Flexible Scheduling and Remote Work Agreement Operational Guidelines

UW-Madison, Division of Extension positions have varying demands beyond normal working hours. Flexible scheduling and remote work are essential tools for developing and sustaining a successful long-term relationship between the individual and the organization. The ability to work remotely and/or from an alternate location, when done in alignment with the Division’s Criteria for Success, allows employees to have flexibility while maintaining a balance that encourages strong partner development and customer service.



The purposes of these guidelines are to:

  • Make clear the need to communicate with, and receive approval from, the supervisor prior to flexing their normal schedule or working remotely. Note: supervisor approval can be provided for a generally expected approach and/or schedule, if appropriate.
  • Reiterate that regular remote work, generally expected to last at least a month, can only be used if a Remote Work Agreement (RWA) is submitted and approved.
  • Provide clarification to our partners, colleagues and support staff about how our work time and location adjusts to meet work expectations
  • Reiterate the requirement to utilize MS Outlook Calendar to communicate schedules and work locations

These guidelines are not intended to substitute for other existing policies such as the paid leave policies, remote work policies, etc. 

All Extension employees are accountable to their supervisor and, in the case of faculty located in counties, their Area Extension Director for their time and for fulfilling their assigned job responsibilities. The supervisor is responsible for working with their employees to support the use of flexible schedules and remote work in a way that is most effective for the employee and all forms of service delivery. The employee must communicate with their supervisor about their desired plans, and utilize  their MS Outlook calendar to share their working hours and location.

Extension employees need to maintain a schedule that allows appropriate availability to internal and external partners, and clearly communicate their schedule to supervisors, clients, colleagues, and support staff.

Extension professionals’ responsibilities often require more than 40 hours per week and include non-routine office hours. These guidelines are not designed to equitably compensate (hour for hour) for work outside the typical workday (i.e. comp time). In general, faculty and academic staff are given flexibility to schedule their work in a way that allows them to most effectively do their jobs. However, to most effectively manage the unit, supervisors and team members need to be aware of the employee’s schedule, especially when it deviates from their typical work hours or in a location other than their Extension office or program delivery site.


Flexible Schedule: An agreement in which an employee alters their working hours to be outside those of their typical workday. Flexible scheduling reflects the fundamental nature of a salaried professional position to commit the time needed to accomplish their work responsibilities in a flexible manner.

Flexible scheduling is meant to provide an opportunity to balance professional and personal time in this work environment. Extension educational professionals should not expect that hours worked in excess of 40 in a week be taken off “hour for hour” through flexible scheduling.

Remote Work: A work arrangement in which some or all work is regularly performed at a location other than an Extension work site or partner site in which programming is being conducted. This arrangement is reflected in a formalized agreement, submitted within the division and approved by leadership.

Remote Work

Extension supports an employee’s ability to work remotely for limited amounts of time, as long as program participant and organizational partner needs are being met. All employees that want to work remotely for any ongoing time (other than the occasional and sporadic remote work), must complete a Remote work agreement.

If an Extension employee is not in an Extension office or doing onsite programming/field work, they must communicate with their supervisor about plans to work remotely or flex their schedule. The employee’s Outlook calendar should reflect the work location.

The supervisor has the right to deny or revoke remote or flex scheduling as appropriate to effectively manage service or program delivery, local office needs and partnership management. Ongoing communication between the employee and supervisor is imperative to the success of our workplace.

Also, it is important to keep in mind the importance of physically being present to assist in the development of strong relationships and enhanced communications with partners and colleagues.

Operational Guidelines

Professional expectations require that Extension personnel communicate with their supervisor and office team, in advance of when they will be adjusting their schedule by posting the time and working location on their online Outlook calendars.

It is expected that schedules will:

  1. Support a balance of professional and personal time that is healthy for the individual and the organization;
  2. Create an efficient and collaborative workplace that provides exceptional customer service through communication with colleagues and partners;
  3. Ensure reasonable access to Extension expertise during regular office hours; and
  4. Be consistent with federal, state, county and university policies.

Operational Considerations

  1. It is the responsibility of the employee to communicate with, and receive approval from, their immediate supervisor in advance. If the scheduling request would negatively affect the unit’s program or function, the supervisor can deny that request. Note: Supervisor approval can be provided for a generally expected approach and/or schedule, if appropriate.
  2. Extension employees are responsible for maintaining their MS Outlook online calendars. Office support staff, colleagues, and supervisors will have access to the online calendars with details (including dates, times and locations) for each employee in the office.  If the confidentiality of a meeting with a stakeholder is needed, or the meeting is personal in nature, that can be indicated by marking the appointment confidential.
  3. Professional expectations require that Extension personnel communicate with their office team and supervisor in advance about their work schedule and location. This includes keeping support staff apprised (if applicable) of their work schedules and location, and be reasonably responsive to phone calls, texts and emails when working away from the office during typical office hours.
  4. Given that Extension educational professionals are expected to engage in Extension programming during and beyond the regularly established office hours (i.e., Monday through Friday), care should be taken to create a balance of professional and personal time that is healthy for the individual and the organization.
  5. The use of employee paid leave is different than flexible scheduling and is guided under UW-Madison policies. Flexible scheduling is not to be substituted for utilizing accrued leave time when necessary and appropriate. (Note: Formal Comp time is not allowed.)
  6. Flexible scheduling is not intended to augment holiday, vacation or sick leave nor constitute a regular alternative work schedule that creates a repetitive pattern of time off (i.e., taking every Friday off).   

Note that different geographical areas may have different operational needs. If this is the case, clarification of local operational procedures may be created and need to be in alignment with these guidelines and provide the necessary flexibility to meet clientele, employee and office needs regarding scheduling. Operational procedures may be documented locally, but it is not required, and they are the purview of the supervisor. 

Additionally, the following policies and procedures apply and complement this Operational Guideline.

Division of Extension Policies & Procedures

UW-Madison Policies & Procedures

Remote Work Agreements:

UW-Madison Inclement Weather Guidelines

UW-5055 Inclement Weather

Note – We understand weather can vary throughout the state, and many staff work in offices and facilities that are not Extension facilities (such as county offices), which may at times be closed when UW facilities remain open.  Supervisors and staff should discuss and have a plan in place so that all have clear expectations of what to do.

UW-Madison Standard and Alternative Work schedule

UW-5049 Standard Office Hours

KeywordsFlexible Scheduling Guidelines Flex Variable Alternative Home   Doc ID112590
OwnerNathaniel S.GroupExtension Handbook
Created2021-07-22 14:39:22Updated2024-02-19 11:32:36
SitesExtension Handbook
Feedback  0   0