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Town hall recap about UCOP return to on-site work

EVP/COO Rachael Nava sent the following message to all UCOP staff on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022:

Dear UCOP colleagues,

I want to thank the many of you who attended this afternoon’s town hall about our plans to begin to return to the office in the weeks ahead. If you were unable to attend the event, you may view the recording and presentation. I hope those of you who participated found it informative and that it addressed some of your questions and concerns.

As I mentioned in my opening remarks, after additional consultation with UCOP leadership and others, we decided to delay our January 31 start to allow everyone more time to prepare for their eventual return to the office. Although we are not formally returning this month, the overall structure of our phased return plan has not changed significantly, just the timing.

Recent data show that the omicron surge appears to have peaked and cases are starting to drop. This is very good news. As a result, all of our campuses are returning to in-person instruction over the next couple of weeks.

UCOP has learned a lot these last two years working remotely with limited staff on-site, and we’re leveraging that experience by creating a hybrid, remote, on-site approach to work arrangements that provides staff with more flexibility while still allowing us to optimally support the entire UC system. Establishing this more flexible approach comes with both challenges and opportunities — and our first challenge is getting everyone who needs to be there back into their office spaces in a thoughtful, orderly and effective way.

As we shared in today’s town hall, below is the new timeline for our phased return, along with information about our updated COVID-19 protocols.

Return to on-site operations timeline

  • We expect to formally begin our return to on-site operations starting March 1st using our slow-build approach. This communication serves as the 30-day notice for all staff to allow time to plan for personal accommodations.
  • Starting the week of February 7th, UCOP leadership will begin to hold some senior leadership meetings in the office.
  • During the month of February, we will begin our move-ins at all UCOP locations so that we can begin to get people back in the office for a day to get your workstations set up and ready to go. Managers will be working with the Operations team and all of you to determine a time when that will happen. We have tailored each UCOP location’s plan to meet specific local operational needs. For some Oakland staff, department move-in dates will not be in February. Details by location are available in the presentation.
  • On a limited basis, those that want to work in the office will also be allowed to return voluntarily as we initiate our phased, slow-build process.
  • Everyone at UCOP should start making plans now that allow them to be fully engaged in starting the slow-build of their ongoing on-site, hybrid, or remote schedule in March. We expect to have our full future operations state in place by April 30, 2022. If you find you need additional time, please work with your manager. We know that this will be a time of readjustment for everyone, so if issues come up while you are getting ready for your return, let your manager know.
  • As planned, we will start with alternating on-site and remote workdays to limit the number of people in the building, achieve maximum physical distancing between workstations, and be sensitive to employees’ needs to readjust their schedules and personal commitments.

Updated COVID-19 protocols and testing program

As we also mentioned at today’s event, we have updated our COVID-19 protocols. Please review the UCOP Updated COVID-19 Protocols information sheet for full information regarding changes.

As we return to our office locations, we will continue to focus on the health and well-being of staff. All along, UC has followed the science, which has helped protect our community. With appropriate masking, ensuring our staff are vaccinated and boosted, regular testing and monitoring, and environmentally tuned buildings, we are confident our return will be successful.

This will be a new way of working for all of us — and we are excited about the opportunities that come with these changes. We will all be learning as we go, and we will keep you informed as we make adjustments.

If you have questions, please talk with your manager or email

As always, please continue to be safe and take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Rachael Nava
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer


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  1. Ken Feer February 3, 2022 Reply

    May we reconsider the prohibition on morale-building activities?

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