Requesting a Flexible Work Arrangement

Staff Member Role

First, staff should use the Flexible Work Readiness - Self-Assessment to help determine if they are ready for a Flexible Work Arrangement and think through how it might affect their business unit.  

Second,staff should develop a Flexible Work Arrangement Proposal (available in the Flexible Work Arrangement Planning Packet) for the manager’s consideration. 

This gives the requesting individual the opportunity to assess the appropriateness of the arrangement by considering the needs of the organization, personal work style and capabilities, work responsibilities and demands of the job. This proposal will serve as the basis to discuss possible flexible work arrangements with a supervisor. We recommend that employees review the “Conversation Guide with Your Manager” prior to meeting to discuss their proposals.  If approved, following the discussion, the staff member will draft a Flexible Work Agreement (available in the Flexible Work Arrangement Planning Packet) outlining communication plans, implementation, and how it will impact both the employee and the work unit. 

Manager’s Role

Managers should make sure that all of their employees are aware of the Flexible Work Arrangement options and initiate conversations with their employees on this subject. This responsibility falls to managers because many employees may not feel comfortable to make such a request and we want to be sure that every eligible employee has the opportunity to request a Flexible Work Arrangement if they are interested. Please remind employees that requesting a Flexible Work Arrangement (or using one) will not impact their performance evaluations or the opportunities for career development and advancement. Managers should also be aware of their own implicit biases and ensure that they are equitably encouraging engagement on the issue of Flexible Work Arrangements and equitably granting them. Any changes to Flexible Work Agreements must be done with thought, reason, and both written and verbal advanced notice.

Managers are responsible for establishing standard practices for their group or unit, which are consistent with campus-wide guidelines. Flexible Work Arrangement Proposals should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by evaluating the needs of the business unit and its internal and external clients, the individual’s performance, responsibilities, and work style. Each Flexible Work Arrangement must fit both the person and the position. Managers should look at the duties/responsibilities outlined in the employee’s Job Description and note the work that can be conducted remotely and the work that cannot. 

NOTE: For parents that are required to provide childcare at home because of COVID-19-related closures and/or restrictions on schools/childcare, a request to work remotely should be granted unless the manager can demonstrate that such a request places an undue burden on the business unit. 

Flexible Work Agreements must be signed by the employee, the immediate supervisor/manager and department head. However, because Division leadership ultimately has responsibility for the performance of the business unit, managers should be sure that their leadership supports the arrangements that are being made.

To support managers, we have created the Manager Flexible Work Arrangement Checklist and Communication Plan that serves as a guide when considering requests for a Flexible Work Arrangement. The checklist also helps ensure that you and your staff have a clear understanding of each other’s expectations, that you have acted equitably and in the best interests of your department and its clients, and UC Berkeley.