Frequently Asked Questions for Managers
All arrangements should be piloted for a period of 90 days before a regular agreement is implemented. The supervisor and staff member must include regular reviews of the arrangement to decide what is working and what needs to be improved or enhanced.
The supervisor can terminate or amend the agreement based on a number or reasons, including operational changes, staffing changes, leadership changes, performance, etc. If the termination or amendment to the arrangement is not a mutual agreement, the supervisor must provide at least two-weeks notice in writing to the staff member.
The grievance procedure does not apply to decisions regarding telecommuting requests.
Yes. Since every job, staff member and situation are different; it cannot be assumed that the same decision is appropriate for two similar positions. Supervisors know the operations of their department/unit(s) best and are responsible for final decisions on how to get the work accomplished. But keep in mind that supervisors have the authority to say yes or no to a telecommuting arrangement, or to postpone consideration of a telecommuting arrangements to another time.
It is in the supervisor's interest to consider individual scheduling preferences and to make the best effort to respond to these to avoid reduced productivity or the challenges and costs of turnover. However, a supervisor may make working remotely or telecommuting an arrangement for an entire unit or department to meet organizational needs.
Combining the day-to-day demands of a job while trying to attend to the care of a loved one long term is a recipe for failure. It is expected that the time of day designated as working for Duke is 100% focused on the Duke role and that others are attending to the needs of loved ones during that time.
The staff member should discuss this with his or her supervisor at least 30 days prior to the date he or she wishes to resume the previous schedule. The supervisor may or may not be able to approve the request, depending on the needs of the business unit.
The staff member and the staff member's new supervisor should discuss the situation and determine if the staff member's current telecommuting arrangement is appropriate for the new position and department. The staff member may have to complete a new telecommuting agreement form.
Either the staff member or the supervisor may suggest a telecommuting arrangement. The staff member and the supervisor are encouraged to discuss their needs and to work together to develop the best possible arrangements for their situation.
There is a strong business case for telecommuting arrangements. The benefits include:
- Increased productivity: recent studies indicate that productivity of employees working remotely was as high or higher than working on-site before the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Improved retention and staff commitment: staff may remain with an employer longer have a higher level of commitment when an organization provides access to telecommuting arrangements
- Cost savings: reduced staff turnover, training costs and possibly accommodation costs contribute to improving competitiveness.
- Improved recruitment: more flexibility can attract potential staff members when vacancies arise, especially in a situation where applicants can make comparative evaluations of job offers; skilled and experienced people may be attracted back into the work force, and a match can be achieved between skills and current market shortages.
Reasons for the requests should not be used as the only factor in making a decision. If the staff members' requests are similar in terms of their ability to continue to meet job requirements, seniority and performance may be factors in determining which request to approve. The supervisor may ask the staff members for input into a solution that would enable the staff members to meet their individual needs as well as the needs of the business unit.
If staff members work at home as an established telecommuting arrangement, then supervisors should set up a structured system for management. The emphasis will focus on the completion of tasks rather than based on time. Performance measures should be agreed and then monitored. Communication is very important for those working at home.
All decisions should be focused on organizational needs and objective criteria related to work performance and job demands. A consistent approach to analyzing the situation should be applied. Then, it is important to communicate to each requestor the decision and its rationale. Documenting the basis for these decisions is always a good idea in case questions arise later. Staff and Labor Relations can help you develop objective criteria to use and a strategy for communicating your decision.
This may vary by department/school/entity. If you are a supervisor who has been asked to review a flexible work arrangement request and you are not sure if other leadership staff should be involved in the evaluation process, consult with your supervisor.
Yes. Please recall though that all hours worked must be reflected as worked time and overtime must have advance approval by the supervisor.