The ability to forge flexible workplace agreements with faculty is an oft-hidden and under-utilized strategic advantage for colleges and universities.
Workplace flexibility is a strategic advantage for higher education. Unlike organizations with fixed constraints on what they deliver and how they deliver it, colleges and universities have leeway to reconsider the structures and mechanisms used to achieve their mission. Accordingly, institutions can consider more ways to engage faculty in work that is both matched to their talents and that supports institutional goals. At the same time, faculty members often want more ways to structure their work to meet the changing realities of their lives. This paper focuses on colleges and universities that have tapped into this strategic advantage, adding flexibility in such areas as faculty time to advancement, terms of advancement, workload and the nature of appointments.
- Creating flexible organizational practices requires rethinking old assumptions based on a one-size-fits-all approach.
- The available evidence suggests flexible policies improve inclusion of diverse faculty, increase efficiency in matching institutional needs and individual talents, boost organizational commitment and productivity, and enhance perceptions of fairness.
- Increased flexibility also can result in mutual satisfaction for faculty members and their institutions by enabling both to achieve their goals.