employees, so that they fully understand their role and how their work lives will be impacted, as well as the remote work options available. Ensure that the schedules and arrangements of all members are kept current on the master OCG schedule spreadsheet.
Business requirements. Decisions about flexible work arrangements should be based on the employee’s ability to achieve required business outcomes in the context of the team, upholding OCG’s culture and office norms, and ongoing business requirements.
Touch base regularly. Let your remote employees know that they are still a part of the office and that you are available to help resolve issues and see that things are running smoothly. Contact your staff by email or Slack throughout the day. An employee with an active, supportive manager is much more likely to perform better than one who feels disconnected from the office. Reach out regularly with specific feedback. Regular one-on-one meetings with direct reports is expected.
Remote worker engagement. A successful hybrid office is the responsibility of all OCG staff members. Supervisors should lead engagement efforts. To engage fully remote staff with OCG and to assist with communication between remote and on-site staff, supervisors should consider partnering fully team members with on-site team members.
Create a supportive environment. Managers should find creative ways to promote an environment in which all employees feel supported to request flexibility.
Utilize performance management tools. Management of poor performance should be addressed in a timely, constructive and ongoing way, not as a newly-introduced reason to refuse a request for flexibility. Performance-related concerns should be addressed separately, if the cause of the problem is not related to the flexible work arrangement. Reward a job well done and give staff the tools they need to improve on areas that may need improvement. By showing your employees that you are invested in their success, they will be more likely to give you their best effort.
Conduct quality assurance monitoring. Ensure high performance, accountability and uniformity by establishing QA standards for your team and conducting routine QA monitoring. Set metrics for your group and the expectations you have for each staff member. Communicate the expectations.
Duty to document. To assure all types of work arrangements are handled and managed equitably across the office, a supervisor has the duty to document performance issues, such as a staff member’s non-accessibility, negative feedback from campus partners, and instances of the staff member’s failure to meet performance measures. Performance issues can happen under any type of work arrangement, and it is the responsibility of the supervisor to address issues under all circumstances.
Eligibility. When granting flexible work arrangements, focus on objective eligibility criteria (e.g., position, discipline history, performance record, business needs), rather than the reason for the request, to avoid unconscious decisions that may have legal implications.