Flexible Work Policy

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Learn key points about the Flexible Work Arrangements policy and hear answers to questions asked by your colleagues.

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Flexible Work Arrangements Policy

St. Olaf is a residential college that values the presence on campus of its staff. The College also understands that providing flexible working arrangements for staff can reap benefits for both the college and its staff. This policy provides a framework, options and procedures governing flexible work (“flexwork”). The term “flexwork” refers to where, when and how employees complete their work.

To whom does this policy apply?

  • All exempt (salaried) and non-exempt (hourly) staff may submit proposals
  • All staff have access to an equitable procedure
  • All proposals will be reviewed
  • Supervisors have discretion to approve or deny proposals

What principles govern flexwork?

A fundamental principle of flexwork is that it is job-appropriate. There may be roles for which flexwork is not suitable. Within a residential community like St. Olaf, some roles may always require employees to be physically present. Indeed, most roles will require employees to be present on campus at certain times.

Flexwork must be responsive to the changing needs of the workplace and thus flexwork arrangements are never permanent.

Flexwork must demonstrate a net-positive or net-neutral effect on the business needs of the college, division and department and on the overall work environment.

The process for evaluating a proposal for flexwork must be equitable, with decisions made without bias or favoritism. “Equitable” refers to the process that supervisors use to evaluate proposals. “Equitable” does not mean that individuals’ arrangements will be identical or even similar.

All flexwork arrangements must be documented in writing, agreed upon by the employee and approved by the supervisor. Decisions not to approve a flexwork arrangement must also be documented in writing.

All new flexwork arrangements are subject to a trial period of 30 days. Flexwork arrangements must be reviewed at least annually and, if needed, more frequently to determine the success of the arrangement or the need for adjustments.

If a personal health issue emerges during a discussion about flexwork, the supervisor and employee should immediately consult Human Resources.

How does flexwork actually work?

Flexwork arrangements involve the location of work (where), the days and times of day worked (when), and the manner of work (how):

The location of work may be:  

  • Fully on-site
    • Employees are expected to be on campus for all working hours
  • Partially remote (telework)
    • Employees work part of the standard work week at a location other than on campus. This group includes people who must be on campus either regularly or periodically but who can perform some portion of their work remotely.
    • Because St. Olaf is a residential community, the college recommends that employees work either a 4/1 or 3/2 schedule (with the majority of work days occurring on campus).
    • Employees in student-facing roles would typically work on campus full time or, if the needs of the department can be met, in a 4/1 schedule.
  • Primarily remote (remote work)
    • Periodic — Employees work remotely for the majority of their time, but they are expected to be on campus at designated intervals (i.e., once per month, once per quarter)
    • Fully — Employees work all of their time remotely and are not expected to be on campus.
  • Arrangements for remote work will typically be limited to work within the state of Minnesota because of the challenges with compliance associated with out-of-state workers.
  • St. Olaf College will not incur any additional costs associated with another work location including but not limited to phone, Internet, ergonomic furnishings, or extra technologies, including laptops, monitors, keyboards, power cords, etc.

The days and time(s) of day worked may be: 

  • Regular work hours
    • The college’s standard hours of operation are Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (except during the period of Summer Hours).
    • Employees work regularly scheduled hours in alignment with their department.
  • Flextime
    • Employees work a standard full-time or part-time work week with start and end times that differ from the standard hours of operation.
    • Flextime may include a split schedule in which an employee divides the work day into two or more periods of time (e.g. 7 a.m. – 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.).
  • Employees who work part time
    • If the needs of the department can be met, employees who work part time can submit a proposal to prorate a full time 4/1 or 3/2 schedule and adapt it to their role.
  • Summer work and hours
    • Many employees work fewer hours during the summer. Supervisors may wish to implement telework arrangements during the summer even though such arrangements may not be appropriate during the academic year.
  • Breaks in the academic schedule
    • Similarly, during breaks in the academic year (i.e., during December/January and Spring Break), supervisors may wish to implement a short-term telework arrangement.
  • Employees with more than one supervisor must confirm with all supervisors that they are comfortable with a flexible schedule, and all supervisors need to consult with each other and the employee before approving a flexible schedule.

The manner of work (how) includes the following:

  • Employees must confirm their understanding that major activities like full-time dependent care or intensive work on a personal project are not appropriate for flexwork.
  • The employee, and not the college, is responsible for securing, maintaining and paying for a reliable Internet connection.
  • The employee is responsible for reviewing the college’s guidance on ergonomics (which can be found here), assessing the employee’s remote workspace, and implementing any changes at the employee’s own cost.

Guidance for Supervisors

Supervisors are encouraged to review these Best Practices for Implementing Flexwork.