Research shows that the demographics of the workplace has changed dramatically over the past 20 years and will continue to change in the future. The demand to balance work and home has left most employees feeling drained and unproductive. It is because of these demands that the University introduced flexible work options. For some departments this is not a new option. For others it is an interesting proposal, but some procedural questions must be answered. Following is Wharton’s policy and procedures for flexible work options.
Flextime is the most common option used by employers and employees. Flextime is defined as flexibility in start and end of the workday. There is a designated core time during the workday that all staff must be present. Wharton’s policy is that all offices must have at least minimum staff present during normal business hours, 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Typical start and end times for a 35 hour workweek under flexible work times are:
7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
It is not recommended that employees skip lunch and leave an hour early.
Flextime is subject to the department approval. If an employee’s request for flextime does not agree with the department needs, the request must be denied.
If an employee wants to request flextime they should submit a written request to the manager. The manager should contact Anna Loh, Sr Director, to confirm the arrangement meets the School’s practices. Once approval is secured, the manager should confirm the arrangement in writing to the employee. The letter should clearly state that the arrangement will be reviewed a minimum of every three months and a maximum of every year and continuation is contingent upon a favorable review of the situation and business needs that support the arrangement. It must also state that the arrangement can be terminated at any time, and for any or no reason, by the manager. A copy of the letter should be forwarded to Wharton Human Resources for the employee’s personnel file.
Flexplace allows an employee to work from his/her home during a portion of the workweek. For example, an employee may work at home one day a week and in the office the remaining four days.
A manager should answer the following questions before considering flexplace:
- Does the employee have the technology and a hazard free work space at home to do the job?
- Does the employee have the type of duties/responsibilities that can be carried out at home?
- Does the employee need supervision while conducting his/her job?
- Does the employee’s work history support such an arrangement?
- How can I measure the results of the employee’s work from home?
- Is the employee’s presence needed in the office for support?
- Does it make good business sense to allow this employee to work from home part of the time?
If a manager and/or department head agree that an employee can be as productive working from home a portion of the week, they must request approval, in writing, from Anna Loh. If approved the manager will be contacted by Wharton Human Resources and can then confirm the arrangement, in writing, to the employee. The letter must state that the arrangement will be reviewed a minimum of three months and a maximum of one year from the start date and can be terminated at any time, and for any or no reason, by the manager/supervisor. A copy of the letter should be sent to Wharton Human Resources for the employee’s file.
Compressed Work Schedule
A compressed work schedule condenses a traditional 35-40 hour, five day work week into fewer than five days, usually three or four. The work day becomes longer, but the work week becomes shorter. A department head/manager cannot agree to an employee’s request without first securing the approval from Anna Loh. The employee’s requests and final approval must be done in writing. This arrangement must be reviewed at a minimum of every three months and a maximum of every six month. Renewal of the agreement must also be approved by Anna Loh. A copy of the approval letter should be sent to Wharton Human Resources for the employee’s file.
Job-sharing is when one full-time position is split between two employees. The two employees sharing the job are regular part-time with pro-rated salary and paid time off. The part-time benefits package applies to this arrangement. Before a position can be considered eligible for job sharing, approval must be secured from Wharton’s Vice Dean of Finance and Administration and Director of Human Resources.
The above options can be helpful in many situations. They can allow an employee more flexibility in juggling their hectic work and home life and also allow a department to meet their business needs. Flexible work options do not work in all situations. However we encourage you to review the options and consider them for your staff. Consultation with Wharton Human Resources will help you decide if these options can work for you.