McMaster University: New guidelines for flexible work at McMaster now available

As we continue to return to a “new normal,” one aspect of life at McMaster has undoubtedly changed: how and where we work. Newly released university Flexible Work Guidelines will assist managers and employees in navigating the flexible work arrangement process.

While the frequency of how often a person can take advantage of flexible work arrangements will continue to be managed by supervisors and leaders, the guidelines establish a standard process for employees and managers to propose and approve an arrangement and ensure consistency in how they are made within faculties and departments.

“At McMaster, we are committed to enabling a work culture that is safe, inclusive, collaborative and allows every employee to contribute and thrive,” says Wanda McKenna, McMaster’s assistant vice president and chief human resources officer.

“It is essential that we stay flexible to the needs of employees while continuing to provide exceptional service and support for students, faculty and staff.”

The guidelines were developed by the Workplace and Employee Experience Committee, which included members from across units and types of work experience. It conducted extensive consultations with employees and leadership from across the university and researched best practices across the sector. Many staff have been working flexibly for some time, and the committee listened to what was working well and where there were opportunities and concerns.

“Of course, flexible work arrangements are not always possible across the university, and they may look different depending on the position, department or Faculty,” says Saher Fazilat, vice-president, Operations and Finance.

“We know our supervisors and leaders can determine what will work for each team while continuing to ensure our operations run smoothly and we fulfill the mission of the university.”

The new flexible work webpage includes examples of different flexible work options, a step-by-step proposal process including templates and samples, and many additional resources to help staff and supervisors successfully establish and maintain these arrangements. It also provides an interactive opportunity for employees to share their experiences with flexible work at McMaster. Staff and supervisors are encouraged to review the many helpful tools and templates available.

“We recognize that providing flexibility, where possible, is critical in retaining and attracting talent, enhancing employee well-being and a positive employee experience,” says Provost and vice-president (Academic) Susan Tighe. “People are at the heart of everything McMaster does, and we want to support everyone in their success no matter their role at the university.”