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Staff Flexible Work Pilot Program

Overview

During the COVID-19 pandemic and under the guidance of CDC and state/local guidance, Villanova University moved to an environment of online virtual learning and working. The university modified operations based on the extraordinary circumstances, and because of the tremendous effort of our community and our Caritas Commitment, the University was able to successfully hold the entire academic year on campus. For this 2021-2022 academic year though, our students are excited about the return to a more typical, on-campus experience. While the goal still remains to maintain that vibrate on-campus experience that has made Villanova flourish for the past 179 years, we recognize that some positions and employees may be well suited for regular flexible work arrangements. Though some work can only be done on-site during standard University hours (M-F, 9am-5pm), Villanova University supports the use of appropriate flexible and alternative work options, including remote work, in some cases. Villanova is pleased to announce a pilot program that will enable staff to request a flexible work arrangement if/when their job responsibilities allow it.

In compliance with the Pilot Staff Flexible Work Policy, this resource page is designed to provide additional information and tools on how to navigate the pilot flexible work program to support employee flexibility and department goals. 

Follow this link to access the Staff Flexible Work Policy.

Eligibility Guidelines

Eligible Staff positions are those in which all essential functions of the job can be completed at alternative hours or an alternative work location.

Not every job is suitable for a flexible work arrangement. All requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. A position can be considered suitable for flexible work arrangement, including remote work, if some or most of its responsibilities can be performed outside of standard University hours or away from the regular work location. The change in scheduled work times or work location should not impact productivity, customer service, operational efficiency, or team collaboration.

To request a Flexible Work Arrangement:

  1. The staff member must complete and submit a Flexible Work Arrangement Request Form to their manager.
  2. The staff member must then discuss the request with their manager.
  3. The manager will need to discuss the request with their leaders to ensure support can be given for the arrangement within the department.
  4. For proposed flexible work arrangements longer than 3 months in duration, managers must work with the Office of Human Resources who will review the request for equity and legal considerations.
    Regardless of duration, HR is available to consult with managers on any flexible work arrangements and help to determine if the request can be supported.
  5. If approved by their manager, area VP/Dean, and HR (if applicable), the employee and their manager will complete a Flexible Work Arrangement Agreement, outlining the arrangement details and acknowledging terms and conditions. They must sign and return the document to hrfwp@villanova.edu prior to starting the flexible work arrangement. This agreement will be placed in the staff member’s personnel file and will be subject to regular review.

When managers/supervisors receive a request for a flexible work arrangement, they need to consider all of the issues and implications of the arrangement and discuss them with the employees. The type of work, employee performance, and feasibility of the division/department to support the request should all be considered when deciding if specific flexible work arrangements are suitable. Employees are encouraged to use the Self-Evaluation Questionnaire for Employees to determine whether their role is conducive for a flexible work or telework arrangement and to guide their conversation with their manager/supervisor. Manager/supervisors should think through potential challenges and ways to overcome these challenges before approving a flexible work arrangement. Managers/supervisors are encouraged to utilize the Self-Evaluation Questionnaire for Managers to consider all aspects of the request. Supervisors may also consult HR for guidance.

Questions to consider:

1. Is a flexible work arrangement right for this position?

Not all positions are suitable for flexible work arrangements or remote work. Each position should be considered individually, per the responsibilities of the role, to determine if the work can be done effectively outside of the regular work hours and/or environment. The change in work location or hours should not impact productivity, customer service, operational efficiency, or team collaboration.

2. Is a flexible work arrangement appropriate for this employee?

After making the determination that all or some of the role responsibilities can be performed outside of the regular work environment, it must be identified if the employee in this role is compatible to flexible and/or remote work opportunities. This must be considered on a case-by-case basis for current employees and must also be considered when interviewing candidates for flexible or potential remote work positions.

If the employee is not well suited for a flexible work arrangement/remote work or is denied based on a previously documented performance or corrective action issue, it is best practice to communicate that reasoning with the employee. In this instance, a discussion about job performance and growth opportunities should be had between the employee and their supervisor before the option for flexible work/remote work can be re-assessed in the future.

As a manager, if you are unsure of how to approach the conversation with your employee, or unsure if their request can or should be supported, please contact Human Resources for guidance.

3. Is a flexible work arrangement feasible for this department?

Once a determination has been made that both the job and the employee are a good fit for a flexible work/remote work arrangement, the manager – in partnership with their college or department leadership team – must decide whether it is feasible to support the request. Supervisors should have a thorough conversation with the employee to understand the request, the benefits, and potential challenges. Managers should keep documentation of these conversations and any documentation provided throughout the process for each employee. Because this is a pilot program, it will be necessary to keep a pulse on success of the arrangements for each employee and for the team as a whole and having documentation of conversations will be critical for check-ins throughout the year.

Flexible work arrangements can be effective tools to enable innovation and shape the future of work at Villanova University. Under optimal conditions, once approved and implemented, flexible work arrangements should have either a net-positive or net-neutral effect on business results and the work environment. In other words, the same work is getting accomplished at another time, in another place, or in another way, ideally having a positive effect. The arrangement should not have an overall negative impact on the team or on individual performance.  Managers should consider supporting a flexible work arrangement if they are confident that the department/college and University goals can still be met, without adverse impacts or sacrifice in collaboration or culture.

Tools for Success:

LinkedIn Learning - Future of Work Resources for Managers

Human Resources – Remember that any flexible arrangements longer than 3 months in duration need to be reviewed by Human Resources but the HR team is also available to discuss any request with the manager, as needed.

While flexible work arrangements and/or remote work can be an effective tool to support productivity, enable innovation, and strengthen work/life balance, not every position or employee is suitable for these types of arrangements. Working outside of the regular work environment and/or hours is likely to present challenges and it is important to consider what and how your work could be impacted as a result of these arrangements.

Employees seeking a flexible work arrangement will need to submit the Flexible Work Arrangement Request Form to their manager outlining the type of arrangement being requested, the reason(s) for the request; their plan for meeting the responsibilities of their position, work schedule (hours, days, commitment) requested, and the proposed start date of the arrangement. The employee should be prepared to discuss the request in detail with their manager and thoughtfully explain what the benefits would be – for themselves and for the University – of the proposed agreement, what challenges or barriers may come up, and how they will overcome those barriers. It is important to remember that flexible work arrangements, including remote work, do not change the responsibilities of the job itself. Employees approved for flexible work arrangements will still expected to work during determined work hours, produce the same work, and perform as you would in the regular office environment. The same on-campus work standards apply, regardless of hours or location.

Flexible work arrangements are also not a guarantee; it is a privilege intended to support the convenience of the employee. However, operational needs will continue to be the priority and will ultimately dictate the ability to support flexible arrangement requests. A supervisor, after consulting with the department head, may terminate an approved flexible work arrangement if the supervisor determines that the arrangement is no longer consistent with the department’s obligations or if the performance of the employee is not meeting performance expectations.

Prior to submitting a flexible work arrangement request form, Employees are encouraged to use the Self-Evaluation Questionnaire for Employees to determine whether their role is conducive for a flexible work or remote work arrangement and to guide their conversation with their manager/supervisor.

Tools for Success

Remote Site Equipment:

Villanova University will provide equipment in accordance with each employee's responsibilities as if they were working onsite. This usually will consist of a laptop computer, a monitor, mouse, keyboard, headset, and university phone number. Printers, copiers, scanners, fax machines, shredders, white boards, office chairs, and all other traditional office supplies will be located on-site. Employees that are requesting – and approved for – a remote work arrangement and that wish to have these items at their remote site will need to purchase them with their own resources (unless a special situation is approved by their manager or department).

Phone and Internet Access:

High speed internet access and telephone services are required to work remotely for Villanova University. The remote work employee must provide their own Wi-Fi connectivity at their expense. All employees are assigned a university phone number.

Contact Us

If you have any questions regarding this process, please call 610-519-7900 or email Human Resources.

The Human Resources Office is located at:

The Villanova Center
789 Lancaster Avenue, Suite 260,
Villanova PA, 19085