Guidelines for Flexible Work Options at Penn
Flexible Work Options (FWOs) respond to significant changes at work and at home. Educational and research environments have not been immune to these changes. We feel their influence more strongly at Penn now than ever before.
Examples of these changes are:
Flexible work options respond to these issues by supporting efforts to manage the demands of work, personal commitments and individual needs.
National surveys repeatedly show that workers seek flexibility as the key response to the competing demands of work and personal responsibilities. Many corporations with formal flexible work programs have reported increased productivity and reduced absenteeism and turnover. A recent research study found that the number one work factor correlating with workforce commitment was management's recognition of the importance of personal and family life and support for these obligations. This commitment directly affected productivity and retention.
This week, the Division of Human Resources is posting on their web site, www.hr.upenn.edu/quality/, detailed information on flexible work
options, including examples of flexible work and suggested step-by-step instructions for implementation. This month, all faculty and staff will receive an introductory guidebook on flexible work options via intramural mail.
The following training sessions are being offered by the Division of Human Resources Office of Training to help staff understand and utilize FWOs.
* Managing A Flexible Workforce--for first-line supervisors and middle and upper management. This will offer preparation for introducing and utilizing FWOs to benefit the goals of the organization, and provide insights into the subtleties of managing flexible work arrangements.
* Flexible Work Arrangement Proposals--offers staff an opportunity to assess the appropriateness of flexible work arrangements considering work style, work responsibilities and the needs of the organization; and coaching on how to develop a flexible work options proposal that outlines how it will work and how the organization will benefit.
These trainings are available the following dates and times:
Please see www.hr.upenn.edu/trainreg/ to register for these sessions.
FWOs offer alternatives to getting work done through non-traditional work hours, locations and/or job structures. They offer creative approaches for completing work while promoting balance between work and personal commitments. The decision to implement a flexible work arrangement rests with the first line supervisor and School/Center leadership, who must approve the plan and be prepared to manage the work under the conditions of the arrangement.
Flextime: The most requested, easiest to manage and the most affordable FWO, Flextime offers flexibility in the beginning, middle or end of the day. Typically, there is a designated time during which all staff are present, referred to as the core time.
Flexplace: This arrangement allows for a portion of the job to be performed off-site, on a regular, recurring basis, usually at the worker's home.
Many assignments are not suitable for a Flexplace arrangement, either because of the type of work to be done, the need for frequent supervision, the lack of necessary technology at home, or the need to be a presence in the office. In addition, studies have found that some individuals do not like the isolation of a Flexplace arrangement.
Flexplace does not connote the professional or management practice of working at home after hours to work on reports or presentations or to catch up on reading.
For University purposes, Flexplace is not intended to represent an off-site work arrangement implemented by the organization to meet organizational goals. This is referred to as a telecommuting arrangement. It requires use of equipment and technology and most or all of the work is performed away from the office.
Compressed Work Schedules: A traditional 35-40 hour work week is condensed into fewer than five days of work. This option is more easily applied to non-exempt (weekly paid) staff for whom work hours are tracked. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires weekly paid staff to receive time and a half pay for work over forty (40) hours in a week.
Part-time work is a regular hiring arrangement for between 17.5 and 28 hours a week. Part-time workers are differentiated from temporary workers, who are employed for fewer than 1000 hours in a fiscal year with an expectation of a short term relationship with the University.
Job sharing allows two staff members to share the responsibilities of one full-time position, typically with a prorated salary and paid time off. A job share arrangement is different from a part-time position which has a workload that can be managed within 17.5 to 28 hours a week. Innovative schedules can be designed to meet the needs of the job sharers and the office.
Note: If one position is scheduled for less than 17.5 hours a week, it becomes temporary and cannot retain regular part-time status.
For additional information on flexible work options, please see the Division
of Human Resources Quality of Worklife Programs web site: www.hr.upenn.edu/quality/.
Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 16, January 12, 1999