Workplace Flexibility

man working at laptopWe know that flexible work arrangements—which allow for variations in when, how long, or where you work—can make it easier to do your best work while still meeting JHU’s business needs.



COVID-19 Considerations

Managers are encouraged to develop and implement telework plans for eligible employees to prevent or reduce the spread of infection. Eligible employees should work from home when possible, provided it does not interfere with continued operations of the university and is consistent with the workplace flexibility guidelines listed below. In light of the current circumstances, Managers should work with HR to approve “work from home” plans until further notice.

While we encourage work from home, there is some work at Johns Hopkins that simply cannot be done from home. Managers should establish flexible work schedules for Required Attendance staff where possible to reduce the number of people working near one another on a given day. Implement social distancing practices meant to reduce close contact in the workplace (e.g., maintain a distance of 6 feet from others). Consider transitioning all meetings to phone or virtual formats.

Our commitment to fostering a culture of flexibility means we’ll work hard to create a work environment that meets your needs. Of course, not all positions, people, or work situations are a good fit for flexible work arrangements. Ultimately, the decision is between you and your manager. To help navigate that decision for both of you, we’ve provided more information, below.

Important Considerations

Though flexible work arrangements aren’t appropriate for everyone or every job, when planned and implemented properly, they can yield a host of benefits, including increased productivity, improved morale, decreased absenteeism and turnover, and improved quality of work.

When determining the appropriateness of such arrangements, supervisors or managers will consider employees’ current job performance and attendance, their ability to work independently, whether the nature of the work to be performed lends itself to the arrangement being considered, the impact the flexible work arrangement will have on others, and other factors.

If you’re an employee considering requesting a flexible workplace arrangement, we recommend being prepared to answer the following questions:

  • Am I knowledgeable about my job?
  • Have I demonstrated good judgment?
  • Am I disciplined enough to get my work done with minimal supervision?
  • How will my performance be measured in my flexible work arrangement?
  • Does the job contain tasks that can be done at nontraditional times or from an alternate work location?

And remember, flexible work arrangements must comply with all applicable Johns Hopkins and collective bargaining agreements regarding overtime, holidays, vacation leave, and sick time.

Proposing a Flexible Work Schedule

You may submit a written flexible work arrangement proposal to your manager for consideration. Your manager or supervisor may also assign a position to an alternate or flexible work arrangement to meet work requirements. Once adopted, a flexible work arrangement may be revised or ended in the same way that other work schedule modifications would be made for the position.

Approved flexible work schedules are those that sustain or enhance employees’ ability to complete the functions of their job without presenting an undue inconvenience to Johns Hopkins, its clients, or the employees’ departments. The arrangement may be reviewed and changed at any time.

Flexible Work Schedule Options

Options for flexible work schedules at JHU include:

  • Fixed starting and ending times: This arrangement adjusts your starting and ending times of work. For example, you may be approved to work from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, as opposed to the more traditional schedule of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Fixed varied starting and ending times: This arrangement allows you to vary your starting and ending times, depending on the day of the week, while still working 7.5 hours per day. For example, you might work 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, etc. A common feature of this flexible work schedule is that there are “core” hours when the unit is fully staffed.
  • Compressed work schedules: This arrangement allows you to change the number of hours you work each day to permit fewer workdays per week. For example, if you’re regularly scheduled to work 40 hours per week, you might work four 10-hour days.
  • Reduced-time schedules: This arrangement allows you to work reduced hours and tasks, possibly with pro-rated salary and/or benefits.
Alternate Work Locations

While most positions require employees to report to official Johns Hopkins locations, the duties of some positions can be accomplished at alternate or remote work locations. Alternate work location arrangements are very different from the informal practice of staff occasionally working at home. Johns Hopkins offers a more formal option for a flexible work arrangement that allows you to work at an alternate location, such as your home, one or more days a week.

Working at a remote location is feasible only if a supervisor or manager can reasonably monitor your work performance while you carry out your duties there, and if you can demonstrate that the location constitutes a safe, private, and productive work environment. And, you’ll need to abide by our alternate work location terms and conditions.

Because of potentially complicated issues with respect to confidentiality of information, equipment, work space designation, liability issues, and income tax consequences, any decision about alternate work location arrangements should include consultation with divisional human resources representatives, who will be able to provide advice and help develop an Alternate Work Location Proposal Form.

Approved alternate work locations will sustain or enhance your ability to do your job while not presenting an undue inconvenience to Johns Hopkins, its clients, or your department. Unless otherwise agreed to, working from an alternate location will be a cost-neutral arrangement for Johns Hopkins. The arrangement may be reviewed and changed by a supervisor or manager at any time.

Discussion of alternate work locations can be initiated by the supervisor or a staff member. If you’re interested in seeking an alternate work location arrangement, submit a request in writing to your manager or supervisor by completing the Alternate Work Location Proposal Form.

Manager Guidance and FAQ

JHU offers an online, self-paced course to help managers and supervisors better understand and evaluate flexible work arrangements. The course, Flexible Work Arrangements: A Guide for Managers, makes the business case for flexibility, identifies and sharpens the skills needed to manage flexible work arrangements, and offers practice in choosing and managing employees on flexible work arrangements.

We also have answers to frequently asked questions that will help you understand and manage flexible work arrangements.