Sample Work. With Flexibility. Implementation Plans

Some areas within the University have already developed local Work. With Flexibility. plans based on the system-wide guidance. See details of their unique approaches in the chart below. 

Office of the
Vice President for Research (OVPR)
Libraries Med School

Goals/Principles

  • Take a department-wide approach and implement a framework harboring four core principles: consistency, equity, compatibility, and flexibility.
  • Create a culture where flexible work is no longer viewed as an occasional benefit, but rather as an intrinsic part of the department, with support from management.
  • Become an inclusive, hybrid work environment free from silos, proximity bias, and staff isolation, grounded in a “remote-first” mindset (as opposed to an “office-first” mindset).
  • Foster employees’ ongoing health, productivity, and success, while ensuring the continuity of expert service to stakeholders.

  • Ensure alignment with the core missions of the Medical School and allocate resources accordingly. Key priorities include research, teaching, and service missions.
  • Conduct a pilot flexible work plan over 10 months between August 2021 and May 2022 to determine the success of the mission.
  • Department heads, functional leaders, and team leads will develop the “50% + plan” for the pilot and submit it for approval.
Definitions
  • Office-based: Occasional, inconsistent
  • Regularly Remote: Consistently less than 50% time
  • Mostly Remote: Consistently 50% time or more
  • Fully Remote: 100% (Occasional but inconsistent presence in UMN locations)
  • Traditional: Work at any of the University libraries storage locations or libraries with a fixed schedule
  • Flextime: In-person with a flexible schedule
  • Flexspace: Work anywhere including a mix of onsite and remote but with a fixed schedule. Flexspace designation can include 1-4 days onsite or remote or a day may be split with some onsite and some remote. Calendar designation is essential with a hybrid work designation
  • Flextime & Flexspace: Work anywhere with a flexible schedule. Individuals wanting to live and work outside of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota will need approval via Libraries HR and the Office of Human Resources.
  • On-site: For the essential functions that usually occur on-site, including: clinical care, research and teaching
  • Location Flexible: For work that rarely must occur on-site, including administrative, education, communications, IT, HR, and finance, and in some cases, research.
Space
  • Confirm employees’ primary work location is conducive to doing their best work.
  • Avoid drastic and premature changes to current OVPR office spaces. Space decisions will be made at a department-level, mostly at the end of a trial phase, and will take into consideration the overall scope and impact of the new FWAs on OVPR’s space needs.
  • When optimizing the office footprint, units may need to think about shared space scheduling, depending on their implementation of the profiles.
  • In addition to the office-based nature of a position, the need for privacy and confidentiality may guide office space allocation decisions.
  • Additional decisions related to space will be a part of the Libraries Fall 2021 planning process. 
  • Increase space dedicated to essential, on-site functions.
  • Decrease space assigned to Location Flexible functions by at least 50%, either by combining workspaces or utilizing non-dedicated workspace for employees.
  • Assign shared space to Location Flexible staff who are on-site less than 3 days/week. Consolidate the shared and empty space.
  • Convert open areas to ‘touchdown’ space, which can be scheduled for intermittent use.
Time
  • Supervisors are expected to discuss with employees if their role requires a fixed schedule or is compatible with flextime.
  • Units with clients and customers, or with staff in different time zones, should establish core hours and discuss availability for collaboration.
  • Core business hours are between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday - Friday. Some employees will work outside these core hours to complete their eight-hour work day. Libraries will strive to accommodate everyone who works outside core hours by encouraging regular communications about staff availability through Google Calendar and other means.
  • Location Flexible employees will work remotely at least 50% of the time.
Equipment
  • As a general rule, employees choosing to work remotely are expected to furnish their home workspace and pay for the Internet.
  • OVPR will ensure that a full technology package is provided to all employees (computer, monitors, peripherals, webcam, and headset). Additional equipment may be provided during the transition phase.
  • The Libraries will provide staff a computer, monitor(s), keyboard, mouse, webcam, and headset, if appropriate. Staff are responsible for paying for Internet access and any office furniture they require.
  • Libraries will work to provide the space and equipment for employees to effectively attend online meetings.

The Medical School will:

  • Update desktops with laptops when replaced (approx. 170 needed)
  • Equip conference rooms with remote technology
  • All meetings will offer a remote option (Zoom)
  • Expect all employees have access to a reliable home internet connection for remote work
  • Recommend all employees who regularly answer phone calls shift to UMN softphone technology (ClearSpan)
Equity
  • Supervisors should ensure rules are consistent and fair across the team, consult relevant governing documents and consider the extent to which each role is compatible with flexspace, flextime, or a fixed location and schedule.
  • Processes, procedures, collaboration methods, systems, knowledge management, and information sharing must be compatible with staff working from different locations at any given time.
  • Internal meetings should be held virtually unless all team members are present for in-person meetings. 
  • Individual Medical School departments will determine which functions should occur on-site, based on the nature of the work, and strive to balance employee preferences as much as possible.
  • Not all positions will have the same required on-site work requirements.
  • Location Flexible employees are expected to spend time on- and off-site.
  • Requests for fully remote work arrangements will be considered by exception.
Supervisor Role
  • Participate in the department-wide effort to ensure remote work eligibility profiles are appropriate for each role and consistent within their teams; define the conditions for the unit to perform optimally.
  • Meet with each of their reports; discuss the employees’ FWA preferences within the eligibility identified for their role.
  • Learn to manage in a hybrid work environment, participating in upcoming supervisory / management sessions sponsored by OVPR.
  • Supervisors will confer with individual staff members to determine their work locations and schedules. Decisions will be based on job requirements and unique individual circumstances.

Medical School leaders will strive to maintain a sense of “team” among employees. They will:

  • Gather teams together regularly, remotely and in-person.
  • Rotate group meeting days to vary who attends on- and off-site.
  • Monitor for segmentation of groups of on- and off-site employees.
  • Be intentional about building in opportunities to gather socially.