Remote and Flexible Work Arrangements Policy
Policy Area: Human Resources
Policy Title: Remote and Flexible Work Arrangements
Submitted Date: August 1, 2021
Effective Date: March 04, 2022
Submitted By: Human Resources
Approved By: President’s Cabinet February 2022
Policy Owner: Human Resources
Primary Impact On:
Full-Time, Salaried Staff; Faculty should consult with Faculty Handbook; union employees should consult with the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The Remote and Flexible Work Arrangement is a discretionary agreement between Albion College and an employee that may include modifications to a work schedule, work location, and other arrangements that differ from a department’s usual operating standards and practices. Where applicable, Albion encourages supervisors to permit reasonable adjustment to these established standards and practices where the institution’s interests are achieved. This policy is intended to address regular flexible work arrangements, not occasional instances, such as working from home for a day or two due temporary circumstances with supervisory permission. The ability to work remotely is a privilege, not an entitlement and is granted at the sole discretion of Albion College.
Albion College recognizes that the nature of work is evolving. We have experienced how working remotely or with flexible schedules can promote high productivity, enhance creativity and innovation, support health and well-being, and create a dynamic work experience. The purpose of this policy is to describe the types of remote and flexible work arrangements that may be available to Albion’s staff members, the process for evaluating a request for a remote or flexible work arrangement, and the approval process for such a request.
Remote and flexible work arrangements are based on the specific needs of the unit at that particular time and the ability of the individual employee to work effectively in such an arrangement. With remote and flexible work arrangements staff members are better able to schedule work around their personal obligations and responsibilities. This can lead to an increased sense of personal control and greater workplace satisfaction.
- Flexible schedule: A flexible schedule refers to an arrangement that permits variations in starting and departure times, but does not alter the total number of hours worked in a work week.
- Compressed work week: A compressed work week refers to a schedule where the total number of hours worked each week are conducted in less than five (5) full workdays. The most common compressed schedule is four 10-hour workdays per week.
- Remote Work (Telecommuting): Telecommuting refers to an arrangement that allows an employee to work at home or from another off-site location for a specified number of hours per week.
This policy applies to all staff employees except where assignments are governed by collective bargaining agreements. Any employee seeking a flexible work arrangement must make a written request to their supervisor using the Flexible Work Arrangement Request Form. All flexible work arrangements will be reviewed annually and are subject to change as a result of performance concerns or operational needs of the College. Classifications for flexible and remote work will be included in job descriptions; subject to review.
While supervisors are encouraged to be flexible regarding sporadic individual needs (e.g. medical appointments, personal needs), remote or flexible work arrangements agreements should only be used to formalize an ongoing change to work schedule, location, etc.
All staff positions are classified into the following two categories of flexible-work eligibility. Classifications will be noted on job descriptions and are subject to review. Positions designated as flexible eligible are not automatically approved for flexible work arrangements.
- Fixed schedule: The job duties are tied to a fixed schedule and must be performed during standard times during the week. Staff in positions with this classification will not be eligible for flexible work arrangements. With supervisor’s approval and based on the operational needs of the College and the classification of their positions, employees in these jobs may request remote work arrangements.
- Flexible eligible: While some job duties must be performed on a fixed schedule, a portion can or should be performed outside that schedule. Generally, work can be done off-schedule without loss of productivity, but some work requires in-person collaboration with or service to others at predictable times. It is expected that flexible work arrangements may be available in cases where such arrangements meet the operational needs of the College.
Flexible-Work Classifications are based on the following criteria:
- The position has job functions that can be performed at non-standard times without diminishing the quality of the work or disrupting the productivity of a unit and the College.
- Performance can be measured by quantitative or qualitative results-oriented standards.
- The position can be effectively supervised asynchronously.
- The position either does not have job functions that require synchronous interpersonal interaction, or these interactions can be scheduled for specific times.
- Collaborations and teamwork on a fully or mostly synchronous schedule are not necessary for the overall functioning of the department
All staff positions are classified into the following three categories of remote-work eligibility. Classifications will be noted on job descriptions and are subject to review. Positions designated as hybrid eligible or fully remote eligible are not automatically approved for remote work arrangements.
- On-Site: The job duties cannot physically be performed remotely and are required to be performed on campus. Staff in positions with this classification will not be eligible for remote or hybrid work assignments. With supervisor’s approval and based on the operational needs of the College and the classification of their positions, employees in these jobs may request flexible/compressed work week arrangements provided such arrangements do not lead to overtime pay.
- Hybrid eligible: While most job duties are required to be performed on campus, a portion can be performed remotely. Generally, work can be done off-site without loss of productivity, but some work requires onsite presence and/or in-person collaboration with other team members. Employees with approved hybrid arrangements must work from an Albion College location at least 1 day per week unless the operational needs of the department require otherwise.
- Fully Remote eligible: All job duties of the position can be performed remotely in a non-Albion College work location (e.g., employee’s residence) without disruption to other staff and work productivity levels. It is expected that remote work arrangements may be available in cases where such arrangements meet the operational needs of the College.
Remote-work classifications are based on the following criteria:
- The position has job functions that can be performed at a remote site without diminishing the quality of the work or disrupting the productivity of a unit and the College.
- Performance can be measured by quantitative or qualitative results-oriented standards.
- The position can be effectively supervised remotely.
- The position has a minimal or flexible need for specialized materials or equipment available only at the regularly assigned Albion College work location (this includes interaction with colleagues, supervisors, clients, and external parties, such as vendors).
- The position either does not have job functions that require in-person interaction, or these interactions can be scheduled for specific days.
- Collaborations and teamwork in the same office locations are not necessary for the overall functioning of the department
- The confidentiality and privacy of the work being performed is not at risk of being compromised if performed in a non-Albion College work location (whether electronically, physically or otherwise). Additional assessment will be conducted when the employee is working with personally identifiable information (“PII”) or personal health information (“PHI”).
Any employee seeking a remote or flexible work arrangement must make a written request to their supervisor using the Remote or Flexible Work Arrangement Request Form.
- Types of remote or flexible work arrangements (See Relevant Definitions or Classifications Section):
- Flexible Work Arrangement
- Flexible schedule
- Compressed work week
- Remote work (telecommuting)
- Remote Work Arrangement
- 100% Remote
- Flexible Work Arrangement
- Reason for request
- Employee’s plan for meeting the responsibilities of the position
- Work schedule (hours, days, etc.) including time on/off campus
- Proposed start date for arrangement
Depending on the classification of a position, an employee may be eligible to apply for both a hybrid or remote work arrangement and a flexible work arrangement.
If an employee in an eligible position requests approval for remote, hybrid, or flexible work, the supervisor, in consultation with their Division Head, will determine whether the employee is eligible. Generally, in addition to the criteria listed above for each type of arrangement, the following additional conditions must be met to approve an employee for a remote, hybrid, or flexible work arrangement:
- Remote, hybrid, and/or flexible work will not have a negative impact on other employees and/or departments.
- Employee received an overall “Meets” or “Exceeds Expectations” performance evaluation immediately preceding the request. (The employee must maintain this rating).
- Employee has no active disciplinary actions on file for the current or immediately preceding period.
- The employee can maintain a safe work environment.
- Employee has access to all necessary work equipment to perform their duties.
- Employee can ensure confidential and private information remains confidential and private and secure from intrusion (both physical and electronic protections).
- The arrangement does not compromise a department’s ability to maintain appropriate in-person staffing levels during standard operating hours and peak/busy periods including whether the department can continue to meet its standards for service and staff availability
- Employee must ensure that they will not perform work unrelated to their position at the College if they are permitted a remote or a flexible schedule during the established work schedule parameters of the arrangement
- Tool: Flexible Work Arrangement Discussion Worksheet
While each department and division is structured differently, the supervisor must discuss the request with the relevant Cabinet member prior to implementation. After consultation with the employee’s supervisor, the appropriate Cabinet member, together with Human Resources the President or designee, must approve any Remote or Flexible Work Arrangement in the respective division before the arrangement can be implemented. If approved, the employee will receive a copy of the Remote or Flexible Work Arrangement Approval specifying the terms and conditions for the Remote or Flexible Work Arrangement (copy to Human Resources).
The existence of a Remote or Flexible Work Arrangement does not alter an individual’s employment relationship with Albion College or the employee’s obligation to observe all applicable College policies and procedures. If granted a Remote or Flexible Work Arrangement, the staff member’s duties, responsibilities, and conditions of employment remain unchanged.
If a request for a Remote or Flexible Work Arrangement is not approved, the supervisor will inform the employee of the reasons for the decision.
Remote or flexible work arrangements are subject to periodic review and approval by the supervisor. When operational needs of the department require a change or cancellation of the arrangement, notice of at least 10 business days will be provided. If at any time the remote or flexible work arrangements are not in the best interests of the College, they can be discontinued at the College’s discretion.
An employee who disagrees with a denial of a request for a remote or flexible work arrangement or any other action relating to this policy is encouraged to first discuss the concern with their supervisor. If the discussion with the supervisor does not resolve the issue, an employee may request an informal review of the decision by a Human Resources Representative.
As a member of the Albion College community, you share in the responsibility for ensuring the College complies with data protection and privacy laws, regulations, and industry standards, as well as College policies and standards that require security safeguards around sensitive institutional data. Data security expectations include:
- Using College-issued technology resources (e.g. laptops), if issued
- When using personal devices:
- Utilize VPN
- Do not store College files with Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or other sensitive information/data on personal devices. Alternatively, store data (including PII and PHI) on Google Drive while logged into your work account
- Use a variety of communication platforms (e.g Google Hangouts/Meet, email, phone) ensuring the appropriate vehicle for sharing sensitive information
- Resource: Telecommuting Guide
Consequences for Violating this Policy
Failure to comply with this and related policies is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Violations of this policy may result in the revocation of a Remote or Flexible Work Arrangement or disciplinary action for an employee found to be performing work for another position or not in furtherance of the College’s interests, or found to be managing work that is not on behalf of the College. The existence of a Remote or Flexible Work Arrangement does not alter an individual staff member’s employment relationship with Albion College or the employee’s obligation to observe all applicable College policies and procedures.