Work. With Flexibility. in the College of Science and Engineering
With the COVID-19 pandemic impacts receding, CSE is implementing updated Work. With Flexibility. guidelines for staff. These guidelines remain grounded in the University’s Work. With Flexibility. principles, to include:
- The work of the position drives decisions about where and how it should be done.
- Consider both individual and collective productivity.
- Prioritize highly effective advancement of our mission.
- Assess the impact of flexible work arrangements on responsiveness to the needs of students, staff, faculty and/or community members.
- Broad University-level operational, legal, and policy guidelines inform local solutions.
- Administrative leaders define how best to adopt the University guidance at the local level to meet the needs of their campus, college, unit, or department.
- Enhance leadership development to help leaders manage/supervise groups of employees that they don’t see face-to-face as frequently.
- Equity, diversity, and inclusion are considered at every step.
- Honor our commitment to community and belonging by recruiting and retaining diverse students, faculty and staff and reducing disparities among underrepresented groups as outlined in MPact 2025.
- Use flexible policies to attract and retain people across a broad range of living circumstances.
- Normalize flexibility to enhance wellbeing.
PLEASE NOTE: Faculty will be expected to align all work arrangements with their teaching, research and service obligations.
- Departmental leaders will continue to determine scheduling and modality that is appropriate for the work being performed in their respective departments. Your plans should fit the needs of the work that is carried out, balanced with your team’s perspective. CSE HR will be available to provide counsel in decision making.
- While there are advantages to flexible work arrangements, leaders should balance these by providing opportunities for employees to collaborate with each other in-person (ex. scheduling a common day when all staff are in the office.) To that end, if you plan to have employees work primarily remotely (i.e., 3 or more days per week), leaders must submit plans showing the rationale and benefits of this type of scheduling. These plans should be submitted to CSE HR. Plans will be reviewed and approved by CSE Dean. Your plan must be approved before being communicated to employees and implemented.
- The plan should consist of the following:
- How will performance be measured and what will success look like in a remote environment?
- How will service levels be maintained working remotely?
- How will information be safeguarded pursuant to CSE’s Acceptable Use of CSE Information Technology Resources and UMN Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources?
- What strategies will be used to maintain a productive, involved team (ex. regular meetings with remote employee(s), etc.)? How will you assess and ensure employee engagement?
- How will you ensure that remote work arrangements foster a welcoming and inclusive environment for each employee and the team?
- What steps will you take to document fully remote, hybrid, or flexible work arrangements?
- The plan should consist of the following:
PLEASE NOTE: To the extent you already have employees working primarily remotely, you will still need to submit a plan for approval.
- To the extent there is a staff person who desires to work primarily or fully remote (either temporarily or longer term) due to personal obligations, they should contact the appropriate departmental leader to discuss options.
- Hybrid work is not a substitute for childcare. However, departments are encouraged to afford all staff the flexibility to meet intermittent child care needs such as illness, school closures, snow days, etc.
- Staff who are concerned about exposure to COVID-19 can consult with the Disability Resource Center (DRC)/UReturn regarding appropriate PPE.The DRC can help employees who need to continue to work remotely due to an underlying medical condition.
- Any employee (faculty or staff) who is feeling ill should stay home. If an employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, they should follow Exposure, Travel & Return to Work guidance.
Flexible Work Agreement
For employees who are working three or more days remotely, supervisors/managers will need to have a completed flexible work agreement on file. For employees working fewer than 3 days remotely, flexible work agreements are strongly encouraged but not required.
The following sample form can be used or you can use an existing format so long as it includes similar information: Sample Flexible Work Agreement Form.
For employees covered under Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA), leaders must review the contract language for Flexible Work Schedules and are responsible for ensuring compliance with those Agreements. The CSE Director of Human Resources is available to consult on CBA provisions, as needed.
Flexible work agreements are maintained at the local level and do not need to be submitted to CSE HR.