Workplace Flexibility

To support your ability to manage your work and personal responsibilities, Emory encourages flexible work options for employees when possible.

Benefits of a Flexible Workplace

Workplace flexibility supports many key initiatives that make Emory a desirable place to work allowing us to attract, retain and sustain a diverse, talented and healthy workforce.

A flexible work environment:

  • Reduces commute times and traffic congestion
  • Improves parking on campus
  • Attracts and retains talent
  • Supports work-life effectiveness
  • Demonstrates a commitment to the well-being of our employees
  • Increases engagement and productivity
  • Strengthens our commitment to sustainability
  • Improves business continuity
  • Promotes diversity and inclusion

Flexible Work Options

A variety of flexible work options enable you to have greater control over how, where and when your work gets done. The chart below describes the many different types of flexibility options and the benefits and challenges of each.

Definition

  • Flexibility in traditional start and finish times (working 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.), as well as meal breaks which accommodate the needs of employee.
  • Also referred to as flextime or flexible work hours, this is the most common form of flexibility.

Benefits

  • It's easy to implement, with no direct cost.
  • Increased coverage or expanded office hours.
  • Eases commuting difficulties.
  • Ability to align organizational needs with employee needs.

Challenges

  • Depending on the agreed arrangement, could result in occasional understaffing or availability issues.
  • May not provide supervision at all hours.
  • May create difficulties in coordinating project schedules, special meetings, etc.
  • Working outside of core business hours.

Considerations

  • Establish clear work expectations and degree of desired formality.
  • Manage performance by results.
  • Determine means of communication.
  • Ensure coverage meets business needs.
  • Employee may be required to work core hours determined by department needs.

Definition

  • A change in schedule that allows an employee to complete work of a traditional work week in less than five workdays. Example: a full-time employee could work four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days.
  • For non-exempt employees, working more than 40 hours per week will result in overtime.

Benefits

  • Eases commuting difficulties.
  • Provides employees with larger blocks of time off.

Challenges

  • Longer working hours can be more challenging and productivity could be problematic for some.
  • Administrative complexity (such as timekeeping).
  • May not provide supervision at all hours; occasional understaffing could occur.
  • May create difficulties in coordinating project schedules, special meetings, etc.
  • Availability on scheduled day off could be problematic depending on position.

Considerations

  • Establish clear work expectations and degree of desired formality.
  • Manage performance by results.
  • Determine means of communication.
  • Ensure coverage meets business needs.
  • Consult with your HR Rep or the HR employee relations department regarding leave and overtime policies.

Definition

  • A regular or temporary arrangement of working from home or another agreed upon site for all or a portion of employee’s schedule of work hours.
  • For non-exempt employees, the remote access to clocking in offsite must be arranged.

Benefits

  • Less interruption and enhanced productivity for tasks that require focus.
  • Encourages a results-driven work environment.
  • Provides a feasible alternative for business continuity and space utilization issues.

Challenges

  • May not be feasible for all jobs.
  • Not all employees thrive in a telecommuting work environment.
  • Possible liability issues regarding at-home sites.
  • May create difficulties in coordinating project schedules, special meetings, etc.
  • Libraries and Information Technology Services (LITS) does not support teleworkers/remote employees working on personal devices due to potential security issues.

Considerations

  • Establish clear work expectations and degree of desired formality.
  • Manage performance by results.
  • Determine work location and set-up.
  • Determine means of communication and test in advance.
  • Ensure coverage meets business needs.
  • Have a back-up communications plan.
  • Need for ongoing flexibility.

Definition

  • Similar to telecommuting in that an employee works from a work station outside of the office. Typically a remote worker does so all of the time and rarely reports in-person to an on-campus office.
  • This may include an employee who works in another state or country.

Benefits

  • Less interruption and enhanced productivity for tasks that require focus.
  • Encourages a results-driven work environment.
  • Increases the candidate pool and attracts and retains specialized and highly sought after talent.
  • Supports diversity in the workplace such as retirees, employees with disabilities, etc.

Challenges

  • May have implications of financial or legal liability.
  • High level of comfort with technology is necessary to ensure strong communication.
  • Proven track record of strong performance is recommended for employees working 100% remotely.
  • Supervisors of remote workers should be very comfortable managing performance based on results.

Considerations

  • Consult with HR's employee relations and benefits departments regarding potential legal implications, benefits coverage and eligibility. This is especially important if the employee is working in another country.
  • Establish clear work expectations and degree of desired formality.
  • Determine work location and set-up.
  • Determine means of communication and test in advance.
  • Ensure coverage meets business needs.

Definition

  • An employee who works a reduced work schedule (less than 40 hours per week)
  • Job sharing allows two staff members to share the responsibilities of one position. Approval for this type of arrangement is dependent on job suitability and identifying ideal job share partners.

Benefits

  • Supports diversity in the workplace such as parents, caregivers, students, retirees, etc.
  • Provides opportunity to attract and retain talented people who prefer to work part-time.
  • Can help with business continuity when needs exist to adjust the workforce in order to effectively manage high/low workloads, such as when someone is on leave or extended vacation, seasonally, etc.

Challenges

  • Effective communication between full and part-time staff or job share partners can be challenging and requires thoughtful planning.
  • In cases of job sharing, both parties should agree up front that if one of the job partners is not meeting the needs of the organization or decides to leave the job, the other reverts to a full-time schedule, permanently or until a replacement partner is found within a reasonable time frame.

Considerations

  • Salary and benefits may be impacted as a result of a change in work schedule. Regular employees working less than 20 hours per week are not eligible for most benefits.
  • Employees changing their work schedule should consult with their HR Rep and the benefits department to discuss the impact on benefits eligibility.
  • A consultation with HR's employee relations department may also be beneficial, particularly if there is a need for a change in job duties as a result of the change in work hours.

Definition

  • The ability for shift workers to trade shifts with each other.
  • Frequently used by non-exempt hourly shift workers and by nursing and medical staff.
  • Swapping shifts can be managed manually or electronically with planning tools available in the marketplace.

Benefits

  • Valid flexible work arrangement for non-exempt hourly workers and other staff with limited options to choose.
  • Provides autonomy to workers enabling them to better manage their work and personal responsibilities.

Challenges

  • Can be difficult to manage with large numbers of staff if done manually.
  • Planning tools typically have a fee associated with them.

Definition

  • A flexible work arrangement that allows an employee a gradual return to work after being on leave (example parental, personal, medical) and work a reduced number of hours for a period of time, eventually returning to their original work hours.
  • May involve fewer hours and/or modified duties based on a structured return to work plan.

Benefits

  • Helps employee re-adjust to full attendance and performance at work after a prolonged absence.
  • Allows for return to work much sooner and settle back into a normal routine.
  • Research shows that it improves overall well-being.
  • Allows transition and supports family friendly work practices.
  • Potential for reducing costs by getting employee back to work earlier and by reducing the need for other workers to cover their work or utilizing a temp.
  • Reduces errors by allowing an employee to gradually return to work instead of rushing back to work at a demanding or strenuous pace in which he/she may not be ready for yet.

Challenges

  • Requires managerial planning with employee in advance.
  • Difficulties can arise with recovery which can change plans.

Considerations

  • Requires strong communication between employee, manager and colleagues.
  • Pay schedule and leave time will need to be sorted out in advance.
  • Consult with HR's benefits department regarding the return from medical leave on a reduced schedule and the impact of a reduced schedule on benefits costs and eligibility.
  • Consultation with HR's employee relations department may be helpful in advance.

Definition

Refers to a broad range of flexible retirement arrangements, both informal practices and formal workplace policies, which allow employees approaching normal retirement age to reduce the hours worked or work for their employers in a different capacity after retirement.

Benefits

  • Flexible work arrangements that allow the user to juggle competing non-work responsibilities (e.g., providing care to a family member).
  • Opportunity to transition into retirement rather than make an abrupt exit from the workplace.
  • Ability to stay connected to the organization and contribute.
  • Provides increased income for those whose retirement funds are insufficient.
  • Can foster ways to retain experienced workers, especially those who hold critical positions who may be difficult to replace.
  • May reduce costs associated with hiring and training new employees.
  • Supports succession planning.

Challenges

Requires significant advance planning (1+ year in advance) by the employee, department, manager and human resources (employee relations and benefits)

Considerations

  • Employee will need to initiate a conversation and seek out guidance in planning.
  • Salary and benefits will likely be impacted as a result of a change in work schedule.
  • Consult with HR's benefits department regarding the impact of a reduced schedule on benefits costs and eligibility while working and in retirement.
  • Advanced planning with manager, HR Rep, employee relations and benefits is strongly advised in order to ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities and associated changes in salary and benefits.

Other ways managers can provide flexibility

Shift meeting times

Early morning or late afternoon meetings can cause conflicts with those who have difficulty attending due to caregiving responsibilities, educational commitments or commuting issues. Shifting meeting times can help accommodate the wide range of different employee schedules.

Seasonal flexibility

Certain seasons may allow for more flexibility such as the summer months or winter holiday.

Requesting to Work Flexibly

If you are interested in working flexibly, you should have a conversation with your manager. While not all jobs are suitable for all types of flexible work arrangements, many jobs at Emory can accommodate some kind of flexible work arrangement.

To prepare ahead of time, you can draft a written proposal to help you discuss the arrangement with your manager.

WorkLife staff can provide you with guidance and coaching in developing a proposal or assistance with how to approach your manager, however, the decision of whether or not to implement or continue is the decision of your manager. It is entirely up to the department whether or not to allow flexibility.

If you would like guidance and coaching in developing your proposal, contact us at 404-727-7613.

Contact Us

Department:
Benefits and Work Life
Address:
1599 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30322
Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday:
8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Wednesday:
8:00 am – 3:00 pm