An update on UCOP future of work and return to on-site operations
Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer Rachael Nava sent the following message to all UCOP staff on Monday, July 12, 2021.
As we move toward re-opening along with the communities around us, I know many of you are eager to learn more about UCOP’s plans for returning to the office, and I appreciate your patience. There has been a lot to consider in developing an approach that appropriately balances organizational needs with individual preferences.
During the pandemic, the university, along with other organizations, was thrown into what many call the great remote work experiment. In our planning, we carefully considered the ways in which we worked prior to and during the pandemic, weighing both the benefits and the challenges of our changed work environment. Two primary factors were foundational to our recommendations:
- Understanding how different work arrangements serve the needs of the University and the UCOP organization in fulfilling the University’s mission; and
- Determining how flexible work arrangements could impact current and future employees’ well-being, productivity and engagement.
After careful consideration and your valuable input through the Future of Work survey, President Drake has approved a UCOP Future of Work plan. The plan includes a mix of on-site, hybrid, and remote work options. This approach supports the cultural and organizational needs that employees and supervisors identified, while also providing the flexibility that many of us have appreciated during our time working away from the office.
How it will work
Under the UCOP plan, some positions will be eligible for hybrid (one to four days per week on-site) or fully remote work arrangements, while other positions will require full-time on-site work. In determining eligibility, division leaders and managers will take into account the work required for each position, as well as:
- the impact remote and hybrid work arrangements have on organizational culture and our sense of community;
- the benefits of in-person interactions for collaboration, coaching and mentoring, team-building, and innovation; and
- an individual employee’s well-being.
Eligibility for hybrid or remote work arrangements will be determined as follows:
- Division leaders will determine how their departments can best adopt flexible options while also meeting organizational needs, and provide guidance to their departmental managers.
- Managers will assess operational and team needs in light of their division leader’s guidance, and recommend which positions could be eligible for remote and/or hybrid schedules.
- UCOP Human Resources will then review all recommendations, taking into account overall Future of Work program application of position eligibility and similarities across UCOP departments. Reviewed outcomes will be shared with division leaders for final determinations.
- Employees in eligible positions will coordinate with their supervisors to confirm their work arrangements from the approved options for their position.
- Work arrangements will be reviewed at least annually (or sooner if organizational needs change) and may be adjusted by supervisors, generally with at least 30 days’ notice.
It is important for managers and employees to know that flexible work options are possibilities, not guarantees — not all positions lend themselves to flexible work arrangements, and agreements for flexible work can be modified as organizational needs require.
The eligibility review process will begin in July to allow colleagues time to plan their fall schedules. More detailed information on the specific process steps and timelines will be available soon.
Return to on-site operations
Timing for on-site return varies by assigned facility location. The earliest some currently remote staff may return is August 1. Staff required to return on-site will receive (or have already received) a 30-day notice.
For all locations, the transition will occur in phases and take into account new work arrangements. We will begin with priority groups based on business needs and facilities availability in August, followed by voluntary returns as space permits. We expect to complete on-site returns by late October (to allow for the completion of Franklin building renovations). More information regarding Oakland facilities will be forthcoming through department move coordinators. For other UCOP locations, local leadership will communicate reopening phasing and timing.
The Future of Work Core team will be hosting virtual information sessions to answer questions and provide more details of the plan, and for staff to hear about how the plan was developed and what to expect in the coming weeks. Details about the information sessions will be available soon, and I hope you will join us. Questions about the UCOP Future of Work Plan may be sent to UCOP-FutureofWork@ucop.edu.
As with any change of this magnitude, UCOP will closely monitor its success and impact on our organization and employees over time. After our initial implementation, we expect to learn what is working well and what needs adjustment. We will continue to seek feedback through employee surveys and other means to better understand how flexible work arrangements are serving our community.
Finally, I know this past year and a half has been extremely difficult and stressful, and I want to again thank you for your commitment, flexibility and perseverance. I am so grateful to work alongside such dedicated colleagues, and I am eager to see more of you in person in the months ahead.
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer