Alternative Work Arrangement Tips for Supervisors

Be informed

Considering new ways of managing employees and structuring work can be intimidating. It can also be uncomfortable for an employee to request a discussion with their supervisor on the topic. The resources available here are intended to help supervisors be well informed about the intricacies and how to manage accordingly.


Supervisors are encouraged to seek assistance from Human Resources when they are unsure of policies, process, and best practices.

Focus on results

Supervisors who successfully manage employee performance through a results-oriented approach often find the transition to managing flexible work arrangements to be less dramatic than anticipated.  Supervisors who are a part of a work culture that emphasizes “being present – face to face” may be more challenged by this shift in management style.

Make a decision

Supervisors need to make sure that the work of their unit is being accomplished in a timely manner that align with business objectives.  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 reliability and work styles.

Plan and communicate

Consider the potential improvement of business/department needs when assessing flexible schedule proposals from employees. Develop systems and structures that allow employees to respond to ever-changing work demands, such as having a back-up plan for coverage and communication. Communicate consistently about standards for accountability, quality, and timeliness.

Include employees

Make sure to include employees in the development and improvement of the department’s flexibility offerings. When arrangements are made, clearly communicate them with all employees, so that they fully understand their role and how their work lives will be impacted, as well as the flexible work options available.

Assess success

Supervisors should consider redefining staffing success by job design and outcomes; hours, visibility (face-time), process, and location are not measures of success. Business outcomes, employee productivity and engagement are what make a difference in the work environment.

Create a supportive environment

Managers should find creative ways to promote an environment in which all employees feel supported during alternative work arrangements.