Flexwork for Employees: Understanding Options

 

You’re thinking about discussing your flexible work options with your supervisor, but you’re not certain where to begin? Review our tips below to prepare for your upcoming conversation with your leader.  

 

Use the jump links below to navigate to the sections below. 

 

 

Determine if Your Job is Eligible for Any of Our Flexible Work Options

For many, telecommuting is the first flexible work option that comes to mind when thinking about various work arrangements; however, the Flexwork Arrangements Policy offers a variety of options employees and supervisors can consider, including compressed workweek and flextime, in addition to telecommuting. To determine if you should request telecommuting as a flexible working arrangement, consider the following:  

  • Does your job require face-to-face contact with internal or external stakeholders?  
  • Does your job require hands-on contact with on-site resources?  
  • Would remote work hinder the achievement of organizational goals?  
  • Is your job student-facing? 

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, it may be challenging for you to telecommute; however, it can still be a potential flexible work option if you and your supervisor agree on a solution that meets your unit’s needs. In addition to telecommuting possibilities, you may also want to consider flextime or compressed workweek. 

Create Your Optimal Flexible Work Arrangements Plan

After reviewing the flexible work options and answering the questions above, begin preparing your proposal to your supervisor. As a best practice, you may want to include the following details in your proposal:  

  • How you plan to perform your job responsibilities in a flexible work arrangement 
  • How you intend to communicate with your supervisor/team and any expectations you have in their communication with you 
  • What equipment you will need  
  • Your proposed work schedule 
  • Optimal communication and collaboration tools you will use   
  • List of any accessibility tools you require  
  • Perceived benefits to the organization and team your arrangement will provide  
  • Performance evaluations that positively reflect your work  
  • Any other relevant factors you feel support your proposal  

To assist you in answering some of the questions above, you may also want to complete the Team Blueprint tool to assist in collecting your thoughts.  

Schedule a Conversation with Your Supervisor

In an upcoming 1:1 conversation or at an alternative designated time, present your flexible work arrangement idea to your supervisor. People managers are asked to embrace flexibility in cases where employees can perform their job duties remotely without interruption to services that affect students and research. Additionally, they are encouraged to consider how best to serve student and research needs through non-traditional schedules and online opportunities. As you engage in the process, supervisors should reflect on the following guiding principles as they make decisions regarding the various types of flexible arrangements:

If, after discussion with your supervisor, you feel one of the guiding principles was not adhered to, please engage your HRBP or HR College Representative in the process. Not all flexible work arrangements will be feasible or approved based on Institutional need.  

Confirming Your Flexible Work Arrangement

  • Once a flexible work arrangement has been agreed upon, complete the necessary documentation.  

  • As an employee, ensure you communicate and document both yours and your supervisor’s expectations regarding your flexible work arrangement. Ensure you reference these expectations often and be prepared for a conversation with your supervisor if expectations are not met.

Setting Yourself Up for Success

Your flexible work arrangement has been approved! Now that you may be working in some type of remote capacity, it’s important to remember the following tips to help you get to work while at home:  

  • Define your workspace - Experienced teleworkers will tell you that it is often difficult to stay focused at home. We are creatures of habit and most of us are used to our normal home routines. Establishing a workspace, even if it is your kitchen table, gives your brain a cue that it is time for work. Wearing attire that you may wear to the office even if it is your “casual Friday” attire may cue the brain. You should remain capable of reporting to work if your presence is requested by your supervisor. 

  • Master the basics 

  • Learn how to access your voicemail from home. 
  • Know how to remote using the VPN and other online tools you use regularly, which is a requirement for remote work at Georgia Tech. 
  • Use Microsoft Teams and any other collaborative tools your team employs to stay connected to colleagues. Plan for video calls/meetings by making sure you know how to turn on your computer’s camera and microphone and be aware that your colleagues may be able to see the background behind you.  
  • Set daily goals, track them, and share your progress - You may be surprised by how differently the workday passes without the comings and goings of an office to break things up or influence what you do next. Start each day of telework by writing down what you need to achieve and then track your progress. Pay attention to how long tasks take and start adjusting your daily goals to match your current rhythm. Communicate with your supervisor and/or colleagues if you think your flexible work arrangement needs to be adjusted. 

  • Eliminate distractions - Home can mean pets, children or a favorite hobby are only a few feet away. Depending on your living arrangement, you may need to hang a “do not disturb” sign so your family members don’t interrupt you. Pets often need a closed door to keep them away and you might need headphones to block the noise. 

  • Prioritize privacy - Whether you are in your home or a common area, take five minutes to assess the privacy of your workspace. Can someone standing behind you read your computer screen? Are your windows open so your neighbor can hear your phone call? What information do you need to secure before grabbing a cup of coffee or heading to the restroom? Your personal privacy matters too, so see if there is anything around you that you would not want visible during a video conference with your boss or colleague. 

  • Continue to employ security best practices 

  • VPNs allow you to safely connect to a remote network of computers as if you are there. 
  • You are expected to observe all security procedures and policies which can be accessed through our Cyber Security Policy.  
  • If you experience a security incident, report the incident to our Cyber Security team
  • Remain vigilant for security concerns; report suspicious emails to phishing@gatech.edu
  • Stay connected - Feel confident calling or messaging an employee who is teleworking anytime you would walk to their office or call them if you were working on-site. It’s imperative remote and hybrid employees remain connected to the greater campus community to keep them engaged and thriving. 

  • Take breaks – It's important, not only for your physical health but also your mental health, that you take periodic breaks during the day while working from home. Get outside, walk your family pet, make a healthy lunch and eat it away from your desk – whatever you can do to ensure you take breaks throughout the day to recharge and decompress.  
     

 

Managing Hybrid Team Meetings

Most likely with a flexible work arrangement, there will be times you are on campus and required to organize a meeting with others who are working remotely. Managing hybrid team meetings can be successfully accomplished once you understand best practices and space capabilities across campus. 

Visit Georgia Tech Professional Education’s resource guide for effectively managing hybrid team meetings.