How to prepare your WorkFlex request

Through Nov. 26, the Friday after Thanksgiving, staff can submit a request for a flexible work arrangement through WorkFlex, the university's new program that provides options for where, when and how staff work.  

WorkFlex will allow employees to request to work remotely up to three days a week, at their preferred time of day, in a compressed work week of fewer but longer days, or part time. The options are only available if they make sense for an employee's job duties, and flexible work proposals must support the goals of the employee's unit and mission of Iowa State.

The request form, submitted via Workday, asks staff to describe how their flexible work proposal will impact their work, colleagues, clientele and the university. Here's a step-by-step look at what staff should consider as they make the case for their WorkFlex request.

First, a conversation

Don't jump right into submitting a request without preparing. Check out the employee guidance on the WorkFlex website, one of the many resources university human resources (UHR) has provided for staff and supervisors. Discuss the alternative work plans you'd like to request with your supervisor. Managers may have work teams talk about flexible work options as a group to collaboratively review what's possible and how the team could adapt.  

Getting started

To find the request form in Workday, enter "create request" in the Workday search bar and select "WorkFlex Request Type." Detailed instructions are posted in the ISU Service Portal.

Supplying the basics

Every field in the form is required. The start date listed must be on or after Jan. 18, 2022, the first day of the spring semester and the earliest that the first round of WorkFlex arrangements will be effective. The end date can be any time between three and 12 months later, as arrangements will need to be renewed at least once a year. Choose the WorkFlex option you're seeking and your current and proposed work schedules.

What's the plan?

The section about job duties is where staff should describe how they will continue to meet their work responsibilities under the proposed flexible work arrangement. In situations that are a good fit for WorkFlex, it often will be straightforward to explain, said Ed Holland, UHR benefits director. "In most cases, it probably won't be much of a difference in job duties," he said. 

How does it help?

In describing how a WorkFlex plan will help Iowa State fulfill its mission and their unit to meet customer commitments and goals, staff are making the "business case" for their proposal. An outline of flexible work benefits on the WorkFlex website provides some possible suggestions. Benefits to the institution could include increased engagement and retention, extended service hours, office space savings and productivity gains. Personal benefits that align with university goals also are worth noting, such as reduced stress and improvements to health, well-being and work-life balance. Colleges and units may have their own guidance on making a business case, as well.

What's the impact?

Two sections ask staff to identify the impact of their proposal, for co-workers and the customers they serve on and off campus. That will differ depending on the job and the department but may include how to meet customer service expectations, strategies for handling busier times and back-up plans for reduced staffing. Ideally, figuring out the effects of flexible work options is a collaborative effort. "I would think these things would come up in the conversations you have before filling out a request," Holland said.

Some impacts may be positive. Don't forget to point out how co-workers and clients may benefit from a proposed flexible work arrangement. 

How you'll communicate

The ease of remote collaboration and communication is a big reason why options such as hybrid work are feasible now. But it's important to set a plan for how teams will work together and how employees and supervisors will connect. That may include determining the digital tools that teams will use, plans for core in-person hours when all employees are in the office, and schedules for team meetings and individual check-ins.

Need help?

If you're looking for some help in developing or communicating out your plan, contact your human resources service delivery team for a discussion. 


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