New staff guidelines for workplace flexibility, hybrid or remote work
November 29, 2022 10:02 AM

Dear Colleagues,

The way we work today has dramatically changed for our university staff since March 2020. Hybrid or remote working options, tools and practices that were seen in rare cases and for a very narrow range of jobs are now as much a part of our operational vocabulary as in-person work. During the past year, as we have been able to move from the acute crisis stage of the pandemic into the employment environment that was reshaped by COVID-19, we have all been learning together how we can permanently and consistently integrate these new modes of working into our university operations.

Working closely and carefully with our university leadership, deans, administrative unit leaders and members of the campuswide HR Caucus, we have developed new guidelines and recommendations that will normalize workplace flexibility, which includes both hybrid and remote working schedules moving forward. You can find more detailed information on the Illinois Human Resources Workplace Flexibility web pages, but here are some key operational points related to this new guidance:

  • A hybrid work schedule for Urbana civil service and academic professional staff will be generally defined as three or four days on-site and other days working remotely. Employees working a hybrid schedule must have an approved Remote and Hybrid Work agreement in place.  Agreements will be renewed annually.
  • Not every job can be done remotely. A list of those classifications by functional category that are not eligible for remote work can be found here.  
  • Any approval beyond a hybrid three or four days on-site and remaining days remote must have approval by the appropriate dean, vice chancellor, associate chancellor or their designee.  
  • Fully remote or remote greater than two days may result in employees utilizing a shared space or hoteling space when on campus. Space previously assigned to an employee who is now fully remote or remote more than two days a week may be repurposed to meet unit needs.  Such action may not be immediate but will be incorporated into space planning efforts. Units will provide ways for employees in shared spaces to secure their items in cabinets/drawers.
  • Working a set schedule/hours when working remotely is expected and should be documented in the remote or hybrid agreement.
  • If, while working remotely, you will be unavailable for a block of time during your regularly scheduled hours, you are expected to inform your supervisor or teammates just as is expected during on-site work.
  • Employees must have privacy and minimized distractions while working remotely.
  • Employees entering hybrid and remote work arrangements must be available for and participate in phone calls, video meetings and other necessary forms of communication in accordance with the normal demands of the job. Managers shall set expectations for video camera usage when working remotely.
  • Employees must continue to follow all university policies and procedures, such as using sick and vacation leave when not working or away from work.
  • Beyond remote or hybrid work, IHR staff is prepared to assist units in exploring options such as flexible schedules.
  • Employees working either a hybrid or remote schedule are expected to complete a new form by January 9, 2023 unless they have an approved agreement through August 2023 as we transition to an annual form submission for review in July prior to the start of each new academic year.
  • These new guidelines are for Urbana staff only and will be effective on January 9, 2023. These do not apply to System Office employees.

We take great pride in our university’s adoption of workplace flexibility. We recognize our ability to provide that flexibility is important to our ability to recruit and to retain the best, brightest and most diverse staff possible. At the same time, our decisions about working modes must always be based on prioritizing face-to-face engagement with our students and support for our faculty.  A ”one size fits all” approach is not possible given our scale and the widely varied jobs, expectations and operational needs of a university of our size and impact. We believe these guidelines will provide the most flexibility while still delivering the services necessary to uphold our academic, scholarly and engagement missions.

We know this transition to normalizing our hybrid working plans will bring new questions. Our IHR staff and human resources partners in our colleges, departments and units will work with you all to find the answers and provide support as we begin this next phase of work here at Illinois and in our society. A revised policy is working its way through the Campus Administrative Manual (CAM) process.

Thank you for your efforts and patience as we have navigated this crisis together and for helping us use those experiences to reimagine what it means to work here at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.


Shari Mickey-Boggs                                                                
Senior Associate Chancellor for Human Resources

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Academic Professionals & Civil Service
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