Rethinking work @ VCU
Single employee scenario: A non-exempt project coordinator typically works M-F from 8:30 – 5:00 with a ½ hour lunch; the project coordinator is identified as “Continued Telework.” They have two school aged children who will have to learn virtually at home for the fall semester. Both children will need parental support during the day to help with technical set up, lunch/snacks, questions, etc. to support the virtual learning environment.
Flexible options: Some possible flexible solutions might include:
- Schedule change: Staggering project coordinator’s full-time schedule within a M-F work week to still work 8 hours a day and be available to assist children to support virtual learning. An example could look like:
- 7 a.m. start, working 7 a.m. – 9 a.m.
- 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. non-working hour to help set up and start children’s day
- 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. working hours
- 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. non-working lunch break with children
- 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. working hours
- 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. non-working hours to end/wrap up day/help with assignments, activities, meal, etc.
- 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. working hours to finish day
- Use of two 15-minute paid breaks to assist additionally as needed during working hours
- Schedule change: Staggering project coordinator’s full-time schedule to include weekends as needed to work 40 hours a week and be available to assist children to support virtual learning. This might be a potential option for a variety of scenarios, including when there are multiple caregivers in the home who are dividing and sharing full days to support the children’s virtual environment. This could look like one of the following:
- Project coordinator no longer works Mondays and Wednesdays to dedicate all day support to children’s education; project coordinator picks up working on Saturdays and Sundays and shifts their “non-meeting” work to those days;
- Project coordinator works half days Monday and Tuesday, full days Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, off Sunday.
- FTE change: Reducing project coordinator’s FTE % (and salary accordingly) to allow for less than 40 working hours a week. To be successful, this would need to be requested by the employee (salary reduction) and supported by the manager (hours per week/effort reduced) for a set period of time. Please note, a reduction to 75% FTE (30 hours/week) does not impact employer health plan contribution; below this figure, health plan contributions are impacted as well as other benefits.
- Job restructuring: Project managers review the project tasks, assigning the project coordinator many tasks that do not require time in meetings during traditional business hours. These tasks still equal 40 hours/week and allow for a flexible schedule. This could look like:
- Project coordinator works M-F from 6 a.m. - 9 a.m., and from 3 p.m. - 8 p.m.
- Combining working time and leave benefits: Utilizing project coordinator’s available leave based on leave category (FFCRA, university leave, personal, etc.) to determine a schedule where employee works part of the week and is on paid leave the remaining time for a total of 40 paid hours per work week. This could also be combined with a flexible/staggered schedule to support the children’s virtual environment. This could look like:
- Project coordinator works Monday, Wednesday, Friday and uses leave on Tuesdays and Thursdays;
- Project coordinator works 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. (4 hours) M-F and uses leave ½ days (4 hours) M-F;
- Project coordinator works 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. M-F and uses leave ½ days (4 hours) M-F;
- Project coordinator works 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. M-F and uses leave ½ days (4 hours) M-F.
Reinvent the way your unit works: It is recommended that departments explore unit-wide or whole-team work arrangements that increase flexibility, facilitate telework, and allow individuals to manage their own unique situations while continuing to perform the essential work of the team. These work arrangements are most effective when they achieve as much flexibility as is possible, allow teams to creatively meet business requirements and empower managers to address employee needs. Some successful examples include:
- Process redesign
- Organizational restructuring
- Elimination of non-value added work/tasks
- Adopting technology to collaborate remotely, like Google Chat/Rooms, Slack, Smartsheets, Trello, and DocuSign
- Using a staggered or alternating week schedule for on-site work during and in-person collaboration
- Changing how customers and clients interface with staff to models more compatible with remote work (video, phone, e-forms, etc.)