The Role of the Employee

If you are an employee who is considering a flexible work arrangement, it is important to explore how your proposed arrangement may impact your work and that of your colleagues.

Begin by determining which type of flexible arrangement might work best for you and whether the option provides what you need, while meeting departmental needs. You also may want to seek advice and perspectives from co-workers with flexible work arrangements, as well as your Human Resources Officer or the MIT Work-Life Center.

In any flexible work arrangement, you will be expected to maintain performance standards, and your manager/supervisor will be expected to use the same measurement criteria previously in place to assess your performance. Typically, you will not be granted flexibility unless your performance has demonstrated your ability to meet the job expectations during a flexible work arrangement. However, your manager/supervisor may choose to consider flexibility if it might improve performance. Keep in mind that the final decision to approve or deny your request for flexibility remains with your manager/supervisor,whose top priority is the business needs of the DLC.

The Proposal Process

If you are interested in establishing a flexible work arrangement, you may find it helpful to draft a proposal before approaching your supervisor, since it may help you identify solutions to potential concerns. Your supervisor also may find it beneficial to formalize your proposal into an agreement.

Developing your proposal

Your proposal should address a number of critical points, including:

  • Details of your proposed arrangement, including the schedule.
  • How you will accomplish the major components of your job.
  • How the arrangement may affect your work team, department, and/or the Institute. Your proposal should address potential concerns related to office coverage, security, supervision, overtime costs, unit/department performance, and the impact on other employees. If you are proposing a telecommuting arrangement, you should be prepared to establish a safe and suitable workspace off-site—one that is appropriately confidential and free of distractions. Telecommuters often perform best when they maintain a distinct separation between their work activities and personal activities.
  • An explanation of how client and co-worker needs will be managed without sacrificing quality or responsiveness.
  • A description of how you will handle regular communications with clients, co-workers, supervisees, and managers/supervisors without sacrificing accessibility or quality.
  • An acknowledgment that it is your responsibility to make this arrangement work.
  • An acknowledgment that you will be flexible and willing to make adjustments to ensure success.
  • A start date for transitioning to a new schedule if your proposal is approved.
  • A recommendation for a trial period—usually 3 to 6 months—to review the efficacy of the flexible work arrangement, and regular intervals of ongoing evaluation, generally every 6 to 12 months.
  • An acknowledgment that the arrangement is subject to termination at any time, for example, if business needs change or performance issues arise.

Download a flexible work arrangement proposal form and a sample completed form below.

Next steps

  • Discussion and manager review: All proposals must be approved by a manager/supervisor. As soon as possible, schedule a time to meet with him or her to review, negotiate, and hopefully finalize your agreement. If your proposal is not approved at this time, ask your manager/supervisor to share his or her concerns in order to assess whether another proposal might succeed in the future.
  • Communication: If your proposal is approved, work with your manager/supervisor to communicate your new arrangement to co-workers, supervisees, and clients. Determine milestones for checking progress and measuring success.
  • Modification and termination: All flexible work arrangements are subject to ongoing review and may be modified or terminated at any time for any reason, including a change in business needs.

See Also

Have Questions?

Contact your Human Resources Officer or the MIT Work-Life Center.