Flexible Work Arrangements in Practice

Generally speaking, a Flexible Work Agreement will begin for an initial “trial period” of 3-6 months and will be evaluated using the Flexible Work Arrangement Evaluation Form (also found in the Planning Packet) in order to evaluate its effectiveness and make adjustments as necessary. If this initial period is successful, a Flexible Work Agreement should be reviewed at least on an annual basis for applicability both from an employee and organizational perspective. If the arrangement is not working, the Flexible Work Agreement can be modified or revoked. 

Considerations for Managers

As a manager, you agreed to the Flexible Work Arrangement, so you are also responsible for making it work with your staff members through...

  • setting clear expectations

  • promoting collaboration among the team

  • checking in regularly

  • monitoring effectiveness

  • providing feedback

You should also work with each employee to communicate the Flexible Work Arrangement to clients, coworkers and management who may be affected by the new schedule.

Set Clear Expectations

Follow the same approach you would in managing in-office employees. Define clear expectations and communication expected results, quality of work, deadlines, and any other criteria that might affect the successful completion of duties. Link outcomes and deliverables to organizational goals. Use the Flexible Work Arrangement Agreement to formalize expectations.

Promote Collaboration

Actively foster a sense of cohesiveness among your team, including those with flexible work arrangements. Cultivate a sense of teamwork by setting goals for everyone to strive and meet together, and recognize everyone together when those benchmarks are reached. Work to make sure your employees with flexible work arrangements feel they are a vital part of your team.

Check in Regularly

When possible, schedule weekly in-person meetings to stay connected. If you cannot meet weekly in person, set up a phone or virtual meeting. During these meetings, discuss work items to assess progress. By meeting on a regular basis, your workers can plan tasks accordingly and you will stay informed. Productivity increases because regular check0ins come with built-in consequences for failure to execute on expectations.

Monitor Effectiveness

Establish regular intervals (~every 90 days-6 months, but no less than annually after the initial trial period) to evaluate the effectiveness of the Flexible Work Arrangement, assess needs of the business, the wellbeing of the employee, and discuss potential concerns. Use the Flexible Work Arrangement Evaluation tool to assist you. If something is not working, adjust the details of the Flexible Work Arrangement. In a Flexible Work Arrangement, as in any work situation, measuring employee results rather than their activities is more efficient and effective.

Provide Feedback

Regular feedback is vital to the success of a Flexible Work Arrangement. Give feedback just as you would with any employee. It should be direct and offer examples of where the employee is meeting, or failing to meet, expectations. Good communication between supervisors and employees is essential for successfully completing work and is especially necessary in a flexible work environment.


Managers must be comfortable with and prepared to manage the flexible arrangement or it won't work. It is also incumbent on all of us to hold our staff accountable if performance suffers and to be engaged in managing and documenting expectations, this includes being prepared to revise or revoke a Flexible Work Arrangement. Managers can improve chances of a successful Flexible Work Arrangement by:

Achieve Together coaching model

  • Focusing on the organizational benefits derived by supporting flexible work arrangements, including reduced turnover and increased productivity, equity, belonging and commitment.

  • Thinking of jobs in terms of roles and performance, and measuring performance by results rather than through direct observation and time in the office.

  • Supporting the concept verbally and through personal modeling of balanced work practices.

  • Making an effort to work through problems and/or obstacles that may arise.

  • Assuring that written documentation of the arrangement is in place with signatures by all involved parties, including Business Unit/Division leadership.

  • Revising or even reversing a plan if it is not serving the individual’s or organization’s needs.

  • Consulting with their own managers and People & Culture as needed.

In order to help managers to anticipate and prepare for the challenges that might arise, managers should complete the Flexible Workplace Training Series which will be offered live in June 2021 and recorded.  

Considerations for Staff

Staff members should review the “Conversation with Your Manager Guide” and “Flexible Work Arrangement Proposal Template,” before entering into detailed discussions with managers.  If a Flexible Work Agreement is executed, staff members must:

  • remain accessible

  • check in with the supervisor to discuss status and open issues

  • be available for online meetings (e.g., Zoom), with cameras turned on as a standard practice

  • be available to come into your on campus work spaces if a business need arises.

  • request supervisor approval in advance of working any overtime hours (if the employee is non-exempt)

  • request supervisor approval to use vacation, sick, or other leave in the same manner as when working at employee’s regular work location

  • update and utilize bCal or other shared resources to reflect status, availability and contact information

  • be able to work the hours agreed to by the Manager. Any deviations should have pre-approval by the supervisor

Remember, you are proposing this Flexible Work Arrangement, so it is important to be responsible for making it work with your manager and your colleagues. Work with your manager to create a communication plan to share your new arrangement with your colleagues and clients.  After the arrangement has commenced, regularly touch base with your manager to ensure that they are comfortable with the arrangement, and if not, identify solutions to these challenges.

Considerations for Faculty

Faculty have long enjoyed relatively flexible working arrangements, including many that are now newly available to other employees, as stated in this Flexible Work Arrangement Toolkit. A separate document which clarifies faculty-specific guidance related to flexible work arrangements can be found here.