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What is flexplace (also known as telecommuting)?

A flexplace arrangement is an option that allows an employee to work at home or another off-site location, for a specified number of hours per week, and for a pre-set, limited duration.

What are the benefits of a flexplace arrangement?

Benefits of flexplace/telecommuting include increased performance/productivity because the employee may have "quiet time" to complete projects uninterrupted, reduced energy consumption, reduced parking/travel costs/stressors, and often the feeling by employees of empowerment and control of their work.

As a supervisor, how do I know whether I can manage flexible work schedules in my unit?

Supervisors need to make sure that the work of their unit is being accomplished in a timely manner and with high-quality results. Supervisors need to determine whether the work that is being done can be accomplished in just an as effective (or more effective) manner by utilization of a flexible schedule arrangement. They should take performance evaluations into consideration, as well as the reliability and work styles of their employees. Supervisors are encouraged to speak with their local human resources representative, the Office of Workforce Policy and Labor Relations or the Office of Workforce Diversity and Inclusion if they have questions on whether flexible work arrangements are possible in their unit.

What considerations are there for negotiating this type of work schedule?

Use creativity in deciding what equipment is needed at home. Although flexplace encourages use of communication and workplace technology, a computer is not needed for telecommuting unless it is essential to the work performed. Some employees may need a telephone to meet their work requirements. The department must also decide how much of the needed equipment they are willing to provide and who will be responsible for its maintenance.

Screen carefully for people who are self-motivated and able to work autonomously without constant reinforcement. Take responsibility for ensuring the telecommuter meets company goals. Encourage telecommuters to have face time with others.

Challenges include the additional employee effort needed to stay connected to their colleagues and supervisor; the need for coverage of responsibilities during the offsite hours of the employee.