HHD Guidelines for Policy HR107: Flexible Work Arrangements
HHD Guidelines for Implementation of University Policy HR107: Staff Employee Flexible Work
All college supervisors and staff are expected to ultimately comply with University Policy HR107 as well as these guidelines.
While HR107 takes effect on July 25, 2022, HHD will take steps to transition to the new policy with the goal of full compliance on or before October 15, 2022. Until October 15, 2022, all units are to continue to follow the current HHD guidance in place during the 21/22 academic year. As of October 15, 2022, these new guidelines will replace the current guidelines, and specifics therein (e.g., including the criteria that the majority of staff in a unit spend the majority of their work time back on campus).
Determining Work Arrangements for Current Employees Under HR107
The following outlines the process the college will follow to implement HR107 and review work arrangement plans as we transition from COVID operations work arrangements.
Department managers, supervisors, and staff employees should review HR107 and these guidelines carefully. In addition, there are other useful resources that are available for developing work arrangement plans under HR107 provided by the University as well as this FAQ page built by the college.
Since certain terms at Penn State and in HHD can mean different things in different contexts, the terms as defined below are provided for clarity, but should be considered specific to this HHD guideline only.
Department: This terms refers to all of the following academic departments and the School of Hospitality Management, designated college research centers, ISS, Facilities, Communications, Finance and Accounting, Development and Alumni Relations, Undergraduate Student Affairs, Undergraduate Programs and Outreach and Online Education, Center for Student Advising and Engagement, Diversity Equity Inclusion and Faculty Affairs, Research and Graduate Education, Human Resources, Finance, Deans office staff.
Department Manager: The leader of a department as defined inclusively above (for example, can be an academic department head or the director of a research center or central college operating unit).
Supervisor: Any HHD employee who has the responsibility for time tracking and performance reviews of full-time staff.
Unit: A single supervisor and all the staff that report to that supervisor (units can be nested within other units, with the highest nesting level at the college being the “Department”).
Office: A physical space housing staff. Can be individual or group (>2 staff). Can be outward-facing or non-outward-facing. Outward facing offices can require in-person coverage or not require in-person coverage.
Year: The period from August 15th (the start of the new academic year) to the following August 14th.
Next, department managers, supervisors, and staff employees should review and follow these guiding principles that HHD has developed in preparing to review work arrangements under HR107.
- We must fulfill our mission
Our staff are critical to advancing the college’s mission by contributing to our education, research, and outreach activities directly or indirectly and/or by supporting the general administration and operations necessary to conduct those activities. Our standards are high and we strive for excellence. Staff have a responsibility to make sure that job duties are covered and should not assume that flexibility can always be extended. Staff are accountable for key meetings and events requiring in-person attendance, as defined by their supervisor, and should be prepared to modify their flexible work arrangements when necessary to meet job expectations.
- We support flexibility when feasible
We encourage supervisors to explore unit-level plans that support the mission while considering flexibility without sacrificing or negatively impacting the experiences of our students, alumni, and other constituents.
- We need to be accessible
In general core hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, however each unit may have variations based on specific needs throughout the academic year. Individual staff may have schedules that differ from these hours. However, all units need to make known through signage and/or website notice how they can be contacted during these hours. Supervisors who designate their units as requiring in-person coverage will be expected to have in-person staffing during core hours.
- We need to communicate
Supervisors and staff are expected to have collegial conversations on work arrangements so that supervisors understand staff work arrangement preferences and staff understand supervisor’s perspectives on how work arrangements impact the unit’s ability to achieve its goals.
- Flexibility can mean different things
Flexibility does not by default mean remote work as it can be about different work schedules, varying work modes, staggered start and end times, alternative shifts, etc. In addition, there may be different times during the year when different scheduling is possible and/or necessary to meet the operational needs of the unit. All employees are expected to fulfill their responsibilities and complete their share of assigned work, whether or not the employee has flexible work arrangements. A given employee’s flexible arrangement should not disproportionately impact the workload on others.
- Not all positions are the same
The type of flexibility that can be offered will depend principally on the duties of each individual position. However, positions with similar duties may have different amounts of flexibility due to the specific mission or characteristics of the unit. We ask supervisors to consider each position and the appropriate flexibility for the role. Supervisors should provide flexibility for staff positions based on the responsibilities of the role in the context of their mission and work creatively to design plans that are inclusive of all staff.
- Not all units are the same
Given their ability under University policy to approve flexible work arrangements, supervisors in each unit play a major role in determining flexible work arrangements. The expectation is that they will make decisions about flexible work based on work assignments, the needs of the unit, and the preferences of the staff member. Under HHD guidelines, supervisors are expected to work with their department managers to determine appropriate parameters for staffing within their unit.
Finally, department managers, supervisors, and staff employees should consider these general HHD expectations for work arrangements under HR107.
- All units must have clearly posted contact and schedule information.
- For employees using a hybrid schedule, calendars should be updated daily to ensure accurate portrayal of work status (see Appendix A for more information on how to do this).
- Employees who are working in a hybrid fashion will be expected to be available via phone, Teams, Zoom, email and other communication methods during work hours, in a similar manner to if they were in the office.
- On remote days, employees are responsible to forward work phones that they typically monitor when onsite to ensure phone coverage is not disrupted.
- Staff with flexible work arrangements that include remote work are responsible for maintaining an appropriate work environment and demonstrating expected productivity.
- Supervisors and department managers are encouraged to be intentional about work assignments and communications to ensure equitable work distribution and transparency among onsite, remote, and hybrid teams.
- All employees are encouraged to have their cameras on during all Zoom, Teams, or similar platform meetings.
- HR 107 outlines the University’s policy limiting the provisioning of office furniture and computer equipment for remote use. Individuals may choose to purchase additional office equipment items to support hybrid work. Penn State offers a surplus site that you may choose to explore.
- When practical, meeting invitations should also include a virtual meeting link to accommodate residential, hybrid, and remote work modes. When meetings require in person attendance that should be clear.
- All schedules and work arrangements are subject to ongoing evaluation and can be changed at any time with appropriate approvals and notice.
- Certain onsite events (including but not limited to: NSO, onsite interviews, graduation, select meetings, conferences, symposia, etc.) may require employees needed for staffing the events to attend in-person, regardless of whether they are scheduled to work in a remote capacity on the date of the event. Supervisors should notify staff of any in-person required days/events, in advance of finalizing flexible work arrangements, to ensure that each staff member has a clear understanding of these key events and dates for their position. Staff are responsible for planning appropriately to staff in-person events as needed.
- Employees are expected to include information about their remote/hybrid days in their email signature (review suggestions on how to do this in Appendix B).
With these principles and expectations in mind, supervisors and staff employees should begin having conversations about work arrangements in their units.
Supervisors should relay information about planned post HR107 work arrangements for their employees to their department managers by August 15, 2022.
Department managers will discuss any concerns with supervisors and will submit summary work plans to HHD HR by August 31, 2022.
This department plan should include a narrative statement on departmental expectations around core hours, a listing of offices that require in-person staffing, information on periods where staff will be afforded increased flexibility. In addition, all departments will be asked to submit a line listing of all staff with the following data elements:
- Work arrangement, including days of the week onsite and remote, if applicable, as well as start and end times.
- Job title
- Office assignment: Building (drop down)/room # (fill in) or not applicable
- Office type (individual/group)
- Office type (out-ward facing y/n)
- Office type (requires in-person coverage y/n)
- Whether the staff schedule preference was approved (y/n)
- If staff schedule preference was not approved, why
While we expect some level of variance due to the differences in functions and positions across the college, all staff flexible work plans will be subject to review by college leadership and ultimately may need to be adjusted to secure final approval. HHD HR will compile the annual plans for initial review by the Assistant Dean for Operations and final approval by the Dean. Review will focus on:
- The list of offices with in-person coverage requirements (for completeness)
- The distribution of staff assignment to, and work arrangements for, offices with in-person coverage requirements
- The distribution of work arrangement types (i.e., from all in person to fully remote) within and between units
- Work arrangements for groups of employees with similar job functions (advisors, business administrators, etc.).
Department managers may be asked for more justification based on the above.
Once reviewed by the Assistant Dean for Operations, the compiled plan will be forwarded to the Dean for approval.
Department managers will be notified of approval status by September 15, 2022.
Approval will also clearly delineate which employees need to enter a flexible work arrangement into Workday. Department managers will inform supervisors of approval by September 20, 2022.
Supervisors will then let individual employees know that they need to enter their planned work arrangement into Workday by September 25, 2022. Employees should make those entries by September 30, 2022. No requests should be entered into Workday by employees prior to September 25, 2022. Requests for flexible work arrangements made by individual employees through Workday that have not gone through this college approval process will not be approved.
Annual Review of Work Arrangements
After the initial implementation this fall, each spring supervisors will be expected to discuss/review work arrangement plans with their staff (this can be done currently with the annual review) in a manner consistent with HR107 and the guiding principles above.
The college will follow the same process used above to approve and document work arrangement decisions for the upcoming year. Supervisors will be expected to submit their unit’s staff work arrangement information for the upcoming year to their department manager by March 1st and departments managers are expected to submit summary work plans to HHD HR by April 1st. College approval will be provided by June 1.
Adjusting Individual Employee’s Work Arrangements Off Cycle
- If a supervisor determines that an adjustment is to be made to an employee’s work arrangement outside of the annual submission, HHD HR should be notified and will review the request. Once approved, the supervisor will be notified, the updated arrangements will be documented, and the supervisor will be responsible for updating Workday.
- It is expected that prior to the submission of a work arrangement change, the supervisor would have had a discussion with the employee about rationale as well as any options and alternatives.
- Supervisors should consult with the department manager before submitting a work arrangement change request.
- HHD Human Resources is also available for consultation to employees and supervisors at any point in the process to assist in identifying creative solutions where feasible.
- Adjustments may be reviewed by the Assistant Dean for Operations prior to approval.
Please note: Ad hoc changes to an employee schedule on an as needed basis may be made by the supervisor to accommodate infrequent personal requests and needs when possible. Staff should request paid time off when circumstances are such that they will not be in an environment free from distraction and suitable for remote work. If ad hoc requests become frequent or routine, a formal request to adjust plans should be initiated.
Employees hired after July 25, 2022 should have their work arrangements approved as part of the hiring process. This may include an arrangement from July 25-October 15, 2022 and what the arrangement will be post October 15, 2022.
FAQs on HHD Implementation of HR107
Calendar Sharing Information
Microsoft Outlook provides several calendar options that allow you control how other users can view your calendar and allows you to assign permission for other users to view details, modify, edit and/or create events on your calendar. By default, your calendar settings should be set to "Free / Busy Time", which means that other users viewing your calendar can see the time blocks of your appointments but cannot see the details of your meeting.
To provide more details than “Free/Busy” you can select “Free/Busy time/Subject/Location” as your default and this will give all viewers just that information, nothing more. They cannot click into the meeting and access any materials inside the meeting invite nor see who else is invited to the meeting. They can only view your “Show As” status along with the subject line and location of the meeting.
Should you be approved for a flexible work arrangement, here are some tips to keep your calendar current and to share limited details with others about your location. Please remember, any Private Appointments you do not want shared with anyone, should be marked “Private” by selecting the lock key in the upper right-hand corner. When you select “Private” no information, including the subject line or location can be seen by anyone else.
To indicate hybrid workdays on your calendar, please select a New Appointment in the calendar setting and indicate your work hours (generally 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) and under “Show As” select “Working Elsewhere” (see example. below)
Your email signature can be the first indication of your work status to any individual receiving emails from you. Simply add your hybrid schedule to your email signature by accessing
File → Options → Mail → Signatures
To establish your email signature in a hybrid work setting, please see the example below as a suggestion
Jane Q. Public
Director of Wellness
JQP100 @ psu.edu
Please feel free to reach me by email or cell. I'll be working on campus T/Th and from my home office M/W/F.
It is important to remember to put you out of office autoreply on for days when you are not working. When possible, an alternative contact should also be listed.