Use the following guidelines and principles as you contemplate your own work arrangements and those of your team.
Staff and leaders alike need to understand the objectives, principles, guidelines and considerations of the remote work program. The information below is the basis for decision-making and the remote work agreement.
After reviewing this information, employees who are interested in entering into a Remote Work Agreement are encouraged to speak with their supervisor or manager. Leaders will then consider the arrangements of the individual as well as the team.
A reminder that the first year of the remote work program (September 2021 – August 2022) will be transitional.
Remote work program
The objectives of the remote work program are to:
- Attract and retain faculty and staff by creating a more flexible workplace environment.
- Positively impact student experience and outcomes through flexibility and the use of technology.
- Optimize service levels, as well as faculty and staff productivity, through flexibility and the use of technology.
- Reduce carbon emissions through lower levels of commuting and strain on campus facilities.
- Catalyze greater collaboration between UBC and its partners through normalizing remote interactions.
- Promote and enable connections and balance across UBC campuses.
Decisions regarding remote work arrangements must:
- Prioritize the physical and mental health of students, faculty, and staff.
- Support the academic mission of the university, respecting faculty commitments to research, teaching, and service.
- Centre around student experience and outcomes.
- Determine mode of delivery for courses taking into consideration good pedagogy, program objectives, and student-oriented flexibility, ensuring decisions made are aligned with existing practices, with UBC’s learning environment, and the collective agreement.
- Respect and reflect the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion.
- Sustain or improve service levels, quality of work, and faculty and staff productivity.
- Protect university culture, team dynamics, and the potential for creativity, innovation and collaboration.
- Maintain the vibrancy of our campuses and learning sites.
- Optimize space utilization and consider financial sustainability.
- Support an institutional approach and consistency in application, maintaining agility to pivot if and as required.
- Full-time (100%) permanent remote work arrangements will not be considered at this time.
- As the first year of the remote work program is a transitional year, all remote work arrangements are temporary in nature, and remote work arrangements can be reversed or amended at the request of the employee or university, with appropriate notice and managerial approval.
- Faculty and staff are employed as campus-based employees, or other sites as required, with remote work arrangements established based on agreement between the employee and the university.
- Faculty and staff working remotely ensure and attest that the conditions are in place for them to work productively, safely, and securely, including space and internet capacity (i.e. bandwidth).
- Deans, Vice-Presidents (VPs), and Associate Vice-Presidents (AVPs) are responsible for decisions made in respect of remote work for staff within their respective faculties and units. These responsibilities may be delegated to managers and/or supervisors.
- Where face-to-face interaction or physical presence is critical to the workplace experience, the Dean, VP, or AVP may decide that remote work arrangements are not suitable.
- The head of unit’s process for determining the modality of instruction for a course includes a collegial discussion between the head of unit (or designate) and faculty, both collectively and individually, and is aligned to the language of the collective agreement. The process of collegial discussion is similar to the way teaching duties are determined and allocated by heads of units each year. There is considerable faculty member autonomy in course content and instructional methods, but there are also practical constraints on this autonomy, at both the program/department level (e.g. program requirements, accreditation constraints, pre-requisites for successive courses, student experience considerations) and at the institutional level (e.g. enrolment, operational requirements, timetabling, room scheduling, Senate policies, and others) which must be taken into account by the head of unit in making decisions. The university expects that existing pre-COVID collegial discussion practices will continue with regard to the assignment of workload, including the mode of instruction, with continued alignment to the collective agreement.
- Decisions regarding employees’ or units’ work arrangements will include consideration of whether roles require or benefit from physical proximity to others, in-person collaboration, or access to specialized facilities, and the service and engagement expectations of others.
- Remote work arrangements are approved on a case-by-case basis, and do not replace or eliminate the requirement for regular, in-person attendance. Employees approved for remote work understand they may be required to attend the workplace at any given time at their own expense.
- Except as expressly agreed, remote work does not change the terms and conditions of employment as set out in the employee’s employment agreement, and those terms and conditions will continue to apply.
- Working remotely does not apply to every position at the university as it is not suitable for certain roles or work performed. If some employees on a team are working remotely and others are not, it is important to consider the impact on team dynamics.
- Remote work is subject to the same regulatory and statutory obligations as on-campus or on-site work. Work that would normally be performed in the workplace within British Columbia must continue to be performed at a location within the province. Work that would normally be performed outside of BC as a job requirement is not subject to this restriction.
- The university will act in accordance with its collective agreements and other employment agreements, working in consultation with employee representative unions and associations, and in accordance with the Human Rights Code.
- The university must be able to defend its decisions using the criteria arising from labour and employment law: reasonable, operationally justified, not arbitrary, and not discriminatory.
When determining whether an individual position or role is suitable for remote work, use the following questions as a guide:
- Do the operational requirements of the role require it to be on campus?
- Is this role required to be on campus to support the student experience, research, or scholarly activity?
- Does the role require or benefit from an on-campus presence to be completed?
- Does the role require close physical proximity to others to be completed?
- Does the role require or benefit from face-to-face interaction?
- Does the role need access to research facilities that require it to be onsite?
- Does the role require access to specialized on-campus facilities or equipment?
- Is this role required to be or benefit from being on campus to support culture, teamwork, and employee engagement?
- Is there physical space for the role to be done on-campus?
- Will a remote work arrangement result in increased financial costs?
- Can the employee attest to the requirements for safe and secure remote work?
- Have the safety requirements per WorkSafeBC (WSBC) been implemented?
More information to support decision-making is available on the Remote work for leaders page.