The University today published a new policy that outlines flexible work arrangements for employees. Beginning Monday, November 8, staff members in eligible positions will be able to ask for several different forms of flexibility, including working remotely on some days, coming in or leaving at times that differ from normal work hours, or fulfilling the obligations of a five-day workweek in four days.
The detailed policy comes in response to requests from employees, says David Vernon, vice president for Human Resources. “We took into consideration our experience since early 2020, what we were hearing from our employees, and what other universities are doing. Our goal was to fashion a policy that provides staff with flexibility, where it is practical, while also maintaining a high quality of service to our students and preserving the vibrant campus life that Montclair is known for.”
Vernon adds the new policy addresses the priorities of employees, helps attract and retain talented people in a competitive labor market, and enhances environmental sustainability and the efficiency of University operations.
Before the pandemic, the University, like many employers, expected staff to perform their jobs on campus. “While there are many advantages to working on the campus, our experiences during the last 18 months have shown that many employees performed well while working remotely,” Vernon says. “We are entering new territory in which employees want flexibility regarding their work arrangements. This policy permits us to address employees’ interests, and it will evolve over time based on what we learn.”
The policy does not apply to instructors, Civil Service employees in positions deemed essential, and roles where remote working is not practical, including police officers, health care providers and residence life staff. Also ineligible are employees who have active disciplinary actions in force, or whose performance has been documented as unsatisfactory.
Eligible employees who want to be considered for a flexible work arrangement should discuss it with their supervisor. Employees may learn about how to submit a request through Workday by accessing the Flexible Work Arrangements web page. The request needs the approval of both the supervisor and the dean or divisional vice president, who will determine if it meets the needs of the work unit and the University.
“It’s important to remember that flexible working is not right for every job. Each request will be looked at carefully and evaluated based on the position and the needs of students, the unit and the University,” Vernon explains.
The policy permits supervisors to rescind flexible work arrangements if they’re not successful, and to call employees in to work on the campus if circumstances require it. Approved flexible arrangements can last for up to six months, and then need to be reviewed and reapproved. Employees who currently have flexible work arrangements must request a continuation using the new request form, no later than November 8.
While on a flexible work arrangement, staff members are expected to be available during work hours, to promptly check and return phone and email messages, and to make it easy for other people to find them by publishing their off-site contact information in their email signature and outgoing voicemail message.
Employees working from an off-campus location are also expected to participate in meetings by Zoom or other channels as established by their supervisor, to dress professionally during Zoom and other video conference platforms, to protect the confidentiality of University records, and to follow all University policies, including those related to IT, information security and financial controls.
Employees may use University-provided laptops and office supplies when working off-campus. The University is not responsible for costs employees may incur to work at an alternate location, such as office furniture, Internet access, utility bills, or renovation of space.
The new Flexible Work Arrangements policy is quite detailed, and the University encourages employees to read it carefully and discuss their options with their supervisors. Questions about the new policy may also be directed to the general Human Resources mailbox at email@example.com or to Jill Pustelniak at firstname.lastname@example.org, 973-655-4227.