Many of you have heard that the Secretary-General is keen to encourage the use of flexible working arrangements (FWAs). FWAs are voluntary and not a reward or an entitlement. However, if managed properly, they can encourage work-life balance and positively impact on staff performance, morale, productivity, job satisfaction and organizational commitment.
For memory, permitted FWAs are:
- staggered working hours;
- compressed work schedule: ten working days in nine;
- scheduled break for external learning activities; and
- work away from the office (telecommuting).
However, in meetings we have held with you, and with managers and departmental focal points for women (though FWAs are popular with both genders), it has become clear that many staff hold back from requesting FWAs because of how it may be perceived by their managers, while at the same time many managers are unsure how to manage staff benefiting from these arrangements and the impact it will have on the rest of the section.
The UN’s policy on FWAs is described in a number of administrative issuances (attached). However, we understand that their bureaucratic language may not provide the required guidance on this matter. To this end, we would like to draw your attention to guidance issued in UNCTAD last year, which better describes how these arrangements work, the roles and responsibilities of staff, supervisors and other actors, the importance of dialogue at the section level, how monitoring can occur and what to do in particular circumstances. We are also pleased to attach powerpoint guidance from UNOG HRMS.