Project Updates

System Communications​

April 21, 2021

UA Employees,

In President Pitney’s April 6 announcement of the post-COVID long-term remote work project, she introduced the purpose of the project as well as the many representatives and teams involved and their roles. She also noted the ongoing opportunity for employees to provide feedback and input in creating long-term guidelines for greater workplace flexibility including hybrid and remote work. Employee engagement, feedback and input is vital to the project’s success.

This employee experience survey is one such opportunity. The questions gather information for use by the project teams to better gauge the interest in remote work opportunities, understand how the university can help support employees with equipment and remote worksite support needs, assess the challenges and successes of remote work arrangements, and learn about reservations and concerns of employees.

There will be two other surveys distributed. One will go to supervisors to collect information related to remote work management and employee support, and the other will go to students to evaluate what impact remote work may have had on their experience as a customer of the university. 

The goal of this project is to maximize the lessons learned during the pandemic to guide our long-term guidelines and regulations for the future workplace. More information, communications, feedback form and updates on regulations under review can be found on the project website.

It is important to remember that this long-term project is separate from the COVID-19 onsite operations plan and university-led efforts to return to more traditional operations this summer and fall. Guidance for employees and supervisors on transitional steps is forthcoming. 

Regards,

Steve Patin
Chief Human Resources Officer

April 6, 2021

Dear UA employees,

With all adult Alaskans now eligible for COVID vaccines and case rates in our communities relatively stable, President Pitney and the Chancellors are working on planning for more traditional operations in summer and fall, beginning this transition in mid-May. This change is, of course, contingent upon continued progress in managing the pandemic in Alaska’s communities, and changes in state and local guidelines. With this shift, we expect on-site work, in-person classes, and full occupancy of our residence halls for the Fall semester.

Over the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed where and how university employees work. We are doing work in ways that we never thought were possible. There have been advantages and disadvantages to working from home, and employees and supervisors all have opinions on how well it works for them and their departments. Post-pandemic, the university would like to allow some flexibility to continue remote work, provided business needs are met.  

Starting in mid-May we expect to return to in-person work at certain locations, with remote work available as determined by the chancellor of each university and the UA president for the system office. It is time to also consider what a future UA workplace could look like. I have asked UA Human Resources to lead an inclusive team to develop recommendations. With representation from the system office and all three universities, the Post-COVID Workplace Team is reviewing current regulations for opportunities to adapt them to guide long-term onsite, remote, and hybrid work opportunities. The team has interviewed senior leadership and started researching what other institutions are doing. They are meeting weekly to develop regulation and procedure recommendations that will allow supervisors the flexibility to make the best business decisions for their departments and allow greater employee engagement. We are anticipating that updated regulations and related guidance will be finalized no later than August 1, 2021. 

Employee engagement, feedback and input is vital to the project’s success. In addition to the work team, the universities have identified subject area experts to advise on issues including technology and information security, risk mitigation, accessibility standards, facility impact, communications and employee engagement. Another group with representatives from governance groups and advisory councils will keep a pulse on faculty, staff and student employee concerns and general feelings about the post-COVID workplace and to provide feedback to the project team. Important milestones, feedback opportunities and updates will be emailed to all employees as the project moves forward. All communications will be posted on the project website, along with draft regulation changes. 

This project is a major undertaking, but I believe it to be the best way forward in a modern and changing higher education landscape. Thank you to everyone for being involved and engaged in this process and for your continued service to the University of Alaska.

Sincerely,

Pat Pitney
Interim UA President

Bi-Weekly Updates

The Project Team reviewed the feedback concerning the proposed regulations. The team revised the regulations, based on that feedback, and sent them to UA General Counsel for comment. Once that review is completed, the proposed regulations will be sent to President Pitney for review. There will then be a 30 day comment period coordinated by the President’s Office to get final feedback from governance groups and the UA community. The projected effective date of the new regulations will be September 30, 2021. 

The Project Team, Transition Monitoring Team and the Technical Expertise Resources group are drafting support documentation for the new regulations to include training materials, supervisor and employee remote work resources, administrative guidelines and FAQs for remote work at UA. With the assistance of OIT, UA HR is building a website that will contain the information and materials for remote work. 

The Project Team is reviewing the feedback concerning the proposed regulations.  We received 30 comments through our feedback form and many other comments delivered by individuals and groups to the Transition Monitoring Team and the Project Team. The Project Team will revise the proposed regulations based on this feedback and present them to President Pitney for review and approval. There will then be a 30 day comment period coordinated by the President’s office to get final feedback from governance groups. The projected effective date of the new regulations will be September 30, 2021. 

The Project Team, Transition Monitoring Team and the Technical Expertise Resources group are compiling survey feedback alongside risk registry assessments, current procedure and resources and industry standard resources to develop training materials, supervisor and employee remote work resources and drafting the administrative guidelines for remote work at UA.

 

The Project Team has shared the proposed Remote Work Regulations with campus and university leadership, governance groups and other constituents for feedback at this time. Both the current and proposed regulations, as well as a summary of the changes, have been published to the Project Website. The Project Team did not meet last week while awaiting feedback on the regulations which is due Wednesday, July 14th. After final revisions based on the feedback, the Project Team will propose the updated regulations changes to President Pitney for review and approval. 

The Supervisor Experience Survey is available until 5pm on Friday, July 9th.  A reminder email was sent to supervisors today reminding them to take advantage of this opportunity for feedback.  So far, there have been 355 responses.

Moving forward, the Project Team, Transition Monitoring Team and the Technical Expertise Resources group will begin compiling survey feedback alongside risk registry assessments, current procedure and resources and industry standard resources to begin development of training materials, supervisor and employee remote work resources and finalizing the administrative guidelines for remote work at UA.

The Project Team has completed its work on the proposed Remote Work Regulations and sent them to the Transition Monitoring Team and the Technical Expertise Resources group for feedback. Revisions will be made and then the proposed regulations will be shared with campus and university leadership, governance groups and other constituents for feedback. 

The Transition Monitoring team continues to work through the comments and text answers of the Employee Experience Survey. These comments are being compiled for consideration by the Project Team in development of guidelines and training items for remote work. The employee aggregate survey results were included in the UA Newsletter on Friday, June 18th and published to the Project Website. The team finalized the Supervisor Experience survey which will be sent out to supervisors by the end of June.

The Technical Expertise Resources group has begun their review of the proposed Remote Work Regulations which includes comparing them to the Risk Registry to make sure that mitigation measures are included. The sub-committees created to develop guides and resources for remote work ergonomics and ADA compliance are finalizing their work and will be ready to post by the end of June.

The Project Team has continued its work on remote work regulations and administrative guidelines for remote work arrangements at UA. The team is holding multiple work sessions over the next couple of weeks in order to complete proposed changes. After their initial work, the proposed regulations will be shared with the Technical Expertise Resources group and the Transition Monitoring Team for feedback.  Revisions will be made and then the proposed regulations will be shared with campus and university leadership, governance groups and other constituents for feedback. They are using the risk registry that was developed by the Technical Expertise Resources group to make sure remote work risks are mitigated.

The Transition Monitoring team continues to work through the comments and text answers of the Employee Experience Survey. The team is also continuing development of the Supervisor Experience survey and expects to distribute the survey mid-June.

The Technical Expertise Resources group has completed the risk registry. Two sub-committees are working on developing guides and resources for ergonomics and ADA compliance for those working remotely. 

The Project Team has continued its work on remote work regulations and administrative guidelines for remote work arrangements at UA. The team is holding discussions on items brought to them from the surveys, including internet connectivity issues, workstation and university owned equipment versus personal equipment concerns as well as training for remote arrangements. The Project Team has begun work on updating the existing Telework agreement policies to reflect conversations held with the Technical Expertise Resources group as well as feedback from the conducted surveys.

The Transition Monitoring team continues to work through the results of the Employee Experience Survey and is working on completing preliminary information to share. They are preparing to begin analysis of the Student Experience Survey, which closed Friday, May 14th. Both survey’s results will be published in report form, posted to the project website and shared widely among constituents and leadership. The team is also continuing development of the Supervisor Experience survey and expects to complete the survey in the coming weeks.

The Technical Expertise Resources group has continued holding extra sessions regarding ergonomics and ADA compliance in continuing support of the Project Team's development of administrative guidelines for remote work. The team’s primary focus has been on their Risk Register, outlining the risks to successful long-term remote work arrangements, their severity of impact on success, as well as recommending mitigation measures. The Risk Register should be finalized by today’s meeting on Monday May 24th. 

 

The Post-COVID Project Team’s Employee Experience Survey closed on Friday, May 7th and results will be reviewed by the Transition Monitoring Team. The results of the survey will help to guide all the teams involved in this project as they move forward, with regard to specific employee concerns and interests identified within the survey results. The Student Survey was finalized and sent out to 23,000 students on Friday, April 30th. The survey will remain open until Friday, May 14th.

The Project Team has continued its work on administrative guidelines for remote work arrangements at UA. They continue to focus heavily on work space impacts to remote work arrangements such as OSHA, Worker’s Compensation, ADA, and ergonomic issues. These items have far reaching implications and discussions will likely continue for the next few weeks in order to be sure that proper measures are being taken in establishing a successful Remote Work policy.

The Transition Monitoring Team has begun work on a survey specifically designed to capture the perspectives of UA supervisors on their experience with remote work arrangements. The team aims to have this survey ready for distribution by the beginning of June. The team will also continue monitoring results from the other two surveys and conveying any pertinent information gleaned from responses directly to the Project Team.

Over the last couple of weeks, the Technical Expertise Resources group held several extra sessions to discuss, at a deeper level, Worker’s Compensation, ADA laws, physical work location, OSHA regulations on remote work duty stations and ergonomics in continuing support of the Project Team's development of administrative guidelines for remote work. They have also begun work on a risk register which outlines risks to successful long-term remote work arrangements as well as recommending mitigation measures.

 

This is a bi-weekly update about the Post-COVID Workplace Project.  This update is sent out every two weeks to executive leadership, the Project Team members, the Technical Expertise resources, the Transition Monitoring Team and the university governance groups. 

The Post-COVID Project teams have finalized their Employee Experience Survey. We invite all UA employees to complete the survey and provide feedback on the possibility of remote work arrangements at the University of Alaska. The last day to complete the survey is Friday, April 30th.  Please share this survey link with others. 

The Project Team has begun work on administrative guidelines for remote work arrangements at UA. They are reviewing current policy and regulations and discussing physical workplace, data security and use of university equipment as well as information provided by the Technical Expertise resources group on the current processes in place for remote work both pre-COVID and during COVID. Training topics for both supervisors and employees are being noted for later development as the administrative guidelines continue to be developed.

The Transition Monitoring Team has begun work on a survey for UA students and other customers on their experience with receiving student support services during the past academic year. The goal of the survey is to identify things that went well that students want to see continued and to identify barriers that they experienced. The team held two extra work sessions last week and has a third work session on the survey today, Tuesday, April 27. Several students and other student support service staff have been invited to bring their perspective and provide input on the survey as it is developed.

The Technical Expertise Resources group met Monday and reviewed a risk register that lists potential issues with remote work.  Several work sessions will be scheduled over the next two weeks to continue the risk discussion and to review  Worker’s Compensation, ADA and physical work location issues as it pertains to OSHA regulations and ergonomics in continuing support of the Project Team's development of administrative guidelines for remote work.

Thank you
This is a bi-weekly update about the Post-COVID Workplace Project.  This update is sent out every two weeks to executive leadership, the Project Team members, the Technical Expertise resources, the Transition Monitoring Team and the university governance groups. 

The Project Team held discussions on data security remote work arrangements. The team is reviewing industry precedent and examples of what other institutions are doing now, alongside UA's current policy and regulations on teleworking. Moving forward, the team will be incorporating these ideas in the development of new guidelines for use in remote work arrangements.

The Transition Monitoring Team held an extra meeting and two extra work sessions to complete work on the employee experience survey. The survey will be finalized this week and then will be tested prior to being distributed to the UA employee community. Development of the student and customer experience survey will also begin this week. Barring any needed revisions, the goal is to have the employee survey out by the end of the week, and the student and customer experience survey out before the end of the semester. 

The Technical Resources group also held discussions on data security across their differing areas of expertise as well as identifying current processes which are in place for the support of remote work at UA to aid the Project Team in their development of new guidelines. The group began a risk register to compile a running list of risks involved with working remotely for both the employee and the university. The group meets today, Monday April 12th to begin discussing legal constraints with regard to Worker's Compensation and ADA law.

The project website is available to all UA employees. An online feedback form on the site has gathered comments from 44 employees, so far.  The Transition Monitoring Team regularly reviews and responds to these comments.   

This is a special edition of the bi-weekly update about the Post-COVID Workplace Project.  This update is typically sent out every two weeks to executive leadership, the Project Team members, the Technical Expertise resources, the Transition Monitoring Team and the university governance groups. Due to important changes, we wanted to send you this special update today.

The Post-COVID Workplace Project website is now live!

Please be sure to peruse the website at your earliest convenience. This site will be the primary resource available to the UA community regarding the project. The site provides an overview of the project, policy and guidelines on remote and hybrid work, project updates, as well as a place to directly provide feedback on the project during all phases. This feedback form is being reviewed by the Transition Monitoring team within 48 hours of submission and any items requiring action will be brought directly to the Project Team for consideration and incorporation into the project. We are committed to ensuring quick responses and movement on any provided feedback so that the UA Community feels heard during the course of this project.   

There will be communication distributed on Tuesday afternoon to the UA community from President Pitney that introduces the project and the website.  

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Most importantly, please feel free to share the site with constituents: staff, faculty, students; anyone who may be impacted by the project. We want to impart upon the UA Community that their voices do matter and we want to hear from them to ensure successful completion of the Post-COVID Workplace Project.

This is a bi-weekly update about the Post-COVID Workplace Project.  This update is sent out every two weeks to executive leadership, the Project Team members, the Technical Expertise resources, the Transition Monitoring Team and the university governance groups. 

The Post-COVID Project team finalized the project scope at their March 19th meeting and sent it to the Chancellors and President for final review.  President Pitney approved the project scope on March 25th. 

The Project team met again on March 26th to begin discussing the first round of feedback from the Transition Monitoring team and to begin reviewing and discussing the BOR policies and regulations which are potentially impacted by this project. 

The Technical Expertise Resource group met on March 15th and again on March 29th to discuss the legal and regulatory constraints on the project, in particular with data security. The group aims to have a detailed explanation of constraints by their next meeting on April 12th. 

The Transition Monitoring team met on March 22nd and March 29th to develop surveys to collect data on remote work arrangements for employee, supervisor and student/customer experiences during COVID at UA. Survey content should be finalized at the next meeting on April 5th.

A project website is being developed and reviewed by the Project and Transition Monitoring Teams.  The site will be shared with UA employees around April 5th.

The Post-COVID Project team met on March 5 to begin review of the project scope. This conversation will be finalized in the upcoming meeting on March 19. The project scope will be shared with the Chancellors and the Transition Monitoring Team for final feedback the following week. The project scope will then be sent to President Pitney for final approval.

The Technical Expertise resource group will be meeting today, March 15 to discuss their roles in the overall project and to begin research on legal and regulatory constraints in regards to the new hybrid remote workplace.

Governance groups have been visited over the past couple of weeks to introduce the project and discuss their important role.  At those meetings, we have requested representation on the Transition Monitoring Team, who will solicit feedback from employees and students as well as review communications regarding the project.  The initial meeting for this group will be held on March 22. 

 

  • Michelle Pope created a synthesized summary of the key stakeholder interviews.  Based on this input, we will be drafting and reviewing the first draft of the project scope this week.
  • We have started regular weekly meetings with the Project Team
  • The Technical Expertise Team has been created and will be finalized this week.  Members of this group may change depending on the needs of the project.
  • We have reached out to 21 governance and DE&I groups to arrange attendance at their next meeting in order to introduce the project and discuss how governance will be involved. Nine of the groups have responded with invitations. The Transition Monitoring Team will be made up of campus representatives from these groups.

The Post-COVID Workplace Team membership has been finalized, our kick-off meeting has been held and key stakeholder interviews have concluded. We are currently coordinating with the team to find a regular weekly meeting time for the group moving forward. The team is implementing a transition monitoring team in order to have a pulse on employee (to include faculty, staff and student employees) concerns and general feelings toward the project as it unfolds and to provide feedback to the Post-COVID Workplace Team. The team has collected resources on what other institutions are doing, as well as industry standard. The team’s next steps are to begin our weekly meetings, draft the project’s scope and identify technical expertise resources pertinent to the project scope.

Frequently asked Questions

​There are still many details being worked out by the project team and technical expertise  resource group and more information will be made available as the work progresses.

The projected effective date of the new regulations will be September 30, 2021. 

There are service, infrastructure, retail, research, instructional, and other positions that require in-person work. Supervisors and employees will need to work together to ensure that the university’s business needs can be met from a remote work or hybrid work arrangement. Not all positions will be eligible.

We have a Google form for submitting comments to the transition monitoring and project teams. Or you can contact members of the team. There will be surveys distributed throughout the project, and forums for interacting with the project team.

If you are currently working remotely due to COVID-19, you will need to follow the guidance provided by your university as it moves through the operational phases and also guidance provided by your supervisor.

This is one of the deliverables this project will be evaluating. Recommendations will be provided in August. If you are currently receiving support, please continue to utilize it as long as the business need is there. 
Existing policy and regulations are under review as part of this project. Visit the policy and guideline page for more information.