Flexible Work - Human Resources at Ohio State

Flexible Work

Ohio State supports flexible work arrangements to achieve a reliable and productive work environment that enables staff to balance work and personal needs. The university encourages college and unit leaders to take advantage of the opportunities where employees can work differently – through remote, hybrid or other work arrangements. The availability of flexible work options may change as we evolve in how we do our work.

The Flexible Work Agreement currently as a PDF form will soon be available online in HR Connection. Once online, employees will be able to complete their agreement with their manager via HR Connection, and agreements will be securely stored to enable Payroll to access work location information for tax reporting. For now, use the PDF form only as a reference to understand the expectations of the agreement. Managers and leaders should continue to have discussions and execute their plans utilizing the guidance on the HR websiteIf possible, postpone submission of your flexible work agreement until the online form is available. An update will be communicated in August when the online form is available for use.

Flexible Work Details

There are various and important benefits to providing flexible work options. As an employer, it is imperative to support diversity, equity and inclusion efforts by removing barriers such as physical limitations. Flexible work contributes to the mental and physical wellbeing of employees, supports work/life alignment, allows for business continuity during emergency circumstances, reduces absenteeism and extends coverage during non-standard business hours. Other benefits of flexible work arrangements include:

  • Reduces commuting time and costs.
  • May ease parking demands.
  • Allows employees the freedom to choose their residence without having to consider proximity to the worksite.
  • Increased employee productivity and performance.
  • Improves the university’s competitive edge when recruiting talented and diverse candidates while improving retention of highly skilled staff and faculty.
  • Supports Safe and Healthy recommendations for employees required to be on-site to allow for more space and distance.
  • Shifts Ohio State to align with opportunities offered to employees by our peer institutions.
  • Allows Ohio State to offer employment opportunities that are aligned with our peer institutions.
  • May enhance the use of facilities or equipment and ease space concerns.
  • Reduces the carbon footprint of Ohio State and may facilitate compliance with environmental legislation.

Flexible work options are comprised of two categories: location and time. Location flexibility is the ability to alter the location of your workplace in some manner. Time flexibility is the ability to adjust your work hours in some manner. These types of work options can be used separately or combined to create a flexible work request. Flexible work arrangements may have an impact on an employee’s pay and benefits.

Location Flexibility
  • Telework: Performing some or all job duties off-site, while being connected to the workplace. When performing telework in any capacity, you may still be required to come on-site on an as-needed basis, as directed by a supervisor. The frequency of these occasions and the logistics of travel are discussed when creating the flexible work agreement.
    • Remote Work: Performing 100% of job duties off-site.
    • Hybrid Work: Performing some percentage of job duties off-site, while performing on-site for the remainder of the time.
Time Flexibility
  • Flexible Schedule: Work hours with start and end times and/or days that are not typical for your position within your unit.
  • Compressed Workweek: Adjust your normal hours of work into fewer days than your typical workweek.  For example, a full-time employee scheduled for 40 hours per week could work four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days.
  • Job Share: An arrangement under which two or more individuals share the duties of one full-time position.
  • Change of Full Time Equivalency (FTE): Adjusting the number of hours worked per week to be more than or less than your current position.

After considering all needs to maintain a safe and healthy return to campus and what work needs to be done on-site, we believe continued use and implementation of new flexible work arrangements may be appropriate for staff and faculty in some positions and departments. We understand this may not be possible for all, and therefore, managers reserve the right to require, deny, alter or cease flexible arrangements based on the unit’s business needs, the individual’s work performance or other factors. Managers should still work through needs that might be individual based while also evaluating entire teams. The approval of a remote work plan and other flexible work arrangements is not a right of an employee or faculty member and it also does not change the terms and conditions of employment with Ohio State.

Below are two tools that help with the evaluation of how we prepare for fall 2021 as well as evaluating individual requests for flexible work requests. We recommend you first use the Manager Checklist to work through overall planning. Next, consult the Decision-Making Criteria when considering flexible work arrangements for teams and individuals.

The university is responsible for accurately reporting your state and/or local withholding taxes based on where you are working. It is your responsibility, in partnership with your manager to ensure your work location(s) on record is accurate and up to date.

However, due to the pandemic, Ohio legislature passed legislation on March 27, 2020, addressing income tax issues for out-of-state employers with employees now working remotely in Ohio. House Bill 197 suspended the impact of municipal taxes based on the location of work, and Ohio State will track and report taxes based on each employee’s approved work locations as required by law. Work locations prior to the pandemic will continue to be reported until further notice.

In the event there is a request for flexible work arrangements that involve an out of state location, because employment laws differ in each state, careful consideration must be given before seeking approval for these arrangements, including the loss of income to the state of Ohio.

Telework, which includes remote or hybrid work arrangements, should encompass the following requirements for healthy working environments.

  • Physical environments: Remote workspaces should be safe, ergonomic and promote employee well-being.
  • Meeting requirements: Effective remote meetings require clear and secure audio/video connections (see technology requirements above). Remote workspaces should be free of potential distractions and allow all meeting participants to focus their attention.
    • In-person work meetings should follow the guidance outlined in the Safe and Healthy Guidance.

Growth in remote/hybrid work will likely influence on-campus space planning, possibly requiring new kinds of spaces. On-campus office spaces may become available for other uses. Decisions must be thoughtful, coordinated, and consistent with existing planning processes. Development of space-planning policies and processes will continue as units and colleges implement initial plans for remote/hybrid work throughout 2021.

Team culture and engagement is essential for establishing expectations for how people interact and work together and can ultimately impact productivity, collaboration and performance. We encourage managers to find creative ways to provide experiences that will shape or reshape team culture. Huddles, meetings, team commitments and paying close attention to the perception of group dynamics are just a few ways to address and maintain a desirable culture and level of engagement. Strategies that will be covered in more detail during “Leading Today for Tomorrow” training include:

  • Hold regularly scheduled team huddles or meetings virtually for all members. If you decide these gatherings will be a mix of employees in a conference room and virtual, make sure those attending virtually can see everyone in the room and vice versa.
  • Have a group discussion with your team about work practices that will contribute to a desired team culture.
  • Make sure to engage remote and in-person team members in similar ways.
  • Encourage employees to offer possible solutions if any issues are discovered, and make sure you address those appropriately and in a timely manner.
Resources
  • Your Plan for Health (YP4H) is Ohio State’s preventive approach for providing benefit-eligible faculty/staff and their enrolled spouses with the tools and resources for living a healthy life.
  • Buckeye Wellness provides innovative and evidence-based programs to help individuals optimize their well-being, based on the nine dimensions of wellness.
  • Ohio State’s Employee Assistance Program offers tools and resources to help address complex issues that can be affecting your mental and emotional well-being.

The Ohio State University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to ensure employees with qualifying disabilities enjoy seamless access to employment opportunities. The Office of Human Resources, Integrated Absence Management and Vocational Services Department (IAMVS), in consultation with the ADA Coordinator’s Office, partners with employees and departments throughout the interactive process. Employees seeking an accommodation, or supervisors or managers who have been presented with a request for an accommodation, should contact IAMVS at 614-292-3439 or hr-integrateddisability@osu.edu.