Alternative work arrangements in place for university staff

Human Resources and Staff Council hosted informational sessions on March 24 and March 31, attended by 935 employees, highlighting the new Alternative Work Arrangements (A.W.A.) (Interim) Policy. 

In conjunction with the Staff Council leadership and Office of General Counsel, the university’s Human Resource department presented all different work arrangement options for benefit-eligible staff. Depending on the nature of the position and with the supervisor’s approval, employees may be approved to work off-campus. 

Gaston Reinoso, associate vice president of Human Resources, said that the COVID pandemic forced university staff to work in a hybrid, or remote, environment. Its success facilitated Human Resources, Staff Council leadership, and the Office of General Counsel to draft a policy to allow employees to make an A.W.A. request. 

“As the pandemic phased out, it was clear that there are other ways that you can be productive and other ways that you can work,” said Reinoso. “And people appreciate the work-life balance that it can offer.” 

University leadership first presented the concept of A.W.A. to the university’s Board of Regents on February 24, before sharing the interim policy with staff in March. 

The A.W.A. options available to staff include 100 percent remote work, hybrid, compressed workweek, alternate work schedules, and temporary alternate work locations. 

Remote work, also known as telecommuting, allows a staff member to work from their home or other off-site location 100 percent of the time. The hybrid model gives staff members the ability to work off-site two days of the workweek. 

On the other hand, a compressed workweek allows staff to work four 10-hour days a week, allowing staff members a day off during the workweek. The final work arrangement, an alternate work schedule, gives staff the option to shift their work schedule to be 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. instead of the traditional 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

The supervisor may approve temporary alternate work locations on a case-by-case basis, typically considered on the day of the request. 

While the alternative work arrangements are for all benefit-eligible staff, not all campus jobs qualify for A.W.A. Ultimately, the employee’s supervisor makes the ultimate decision. 

The new interim A.W.A. policy goes into effect on April 1. Staff members interested in applying for an alternative work arrangement can visit the Work Reimagined website and complete the required A.W.A. training for their respective roles. 

Once the A.W.A. training is complete, staff must fill out a justification form on the Workplace Reimagined site on the Human Resources website. After the form is completed, the employee’s supervisor and/or V.P. begins the approval process. 

If the supervisor approves the A.W.A. request, the last step is to have the department’s vice president sign off on the paperwork. 

The timetable for the process of A.W.A. depends on each staff member’s supervisor. Arrangements for A.W.A. will be reviewed at least annually, meaning staff must refile the justification form and obtain re-approval by their supervisor. 

Staff can find more information on A.W.A. on the university’s Workplace Reimagined website found here