UBC to formally adopt hybrid work
This message was sent to executive, deans and other senior academic leaders, academic heads, directors and managers and senior professional leaders in Vancouver and the Okanagan.
28 June, 2022
Last year, UBC announced the introduction of a Remote Work Pilot Program, which was successfully launched last June. While remote work uptake reached a plateau in November, it was only with our general return to campus in early February that we started to gain insights into the program and its impact on our endeavours, our people, and our campuses.
After concluding the one-year pilot and associated review, including a community survey, focus groups, and meetings with leaders and various stakeholders, the university is proceeding to formally adopt remote work through the UBC Hybrid Work Program.
The results of the most recent Remote Work Survey indicate strong support for hybrid work, with respondents generally perceiving a positive impact in most areas, including engagement, physical and mental health, and equity, diversity, and inclusion. The survey also found that the pilot program positively impacted UBC’s productivity and reputation as an Employer of Choice. Community stakeholder consultations corroborated these findings.
The foundational work undertaken at the planning stages of the pilot means that few adjustments are required to the guidelines and principles as we move the program forward. Key decisions about the UBC Hybrid Work Program, which will remain in place include the following:
- Employment at UBC is campus-based and any hybrid workplace agreement is a temporary arrangement that does not supersede the employment agreement.
- Deans, Vice-Presidents, and Associate Vice-Presidents are responsible for decisions made in respect of hybrid work for staff within their Faculties and Administrative Units, including those in respect of the extent of remote work.
- Determined by the demands of the role, hybrid work does not apply to every position at the university. Arrangements are also subject to employee agreement.
- 100% remote work will not be considered at this time.
- Hybrid work will continue to be permitted only within the province of British Columbia.
It is important to reiterate some of the principles underpinning our ongoing approach to hybrid work, including the need to preserve the student experience and academic mission, support research excellence, maintain the high quality of our programs, and respect the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion. These principles and guidelines will continue to reinforce the importance of consistency across units and teams.
We must also find a balance that ensures ongoing connection and community. By creating a more flexible workplace environment, this program will support a range of UBC’s institutional goals, notably attracting and retaining employees, promoting inclusion, innovation and collaboration, and advancing sustainability through reduced levels of commuting.
While the Hybrid Work Program applies to staff, faculty members who have always worked both on and off campus in fulfilling the commitments associated with their roles will continue to manage their work arrangements based on collegial discussions with their Heads, Directors, and Deans, outside of the Hybrid Work Program.
We are a university community filled with over 65,000 students and over 18,000 faculty and staff. We must protect our community and our culture, a point that we heard clearly from the survey results and the consultations. This includes the value of on-campus presence at least some of the time and additional supports for people leaders to manage hybrid work, with a focus on more intentional engagement and team time on campus. In addition, we will continue to invest in initiatives designed to make our campuses even better places to be.
More information about the Hybrid Work Program will be updated on the Human Resources website as we transition this program towards an ongoing flexible workplace strategy. The Hybrid Work Program will be reviewed regularly, to ensure it continues to reflect the needs of the university and our staff. Managers and staff should review individual arrangements on an ongoing basis.
We appreciate and thank the many efforts that UBC faculty, staff, and academic and administrative leaders have made over the past two years as we strive to understand and take advantage of this opportunity to embrace greater flexibility and enhance our proposition as an employer. We wish you all a great summer ahead.
Vice-President, Human Resources
UBC Bulletin is used to inform and engage leadership at the university. Learn more