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Are flexible work options right for you?

From: HR Service Center

Re: Are Flexible Work Options Right For You?

Flexible Work Options (FWO) are becoming popular at Virginia Tech and around the state as we witness the inflation of gas prices and transportation costs. This benefit is an excellent way to reduce your costs, increase your effectiveness, and help the environment. In addition, telecommuting or alternative work scheduling may help you bring more balance to your life that is so full of work and home life. To take advantage of FWO, you should work with your supervisor to see if the program will work for your department and your specific responsibilities.

Hokie Wellness will be hosting opportunities to learn more about these programs and hear from other employees who are actively using the programs on:

  • Thursday April 21, from 12:10 to 12:50 in Burruss Hall, Room 325
  • Wednesday April 27, from 12:10 to 12:50 in Southgate, Room 142
  • Thursday May 5, from 12:10 to 12:50, Graduate Life Center, Conference Room C

Registration is not required.

Departments across the University are utilizing these alternatives. One such supervisor, Karen Snider from Science and Technology in Society, is an enthusiastic advocate for the alternative and remote work policies. She feels employees participating in these programs have a higher level of job satisfaction, higher productivity, better retention, decreased lost time, and improved work / life balance. However, she is quick to add that not all positions or employees are ideal for these programs.

Flexible Work Options (FWO) provides an alternative to the traditional 8-to-5 workday, or traditional office. Virginia Tech established FWO policies starting in 1996. Telecommuting is one option of FWO, which allows employees to work from an alternate work site. Hilary West, with Facilities Services, vanpools from Roanoke. In addition, she telecommutes one day a week. The majority of Hilary’s work responsibilities are on the computer, and she requested telecommuting one day per week. She uses the internet to connect with her office and get her job done. Hilary states that telecommuting (TC) has also had some unexpected benefits, such as extra sleep and having time to make healthier dinners on telecommuting days. These have all added to an improved work / life balance

Alternative work scheduling is another option of the FWO policies. Alternative scheduling allows for a variance in starting and ending times, 7:00 – 4:00, or compressed work week, such as 4 ten hour days. It is also very popular in private industry around the United States as medical, fire, police and rescue personnel as well as veterinary staff have utilized it for years. You can minimize your transportation costs while maximizing your time at the office. Larry Thompson has been utilizing the policy for alternative work scheduling (AWS) for about a year and a half. Due to changes in personal circumstance, Larry commutes 140 miles a day. His department head suggested the AWS opportunity to work 4 - 10 hours days. Prior to his supervisor’s suggestion, Larry wasn’t aware of these VT policies.

Virginia Tech has policies in place which may provide the relief you have been seeking, telecommuting and alternative work scheduling. It is important to note that not all positions are eligible or conducive toward these policies. In addition, these policies need agreement between both the supervising manager and employee. It is especially important to note that both alternative and remote work options require supervisor approval and completion of Agreement Forms. 

The forms are available online, along with detailed instructions, or you may contact the HR Service Center at 231-9331.