Nearly 400 requests approved in WorkFlex's second round

Hundreds of new WorkFlex requests were approved during the second application window for the flexible work program, according to data university human resources (UHR) staff shared with the Professional and Scientific Council at its June 2 meeting. 

The 383 approved requests are for flexible work arrangements that were effective beginning May 16, the first day of summer classes. About 600 staff took advantage of the program during its first application window, for plans that began at the start of the spring semester in January.     

WorkFlex allows eligible staff flexibility in when, where and how they work -- if it fits with their job duties and the university's mission. The available alternatives include a hybrid schedule of working remotely up to three days a week, by far the most-used option in both the first round of requests (84%) and the second round (88%).   

Staff can request WorkFlex arrangements during three application periods throughout the year, before the fall, spring and summer terms. Plans can be approved for the upcoming semester, the next two terms or a full year. More than 60% of the requests during the first window were for plans that extended multiple terms, through the summer or fall. In the second round, that ratio flipped, as two-thirds of the requests were for summer only.

Because of the varying arrangement lengths and a change in how requests are processed in Workday, UHR is still working on reporting to pinpoint the total number of staff using WorkFlex, said Ed Holland, director of benefits and WorkLife. The new submission process will make data more readily available after future rounds of WorkFlex requests, he said.

From UHR's perspective, the program has been running smoothly, Holland said. A survey conducted in April by the council found WorkFlex is popular with P&S staff, with 90% of 785 respondents saying they support it and 71% saying they are satisfied with the options provided.

An analysis of the survey's open-ended questions likely will be presented at the council's July meeting, said Jacob Larsen, peer advocacy committee chair. Greater transparency and more consistent implementation are among the themes identified in those responses, he said.

Through July 1, eligible staff can apply for a flexible work plan in the third round of WorkFlex, for arrangements effective beginning Aug. 22. For more information, see the program website. A knowledge base article in the ISU Service Portal describes how to request an arrangement.

Changing of the guard

New council members and officers officially begin their duties at the start of the fiscal year July 1 but are seated at the June meeting. In 2022-23, the council's president will be Jamie Sass, director of the writing and speaking center in the Ivy College of Business. President-elect will be Patrick Wall, an ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist based in Knoxville. The council will have 23 new members elected or appointed this spring.