Update on our UCOP Future of Work program
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Rachael Nava sent the following message to all UCOP staff on Jan. 26, 2023:
Dear UCOP colleagues,
As we begin 2023, I want to update you on some decisions the President’s Advisory Group (PAG) has made about the next phase of our Future of Work (FOW) program, and some adjustments we are making based on our experience to date.
In March 2020, the shift to remote work and other modified schedules was a major transition for an institution with over 150 years of primarily on-site work. In March 2022, we began our return to on-site work at UCOP and again we experienced new challenges for the entire organization. Like the rest of the world, we have been learning as we go. Throughout this process, our priorities have been balancing operational needs with flexibility and a strong desire to strengthen our organizational culture, community and engagement.
During this past year, UCOP leaders assessed the initial FOW program. We involved staff in this process through 3Practice Circles, community conversations, increased executive leadership sponsorship of employee resource groups, and department and division meetings. We also looked at what other organizations — including those in higher education — were doing and observed that organizations regarded as employers of choice through the pandemic prioritized employee engagement and connection and work schedule flexibility.
It is time to make adjustments to how we work — to build on the positive aspects of our approach to date, to recognize the greatly reduced public health risks associated with the pandemic, and to improve in some areas. These adjustments are designed to help all individuals and the organization as a whole get the most out of working on-site and remotely while also strengthening our community and sense of connection. They are also designed to move us from the initial experimentation phase of “return to work” from 2022 to our ongoing operating model.
What is not changing
- UCOP will continue to be a hybrid organization. We have seen the benefits of hybrid work arrangements and we know many organizations have successfully adopted this approach.
- Hybrid work arrangements with two or three days on-site will continue: The PAG endorsed previously agreed-upon work arrangements for those working two or three days on-site. These work arrangements will continue without change through the end of the calendar year so that we can embrace and maximize the benefits of working together on-site.
- Fully remote work arrangements: Employees with existing 100% remote work arrangements in California will continue without change. (Note: As part of the ongoing evaluation process, leadership is reviewing UCOP’s stance on fully remote arrangements for non-SMG staff working outside California, to ensure that such agreements are appropriate and align with UCOP’s organizational needs, goals and values).
What is changing, effective Monday, April 3, 2023
- Full number of on-site hybrid days required: All staff in hybrid work arrangements will work on site their previously designated full number days each week. Current conditions warrant the withdrawal of the temporary on-site work flexibility during the 2022 Omicron surge, effective March 31, 2023. The full on-site hybrid schedule begins April 3, and we strongly encourage everyone to begin coming into the office regularly before then.
- Anchor days: To foster a stronger UCOP community and make the best use of the time we spend in the office, we are introducing on-site shared “anchor days” to bring all hybrid staff into the office on two common days per week. All hybrid staff are required to work on-site both anchor days. Having dedicated anchor days will allow us to use the in-person time we have together more purposefully, build or renew relationships, and create opportunities for larger group interactions. Specific anchor days by location based on operational needs are as follows:
• Oakland Franklin-Broadway Campus – Tuesday and Wednesday
• Riverside UCPath Center – Since UCPath has an established on-site cohort schedule in which cohort teams already work on-site days together, the anchor day will be Wednesday. Blue and Gold cohorts will continue to work their normal on-site/remote schedules with the addition of the anchor day.
• Washington, D.C., Sacramento and the Livermore Collaboration Center – Local leaders will manage the anchor days for these UCOP locations based on operational needs.
- Hybrid work arrangements with one day on-site are being eliminated: UCOP will no longer offer the option of working only one day a week on-site. Therefore, staff who currently have this work arrangement will be automatically converted to at least two days on-site.
- On-call on-site days, including those with remote work arrangements: We are encouraging leaders and managers to bring teams, including fully remote and hybrid staff, on-site as needed for collaboration, team-building, engagement, innovation, and other activities that benefit from in-person work.
- Fully remote work arrangements for new hires and out-of-state SMG employees: Effective immediately, UCOP will not hire candidates who will not relocate to California. In addition, Senior Management Group (SMG) members in California-based roles must live in or move to California.
- 100% on-site staff: We are developing additional options for schedule flexibility, as appropriate, for staff working 100% on-site and will provide information as we make decisions.
- Support for in-person work: We will be providing guidance for leadership, management, and staff on how to adjust their schedules to prioritize and optimize in-person connection and collaboration on anchor days to avoid spending anchor days on Zoom.
Since these changes mean more people being in the office, we will maintain our current COVID-19 protocols through the transition and will reevaluate them in April. We will also continue to closely monitor COVID-19 cases in our communities, and we will adjust if necessary.
In addition to what is outlined here, we’ve developed FAQs about our Future of Work Phase 2 (Box log-in is required). If you have questions you may email them to UCOP-FutureofWork@ucop.edu.
Save the Date – February Future of Work Phase 2 Town Hall
To help everyone understand these changes and our approach going forward, I will be hosting a Future of Work Phase 2 Town Hall on February 16 from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. (PT) with other UCOP leaders and members of the FOW core team. To answer as many questions as possible, we will collect them in advance and summarize responses in themes. Register for the Town Hall and if you have questions, please submit them via this form. We will accept submissions through Wednesday, February 8, at 5 p.m. (PT).
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer