OSU Extension

Connecting The Ohio State University to Ohioans Ohio State University Extension OSU Extension [http://extension.osu.edu]

Flexible Work Arrangements: Integrating Work and Personal Lives

OSU Extension supports alternative work arrangements and flexible scheduling to enable employees to integrate work and personal lives. We believe this contributes to the physical and emotional well-being of individuals resulting in more productive employees. As a department within The Ohio State University, OSU Extension will adhere to the:

  • Flexible Work Policy 6.12
  • Scheduling Work and Overtime Compensation Policy 6.10
  • Supplemental Guidelines to Policy 6.10

Mission

To create an organizational environment which, in the pursuance of our organization’s mission, vision, and values, respects and supports quality of life and work issues of our employees. Our ultimate goal is to create a work environment that enhances employee effectiveness in their work and personal life.

Vision

OSU Extension believes in and offers programs related to improving the quality of life for individuals, families and communities. Employees need to be dynamic examples of individuals who are successfully integrating their personal and professional lives.

To accomplish this mission and vision, OSU Extension employees will:

  • Prioritize their educational programs and activities;
  • Be responsive to prioritized clientele issues while meeting their own individual and family needs;
  • Partner with colleagues, clientele, and funders in recognizing and respecting the varying work/life issues that individuals face.

Philosophy Statement for Exempt (salaried/typically paid monthly) Employees

Educators, specialists, program coordinators/managers/specialists/directors and administrators are expected to meet their work objectives and as professionals, are entrusted with the flexibility of balancing their work schedules. This is not a formal policy statement; rather it is a philosophy or guideline for professionals to use in approaching their work. An assumption is made concerning this principle: a full-time Extension professional’s responsibilities typically require more than 40 hours per week or portion thereof (for part-time professionals) and often at non-routine work hours. Professional scheduling is not designed to equitably compensate (hour for hour) for work outside the normal 8 am – 5 pm workday or 40 hour work-week. Performance of professionals is a top priority and professional scheduling is intended to support and strengthen performance. It is the individual’s responsibility of controlling one’s schedule to meet the needs of clientele while achieving a balance in professional and personal time that is healthy for both the individual and the organization.

The following points should serve as a guide:

  • Extension professionals are accountable for their time and also for fulfilling their assigned job responsibilities.
  • Extension professionals working extensive hours at night and on weekends should schedule some personal time. This does not mean the professional must work a certain number of hours per day or week to be eligible to use professional scheduling. Professional scheduling is an individual responsibility.
  • Personal time should be taken at the convenience of both the organization and the individual. Professional courtesy requires that employees communicate with their immediate supervisor and/or support staff in advance when they will be taking personal time off.
  • It is not the intent to negotiate a specific number of days off with employees in lieu of professional scheduling. Such a practice violates the intent of the guidelines. Rather, professional scheduling is primarily a responsibility of the employee.
  • Pilot efforts followed by an evaluation are highly encouraged. Feedback needs to be sought from co-workers, supervisors, and as appropriate, County Commissioners and Advisory Committee members.

Philosophy Statement for Non-Exempt (hourly/typically paid bi-weekly) Employees

Classified Civil Service (CCS) and program support personnel (program assistants, FNP, technicians, etc.) generally have defined workweeks. The alternatives included in the OSU guidelines are intended for longer-term changes. Short-term, temporary arrangements may be handled on an individual basis with one’s immediate supervisor. Arrangements should be communicated with co-workers so others may communicate appropriately to clientele.

Guidelines for Developing Flexible Work Schedules

  • Initiating the Planning Process
    1. Planning may be initiated by any employee. A unit head may also need to initiate discussion when observing that a need exists and the employee is reluctant to initiate a request. It is important to remember that alternative scheduling is intended as a tool to support the personal needs of employees while meeting the productivity and operational needs of the county/region/campus office.
    2. The office team has the responsibility to determine appropriate flexible work schedules. An individual may develop proposed alternatives, but the team must decide on what will work for the benefit of the total office.
    3. Determine office goals for establishing flexible schedules. Consider individual and organizational needs.
    4. Talk with individual employees to determine the needs for flexible scheduling and interest in participating in alternatives.
    5. Consider what schedule option or combination of options are appropriate considering the individual and office functions and mission.
    6. Contact the Regional Director/Unit Head for assistance in developing your plan.
  1. Developing the Plan

    1. Office teams must work together to plan alternative work arrangements that consider the needs of the individual, other team members, and clientele. This could be a total team effort or based upon the size of the unit, a “flex” committee with different positions represented can conduct an assessment and propose a plan. A committee member or volunteer may have experience in this area and could contribute to the planning.
    2. Develop a draft proposal, including the following components:
      1. Goals/expectations for the plan
      2. Who is eligible and under what conditions
      3. Parameters for alternative scheduling such as:
        1. Unit operational hours open to the public
        2. Core time – the hours or days all employees must be present
        3. Band time – range of hours employees can work
        4. Lunch/breaks
    3. Guidelines need to include procedures for:
      1. Scheduling procedures such as preparing and posting, dealing with unexpected absences, scheduling changes and conflicts
      2. Communication process to maintain workflow such as posting schedules and alternative means of communicating
      3. Leave time (vacation/sick leave) usage guidelines
      4. Holidays
      5. Overtime – exempt and non-exempt considerations
      6. Work/time keeping system
    4. Regional Directors/Unit Heads and OSU Extension Human Resources personnel must review drafts to assure compliance with existing University policies
  2. Implementing the Plan

    1. It is suggested the flexible work programs be implemented as a pilot for a pre-determined period of time to assess plans and make changes before implementing long-term. Depending upon the decision to be made, key leaders such as the Extension Advisory Committee, County Commissioners and key volunteers may need to be involved in the planning as well as evaluation of the effectiveness of pilot efforts to ensure that clientele needs are being met.
    2. Communicate implementation plans, guidelines, evaluation criteria and problem solving strategies to all employees. Keep the Regional Director, County Commissioners, and Extension Advisory Committee members informed about flexible work scheduling plans and involve as needed.
  3. Problem Solving Options

    1. The team should decide how to handle conflicts before they arise. One option includes forming a mediation group of employees to develop problem-solving strategies and assist with conflict resolution.
  4. Evaluating the Plan

    1. First, develop a timetable for evaluating the pilot program before initiating a more permanent plan. Criteria should be developed for evaluating the success of a plan and as a basis for making modifications. Criteria should be based upon:
      1. Productivity expectations of OSU Extension and the particular office
      2. Operational needs of the office
      3. Employee satisfaction
      4. Effective clientele service

Resources

Updated March 2013