Practical Guidance for Creating Flexible Work Arrangement Strategy and Agreements

Talking Points

Following are general talking points for supervisors when engaging in conversations with employees about flexible work arrangements:

  • This is a remarkable university of teaching, scholarship, creative work, service, and community.
  • Our goal as a university community is to deliver a full residential learning experience to students.
  • The full learning experience includes in-person learning and provisions of a wide range of direct and indirect campus, research office and extension office services.
  • OSU is committed to creating a work culture supportive of the health, well-being, and achievement of all employees and sees flexible work arrangements as an opportunity to provide our diverse workforce with work options that both advance the business needs of the university and the success of the individual employee.

Supervisor Checklist for Supporting Flexible Work Arrangements

Once a flexible work arrangement is approved, a Flexible Work Arrangement (FWAA) form needs to be completed.

  • Flexible work arrangements are more successful when employees and supervisors communicate clearly about expectations. The following checklist will help you establish a foundation for effective teamwork and continued productivity.
    • Discuss the specific flexible work arrangement the employee is seeking; i.e. fully remote, hybrid, or irregular/flexible work schedule.  Remote working sometimes gets confused with flex work. Be clear about your expectations with employees for maintaining their current work schedule or if you are open to an irregular schedule based on the employee and unit needs.
    • Draft a work plan. Review the questions below with the employee and work through answers together.
      • What routine responsibilities/tasks cannot be fulfilled within a flexible work arrangement? How will a flexible work arrangement impact operations or other people? What are ways to reduce the impacts?
      • What routine responsibilities/tasks require regular communication and collaboration with others? Proactively contact team members and campus partners to confirm how communication will occur if the employee participates in a flexible work arrangement.
      • Often employees experience fewer interruptions while remote working. Are there any special projects or tasks that you could advance if the employee’s were to participate in a flexible work arrangement?? What events or meetings are scheduled during the time in which the flexible work arrangement is in place? How does the employee plan to ensure the event(s) and/or meeting(s) are successful?
      • What office space is required, private, shared private, individual workstation or a shared workstation, to successfully complete position functions?
    • Make a communication and accountability plan. Supervisors should establish with employees how often they are expected to send updates on work plan progress and what those updates should include. Supervisors should also communicate how quickly they expect the employee to respond while working fully remotely, hybrid, or an irregular/flex work schedule and the best ways for the employee to contact the supervisor. Maintain team meetings and one-to-one check-ins, altering the schedule if needed to accommodate approved flexible work arrangements.
    • Conduct regular check-ins. Start each workday with a phone, video, or instant message chat. Your employees will be eager for connection and information and The structure will help everyone create a positive routine. Connecting every other day or weekly may be fine, so long as you are in contact frequently and consistently enough that your employees are in sync with you and with one another.
    • Review technology needs and resources. Identify technology tools staff use in their daily work and determine whether the resources will be accessible when working remotely and ensure employees know how to access your team’s local technical support should they need assistance.
  • Be positive. A positive attitude toward fully remote, hybrid and/or irregular work schedules and a willingness to trust employees to work effectively is key to making such arrangements successful and productive, while instilling a sense of trust in employees. Flexible work arrangements  present an opportunity for managers to become better supervisors. Instead of focusing on how many hours your employees are working, re-emphasize a focus on measuring results and reaching objectives—regardless of work arrangement. The employee’s completed work product is the indicator of success, rather than direct observation. By focusing on the employee’s work product, managers will improve their organizational abilities and their own skill in managing by objectives.
  • Review and assess. Ongoing review and assessment of the unit’s flexible work arrangement strategy and of each employee’s individual flexible work arrangement creates opportunities for improving the success of the unit and the employee. Generally, a flexible work arrangement should not exceed an academic or calendar year and should be reconsidered annually.

Supervisor Flexible Work Arrangement FAQs

Yes, if the supervisor and unit leadership agree. Flexible work arrangements are assessed and approved by the employee’s supervisor and unit leadership. Approvals are based on suitability for remote work, hybrid work, and/or irregular/flexible work schedule, unit on-site operations and service goals, and equity of opportunity across the team or like positions, as appropriate.

No. However, it is important that when reviewing a flexible work arrangement request from an employee the following items are considered:

  • Suitability for remote work, including whether all or some of the position’s responsibilities can be completed remotely
  • Unit on-site operations and service goals
  • Equity of opportunity across the team or like positions (as appropriate)

A supervisor who feels that the work being performed is best suited for on site  is not required to approve a request to work fully remote or hybrid.

Yes. The Practical Guidance for Creating Flexible Work Arrangement Strategy and Agreements is a document intended to provide campus leadership with guidance and structure for evaluating the suitability of flexible work arrangements for a specific position, for the unit, and for meeting the unit’s goals.  

If an employee has expressed the need for a flexible work arrangement  related to an accommodation, the employee must be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity & Access (EOA). EOA will work with you and the employee to assess potential accommodations based on the essential elements of the position and applicable legal requirements.

If an employee would like to work remotely as a result of health concerns, please refer the employee to seek an accommodation through the Office of Equal Opportunity & Access (EOA).

No. For short, limited and non-reoccurring remote work requests, fully remote or hybrid, a Flexible Work Arrangement Agreement is not needed. The supervisor should document via email that the employee has approval to work remotely for the short, limited period of time. Please keep in mind that not all work can or should be performed remotely.

Yes, a Flexible Work Arrangement Agreement must be completed. The supervisor and the employee should discuss the details of the plan that considers and establishes the operations of the unit, communication mechanisms, expectations of individual, regular check-ins and more.

Yes. Supervisors and unit leadership are able to approve flexible work arrangements, fully remote, hybrid, and/or irregular schedules for their employees with unit leadership approval. In such situations, a Flexible Work Arrangement Agreement will be required.

If a supervisor has specific questions or situations they would like to strategize they can reach out to their HR Strategic Partner.

Assure employees that flexible work arrangements do not impact compensation. Encourage employees working remotely  to enroll in direct deposit for payroll and reimbursements. For those who receive a paper paycheck, the check will be mailed to the Current Mailing address listed within MyOregonState.edu and it is the obligation of an employee to make sure this Current Mailing address is accurate.

Yes, supervisors and unit leadership are able to approve part-time and full-time remote work during fall 2021 with unit leadership approval. In such situations, a Remote Working Agreement will be required.

If a supervisor has specific questions or situations they would like to strategize they can reach out to their HR Strategic Partner.

Employees working remotely are encouraged to enroll in direct deposit for payroll and reimbursements. For those who receive a paper paycheck, the check will be mailed to the Current Mailing address listed within MyOregonState.edu and it is the obligation of an employee to make sure this Current Mailing address is accurate.

The language used in this page should not be constructed as creating a contract of employment between Oregon State University and employee.