FWA Guidelines

Building on a successful pilot that began in May 2022, McGill is continuing to support a hybrid workplace for its Administrative and Support Staff. This new phase of Flexible Work Arrangements will GO LIVE in March 2024 with several new features:

  • A comprehensive Healthy Hybrid Framework, supported by Guiding Principles and Accountabilities to help shape local decision-making and implementation
  • A broader range of work-from-home options based on factors such as the nature of the work, unit and client needs, and planned space efficiency initiatives
  • A simplified application process in Workday for FWA requests and approvals, follow-up, data collection and reporting
  • Greater local decision-making within the parameters of the Healthy Hybrid Framework, in accordance with differences across Faculties and Units
  • Additional training and tools for both individuals and teams to enhance overall effectiveness

These developments are the result of extensive consultation with stakeholders and analyses conducted over the course of Phase I, in addition to learnings derived from several space-sharing and hoteling pilots across the University. Over this next phase, we will continue to monitor trends, track progress and learn from each other as the hybrid workplace evolves.


Under the umbrella of FLEXIBLE WORK ARRANGEMENTS, McGill’s options for eligible Administrative and Support Staff now include:

  • Work from home FIXED: several WFH ratios with fixed days onsite
  • Work from home FLEX: several WFH ratios with varied days onsite
  • Flex Time: a daily work schedule with alternative start and end times that differ from the standard work schedule (same number of daily hours)

Employees may apply for both a Work-from-Home option AND a Flextime schedule (2 separate requests). For Flextime, the specific hours should be documented locally between the employee and the supervisor.

Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA) fosters a work culture that values employee well-being and flexibility, while maintaining predominantly onsite arrangement that supports collaboration, belonging, community, and quality service.

Guiding Principles

  1. Ensure that McGill’s Mission and its service to students, teaching and research remain at the heart of decisions regarding hybrid work.
  2. Maintain a continuous learning approach to effectively address the evolving needs of our community and our institution, using sound measures and participatory approaches to shape healthy hybrid, monitor progress and adjust as required.
  3. Promote a vibrant McGill community and workplace that attracts and retains diverse talent, supporting employee engagement, and overall wellbeing.
  4. Empower Faculties and Administrative Units to manage their Healthy Hybrid workplace in accordance with McGill’s Guiding Principles and Framework, counting on leaders, teams and employees to be accountable for the ongoing quality and quantity of their deliverables regardless of work location.
  5. Focus on roles, work tasks, and Faculty, Department and Unit requirements to define levels/degrees of flexibility and determine where, when and how work is best accomplished.
  6. Encourage fairness, equity and flexibility, while fully respecting differences in roles, responsibilities and local contexts including space- reduction initiatives.
  7. Support the success of Healthy Hybrid at an institutional, local and individual level through the provision of evolving policies, tools, training and communications.

Accountabilities, Roles & Responsibilities

A key factor in the success of the Healthy Hybrid Workplace and its ability to effectively address diverse needs across McGill University is the clarity of the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved. It requires appropriate levels of accountability with a commitment to being attentive and adapting to the evolving landscape, including University priorities and the changing face of the workplace.

Senior Leadership

Establishes the Vision of the Healthy Hybrid Workplace, based on the University’s mission and strategic priorities, and in the context of our evolving landscape, both locally and internationally.

Human Resources

  • Ensures the development, evolution and dissemination of McGill’s Healthy Hybrid Guiding Principles, Accountabilities, Framework and Guidelines.
  • Supports the Faculties and Units in applying the above.
  • Provides training and tools to support skills and competencies development to equip managers and employees for the evolving realities of hybrid work.
  • In collaboration with key stakeholders, monitors the overall success of the Program against the backdrop of market trends and University priorities and recommends adjustments and enhancements.
  • Keeps staff abreast of sound practices regarding the respect of data confidentiality in hybrid work.

Senior Leaders (Deans, Provost and Associate Provosts, Vice-Presidents, Associate Vice- Presidents, Executive Directors)

  • Within the parameters of McGill’s Healthy Hybrid Guiding Principles, Framework, and Accountabilities establish hybrid working practices in their respective Units or Faculties in accordance with their strategic and operational priorities.
  • Encourage fair and transparent decision‐making and practices related to hybrid work across the Unit or Faculty, while recognizing differences related primarily to the nature of work, functionality of the service, space constraints and/or formal space-saving initiatives.
  • Support managers, including academic managers, by encouraging the ongoing development of their competencies and skills to manage effectively in this hybrid work environment.
  • Implement feedback mechanisms to ensure stakeholder needs and expectations are known and effectively met (EG Quality, timeliness and nature of services provided).

Directors, Managers (with their Teams)

Working within the parameters of McGill’s Healthy Hybrid Guiding Principles, Framework, and Accountabilities and in light of Unit/Faculty priorities, Supervisors will:

  • Strive to make fair and transparent decisions regarding hybrid work in their respective teams, prioritizing operational needs with considerations related to the nature of work, client service, space constraints, recognized space-saving initiatives, and individual and team readiness/performance.
  • Enhance their knowledge of managing in a hybrid environment, including developing the necessary skills to effectively use the communications and teaming tools at their disposal.
  • Promote continuous learning related to a healthy hybrid workplace for themselves and their staff, including skills development through formal training, cross‐training, peer exchanges and self‐directed learning.
  • Ensure the effective onboarding and integration of new team members, with increased presence of supervisor and colleagues to accompany new team members in learning about the job, their immediate team and related teams and the University culture, to help them build their network and gain a sense of belonging.
  • Implement mechanisms to monitor effectiveness, adapt to the evolving needs and expectations of key stakeholders and review flexible work arrangements annually, or more frequently, as required.
  • Maximize the value of onsite and offsite work time through appropriate task distribution, efficient work processes, capacity building, client service plans, and norms and practices to support effective remote work, communication, and teaming.

Employees (Administrative & Support Staff)

  • Understand and respect the McGill Healthy Hybrid Framework and the agreed upon terms of the flexible work arrangement within the context of the team, unit, and University at large.
  • Participate in training and development provided by the University (EG Healthy Hybrid Workshops, LinkedIn Learning self‐directed modules, etc.) to develop the knowledge and skills to work effectively in a hybrid work environment.
  • Actively contribute to maximizing the effectiveness of task distribution between onsite and remote work with consideration for the nature of the tasks, operational priorities, special equipment requirements, peak periods, client service requirements, back‐up impacts, etc.
  • Contribute to team communications, morale, learning (EG cross‐training), to promote team efficacy and productivity, and contribute to an overall sense of belonging, both on and off site.
  • Monitor impacts of hybrid work and propose and discuss adaptations with supervisor.
  • Review flexible work arrangements with supervisor on an annual basis or more frequently, as required.

Who is Eligible?

All Administrative and Support Staff may be eligible for some form of Flexible Work Arrangement:

Employee Group Flextime Option Work-From-Home Options
MPEX Possible Possible
MUNACA Possible Possible
AMUSE Possible Possible
SEU Beige Need Union approval for modifying working hours and working shifts Possible
SEU Red, Blue, Orange, Green & Yellow Need Union approval for modifying working hours and working shifts N/A
  • Participation in the program is voluntary for the employee and dependent upon the supervisor’s approval. The latter is acting within the Healthy Hybrid Framework and in accordance with local parameters (Faculty or Unit).
  • Each request will be given equal consideration by the applicant’s supervisor.
  • Flexible work arrangements are not suitable for all positions and departments. While all eligible employees may request a flexible work arrangement, the supervisor’s approval should be based on operational requirements and the employee’s role, responsibilities and readiness.
  • Employees are encouraged to think through, and discuss with their supervisor, the viability of a flexible work arrangement before submitting their request.

Recommended Steps

Once you have ascertained that you are potentially eligible for and interested in a new Flexible Work Arrangement:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the Flexible Work Options including the Healthy Hybrid Framework and its new Fixed and Flex Options, examples, etc.
  2. Understand the Guiding Principles that inform FWA decisions and accountabilities involved
  3. Find out about any additional Faculty or Unit-specific requirements or considerations that need to filter into your request
  4. A FWA involving 50% or 60% WFH would be part of a formal space-saving initiative, so before applying, clarify with your supervisor and/or your HR Advisor whether this falls within local options and if so, according to what criteria and process.  NB. No longer maintaining exclusive use of a workspace (required with 50% or 60% WFH arrangements) will impact teammates and departments, therefore needing to be part of a larger plan.  
  5. Consider the operational needs of your area and the nature of your work against the backdrop of your current environmental context.
  6. Before making a formal request for a FWA, discuss your intentions with your supervisor including what you both consider has or has not worked well with hybrid work in your area, to date (if applicable).
  7. Consider with your supervisor how you might avail yourself and your teammates of further related tools and develop your skills as needed (EG Healthy Hybrid Attestation or independent modules, Technical Skills).
  8. Discuss how you will objectively track progress (EG Team effectiveness and cohesion, service levels and satisfaction for key stakeholders, etc.)
  9. Agree with your supervisor on the most suitable FWA for you and on any particular terms or conditions to which you may need to adhere in the process (EG increased presence on site at specific times such as peak periods, onsite coverage, onboarding, etc.)
  10. Submit your application in Workday once you have completed your preparatory work and the Workday portal is open. The Workday application should validate the conversation and end the process (i.e. ideally, requests should not be declined in Workday as applications should have already been informally approved).

WORKDAY Request Process

  • Complete a new streamlined request in Workday, valid for a period of up to one year. This step is required even if you and your supervisor have agreed informally to maintain the terms of a previous FWA. FWAs entered into Jira since May 2022 will become null and void.
  • The Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA) Requests are to be submitted into Workday (see FWA request Workday Job Aid). More information about the launch of the Workday request process to come later in March 2024. You will need to acknowledge the Healthy & Safety requirements but will not need to complete a form.

Evaluation of Requests

  • The supervisor should provide a response to the employee’s standard request within 15 business days.  
  • A FWA involving 50% or 60% WFH would be part of a formal space-saving initiative and as such could require additional time and consideration for approval and planning at a higher Unit level. 
  • All requests should be carefully reviewed, considered and evaluated by the supervisor. The employee’s personal reasons for the request are not required to justify consideration of the request.  
  • To evaluate a request, supervisors should consider employee suitability, the nature of the work, key stakeholder needs, department/faculty/unit operational needs and space concerns.    
  • The decision to approve or decline a request must be fair and equitable. As such, all requests should be examined objectively and devoid of any personal biases. Supervisors are responsible for considering requests objectively and fairly but are not obligated to grant approval. They may also propose adjustments to the Flexible Work Arrangement (Fixed or Flex, percentage of WFH permitted, or stipulate conditions), based on the nature of work, operational needs, employee readiness, etc. 
  • Supervisors are encouraged to seek guidance from their HR representative with any questions or concerns.  
  • If a request is declined, the supervisor will have a conversation with the employee to explain the decision.  
  • Flexible Work Arrangements may be in place for a maximum duration of 1 year and may be renewed by submitting another request which will be subject to evaluation.  
  • Both the employee and the supervisor will meet to evaluate the FWA within 3 months of the start date of the FWA to assess its impact and ongoing viability.   
  • Minor or temporary adjustments to the schedule do not require resubmission of the request through Workday. However, changes such as adding or stopping flextime or switching from Flex to Fixed, or percentage WFH should be submitted online in Workday. Please see the Job Aid for How to End the Flexible Work Arrangements on Workday.  
  • Flexible Work Arrangements may be terminated at the request of the supervisor or the employee with a 30-day written notice. This notice can be shortened with agreement from all parties.  

FWA Options

Eligible employees may request one or both options simultaneously.


  • Work from Home (WFH)
  • Flextime



At McGill, the Healthy Hybrid Framework provides for both FIXED and FLEX models and may be coupled with Flextime (See below). Within the parameters of McGill’s Healthy Hybrid Framework, individual Faculties and Units may add their own key criteria. Please ensure that your Healthy Hybrid request fully aligns with the stated requirements of your Faculty or Unit before submitting.

Hybrid Fixed: The nature of the work and/or services offered necessitate a structured schedule with specified days onsite, to work together with teammates and/or to provide in-person service to clients and other stakeholders.

Hybrid Flex: Schedules may vary from week-to-week according to the nature of the work and/or varying onsite requirements of colleagues, clients, and other stakeholders.

Within both the FIXED and FLEX models, McGill’s Healthy Hybrid Framework includes a range of work-from-home ratios set to meet the various workplace needs of Faculties, Departments and Administrative Units.  Ratios for our in-person institution are generally 20% and 40% WFH.  However, options of 50% and 60% are available within certain contexts for eligible employees, specifically formal space-saving initiatives whereby employees will no longer maintain exclusive use of a workspace.     

For more information about FIXED and FLEX options, and WFH ratios, please see the Healthy Hybrid Framework


  • Employee works from home 2 days per week on a schedule that varies each week. (FLEX 40% WFH)  
  • Employee works from home every Tuesday and Thursday at regular working hours. (FIXED 40% WFH) 
  • Employee works from home every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 a.m. till 3 p.m.  (COMBINED FIXED 40% WFH with FLEXTIME) 



An employee with a flextime schedule elects to have a daily work schedule other than the regular standard scheduled workday. The employee opts for alternative start and end times but the total daily and weekly hours worked remain in accordance with the standard workweek (e.g. 6.75/7 hours per day and 33.75/35 hours per week).  

Such arrangements typically include a fixed core period (i.e., the hours during which all employees must be present each day) established by the supervisor. The employee chooses the times they arrive at and leave their worksite as long as they are onsite, or online for a work-from-home day, for the fixed core period. The daily schedule may be the same for each day of the week or vary during the days of the week.  

Lunchtime must be at least 30 minutes. Breaks cannot be taken at the beginning or end of the daily work schedule. However, with approval, one of the two 15-minute breaks can be taken immediately before or after the lunch period.  


  • Employee arrives at a set time each day (for example, 7:00am) and takes 1h15 for lunch.  
  • Employee arrives at 7:00am on set days and 9:00am on the other days and takes 1 hour for lunch.  
  • Employee arrives at 10:00am on Monday to Wednesday and at 9:00am Thursday to Friday and takes 30 minutes for lunch.  


For Flextime Option, note scheduling requirements: 

  • Lunchtime must be at least 30 minutes.  
  • Breaks cannot be accumulated to reduce the hours worked.  
  • Breaks cannot be taken at the beginning or end of the daily work schedule  
  • With approval, one of the two breaks can be taken immediately before or after the lunch period 



  • Lunchtime must be at least 30 minutes. 
  • Breaks cannot be accumulated to reduce the hours worked. 
  • Breaks cannot be taken at the beginning or end of the daily work schedule 
  • With approval, one of the two breaks can be taken immediately before or after the lunch period 


Work from Home

  • Any WFH arrangement is at the discretion of the supervisor and must be operationally feasible.  
  • The nature of the work and requirements of the job must allow the employee to work successfully from home on an ongoing basis.  
  • Flexible Work Arrangements may be terminated at the request of the supervisor or the employee with a 30-day written notice. This notice can be shortened with agreement from all parties. 
  • WFH is not to be used for the purposes of caring for children or other family members.  
  • An employee’s WFH arrangement must not have a negative impact on the work of fellow colleagues when working from home. 
  • The employee must be available to come onsite if an operational need arises, and, to remain accessible during the WFH schedule including participating in online meetings or conferences as needed.  
  • The employee’s duties, obligations, responsibilities, and standards of performance applicable to working onsite are to be fully maintained when working from home.   
  • The employee must maintain a safe, secure and ergonomic work environment and report work-related injuries to the supervisor immediately.  
  • The employee must agree to hold the University harmless for injury to others at the alternate, home worksite. The offsite workspace is considered an extension of the University’s workplace and therefore will be subject to and governed by applicable health and safety laws and regulations.  
  • Employees will be expected to comply with normal reporting requirements for any work-related accident or injury. For safety reasons, employees cannot have in-person meetings at their home office.  
  • The employee is responsible for providing computer equipment, and accessories such as headset, camera, and microphone, space, telephone, printing, networking and/or internet capabilities at his/her/their WFH location and shall not be reimbursed by the employer for these or related expenses.   
  • Employees may be asked to have their camera on during virtual meetings to enhance communication and meeting effectiveness. 
  • The employee understands that they must properly secure and ensure the privacy of any Employer records and materials while working from the alternate worksite. Products, documents and records developed while working from the alternate worksite are the property of the University and shall be created and maintained on the Unit’s systems or network.  
  • All information, data, documents, passwords and other material that the Employee has access to when working from the alternate worksite is considered confidential information and cannot be downloaded, copied or shared in any way without the prior approval of the supervisor.  
  • Confidential information shall not be accessed or removed from the Unit’s Work Location (whether physically or electronically) without the employee’s supervisor’s prior written consent.  
  • The employee undertakes to take all appropriate measures to ensure that no one other than themselves can access the equipment and/or the confidential information (in print or electronic format), including, but not limited to, ensuring that password protection is used, and that the wireless network is secured.  
  • The employee acknowledges that all records and materials provided by the University shall remain the property of the University.  

Benefits of Flexible Work Arrangements

For the employee, benefits may include:

  • Reduced commuting time.  
  • Improved work-life balance and sense of well-being.  
  • Increased uninterrupted focus for completion of detail-oriented, independent tasks. 
  • Overall productivity. 


For the Supervisor/Department/Unit, benefits may include: 

  • Ability to stagger employees’ working hours and extend operations/services accordingly.  
  • Opportunities to extend daily operating hours on busier workdays, with less need to resort to overtime.  
  • Reduction of employee lateness and absenteeism, and improved employee engagement.  
  • Enhanced performance and productivity.  
  • Capacity building involving cross-training and sharing responsibilities among employees in similar roles.  
  • Strategic factor to attract and retain talented employees.  
  • Contributions to sustainability efforts by reducing travel time thereby decreasing McGill’s environmental footprint.  
  • Greater flexibility in the use of on-campus office space with opportunities to repurpose or reduce spaces and associated costs.   

Key Considerations for Flexible Work Arrangements

For the employee


  • Can the responsibilities of the position be accomplished as efficiently under the FWA? 
  • Can your personal schedule and circumstances accommodate a different start time and end time, alternate work schedule or work from home (WFH) arrangement?  
  • Will the FWA have any (positive or negative) impact on co-workers and their ability to complete their job functions?  
  • Will the FWA impact other key stakeholders?  How will you monitor this? 

Work from Home

  • Can the responsibilities of the position be accomplished at least as efficiently from home?  If so which ones? 
  • Can the responsibilities of the position be accomplished on the designated WFH day(s) without needing to come onsite to meet with work clients or coworkers in person?  
  • Can the employee access a needed workspace on days typically designated as WFH days, if applicable (Fixed Schedule)? 
  • Is there a suitable space in the home to do the work, including an area where it can be accomplished free from distractions?  
  • Does the workspace meet health and safety requirements? (see Health and Safety Checklist under Tools & Request Form tab)  
  • Can the employee engage only in McGill work? No other work - such as child/elder care or personal work - may be conducted during agreed-upon work times.  
  • Does the employee have the required equipment (computer and accessories such as headset, camera, microphone and printer), high-speed internet and phone connection, utilities)? All costs of setting up the “home office” are paid by the employee.  
  • Can the employee adhere to the privacy and confidentiality requirements set by the unit/department and the IT University policies and procedures concerning data protection and records management?  
  • Consult the IT Resources for Faculty & Staff Working from Home  
  • Is the employee self-directed? Does the employee manage their time well? Is the employee comfortable working alone?  


For the Supervisor/Department/Unit 

  • Flexible work arrangements are not suitable for all positions and situations.  
  • Peak or critical periods when employees are required to be on campus may mean that earlier or later start times or working from home are not always suitable for the work. 
  • Positions that require all or most of the work to be done on campus, such as facilities maintenance, frontline client services, and lab monitoring, would not be suitable for WFH arrangements.  
  • Some employees require more coaching or direct support to effectively learn and fulfill their responsibilities and therefore would not be suitable for FWA under such conditions 
  • Positions that require access to equipment that is only available on campus (e.g. research lab equipment) would also not be suitable for WFH arrangements.  
  • Supervisors must coordinate work schedules while maintaining operational needs, office/department coverage.  
  • Supervisors must establish with the team how effective communications, teamwork and collaboration will best be accomplished.  
  • Supervisors must determine how tasks will be assigned and support provided to employees during times when the supervisor will be absent (either due to a different work schedule or because the supervisor has also opted for a flexible work arrangement).  
  • Supervisors must establish clear goals, deliverables and deadlines for which the employees are accountable.  
  • Supervisors must establish means and methods for supervision and monitoring of workload and results.  




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