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There are certain circumstances under which it is of benefit to UCAR for employees to work on a regular basis from that employee's home, or from some other location that is not a UCAR site. These guidelines are to describe those conditions and how supervisors, directors and employees should go about determining the appropriateness of such arrangements and gaining the requisite approvals. The overriding consideration in all cases is that the arrangement makes good sense for UCAR; "the flexiplace" opportunity is not intended to be solely for the convenience of the staff member.

UCAR's Flexible Work Alternatives policy, 2-4-8, provides for the ability to establish working arrangements in which staff work from their homes, and anyone considering such arrangements should consult the policy. These arrangements require the written approval of the supervisor and division or program director.

Flexible Work Alternative Definitions

The alternatives defined in these guidelines may be in effect from time to time, on an occasional basis, with the prior written approval of the supervisor and division or program director. Flexible work arrangements for a limited duration are excluded from these guidelines.

Flextime: a regular arrangement under which an employee works during hours other than the "normal" working hours. Employees working in this mode must work the number of hours per week as dictated by their FTE status. Flextime must be agreed to by the supervisor, who determines any "core" hours during which the employee must be on site.

Flexiplace: this refers to the circumstances under which an employee has received approval to work on a regular basis from a site remote from a UCAR site, such as the home. Field deployments are not flexiplace arrangements.

Job Sharing: the arrangement under which a position is filled by two individuals, each working an established part of the position, consistent with relevant UCAR policy.

Consideration for Flexiplace

UCAR strives to provide a positive environment for all of its employees, and the appropriate use of flexiplace arrangements is a part of that commitment. However, such arrangements are not the right of the employee, and it is expected that only a small fraction of UCAR positions are suitable for flexiplace arrangements.

In determining what positions are suited for this type of arrangement, supervisors and employees should consider the following:

  • the extent to which the job requires face-to-face, or in person interaction with other people, both internal and external to UCAR
  • the nature and extent of supervisory or security requirements relevant to the position
  • the need for access to resources that are only available on site
  • safety and/or emergency response needs for the position
In determining which individuals are most capable to function effectively under a flexiplace arrangement, supervisors and employees should consider the following:
  • the degree of self motivation of the individual
  • the ability of the individual to operate effectively in an isolated mode
  • the individual's level of job knowledge
  • the individual's organizational and time management skills
  • the nature of the at-home dependent care requirements that might interfere with effective job performance
How to Request and Implement Flexiplace Arrangements

In the spirit of open communications that UCAR strives to foster, the interest of an employee in making a flexiplace arrangement is discussed normally between the employee and supervisor, or between the employee and Human Resources Department representative. Normally, these discussions are initiated by the employee and should lead to a determination of whether flexiplace arrangements are feasible.

After such initial discussions, the employee should present a written request to the supervisor who will determine the appropriateness of such arrangements and forward it to the division or program director for approval. Flexiplace arrangements should be made initially on a trial basis (three months) in order for all parties to test whether the arrangement is working effectively. A copy of the request and approval should be provided to the division or program director, Human Resources Department, and Health, Environment and Safety Services.

Considerations Regarding Flexiplace Arrangements and Their Documentation

Work regime: this should be specified explicitly, including the precise start and end dates of the trial period. The mix of days/hours worked in flexiplace mode and at the UCAR site should be identified specifically, in order to establish employee-supervisor-colleague contact points and hours that will be maintained.

Performance appraisals: It is especially important in flexiplace arrangements that the job requirements and the performance standards and accomplishments are clear and well understood by all parties.

Work location: document the actual address and phone number of the flexiplace location.

Work space: employees should establish a particular work space to provide for privacy and freedom from interruptions.

Communication and personal interactions: any requirements for attendance at staff or other regularly-scheduled meetings should be specified. The frequency and means of regular communications with the supervisor and other colleagues should also be specified, including explicit arrangements for absence from the flexiplace location.

Special issues: any special issue that pertains to the flexiplace arrangement should be described explicitly in the documentation. For example, notification procedures for emergency situations, how overtime is handled (if applicable), travel arrangements between the home (remote site) and UCAR sites; dependent care situations, communication mechanisms for transferring work products, assignments and general interactions. A regular communication system should be established and followed to provide both the supervisor and the employee (and his/her colleagues) with needed information.

Equipment and resource needs: these should be spelled out completely and carefully. Such needs may include but are not necessarily limited to: computers, fax machines, printers, furniture, modems, telephone lines, three-way calling, ISDN, Internet access, call forwarding, caller ID, answering machine, pager and special software. Care should be taken to ensure the need and proper use of any equipment required. In those cases where UCAR funds are used to purchase equipment, this equipment is subject to UCAR Government Property Control policy, 3-1-4. Equipment provided by the employee does not fall within these guidelines. UCAR is required to provide all necessary safety equipment, for example, ergonomic furniture.

Safety: both general and special safety requirements are the responsibility of the employee, and the employee should be counseled on home safety issues, such as electrical situations. Such counseling, including site visits, may be conducted by the Health, Environment and Safety Services Department. Costs for special safety equipment (fire extinguishers, smoke alarms ergonomic chairs, etc.) are borne by the employee's division or program.

September 22, 1997

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