Remote Work Arrangements - June 2022 Update


A Remote Work Arrangements (RWA) framework for UVic staff was introduced in the summer of 2021 to coincide with the fall return to campus with the promise that HR would review and recommend adjustments to the initial framework in 2022. A review of the 2021 RWA framework for staff was conducted by the Remote Work Arrangements working group in the spring of 2022. The review included a survey of staff and supervisors at UVic, interviews with key HR staff, discussion-based management forum with over 50 participants in April to understand current challenges and issues, and additional research such as a review of remote work processes and workforce trends at other Canadian institutions.

The review documented the changing attitudes, norms and trends in the workforce, highlighted that those most advanced in their RWA practice are functioning on a continuum of flexibility (such as at TMU) and verified that organizations that do not embrace remote working as a key human resources strategy risk their ability to attract and retain talent. All of this validates UVic’s need to ensure our initial RWA framework keeps pace with the shifting landscape of work.

A detailed report of the survey findings and recommendations was shared with Integrated Planning in June and directional approval was provided for implementation. Resource development and web updates will take place over the summer and shared in the Fall of 2022.

Survey results:

The survey had an excellent return rate with 1,329 responses, of which 31.6% of respondents supervised other staff. The survey was mostly completed by employees represented by the Professional Employees’ Association (52.3% of respondents). CUPE 951 (27.0%) staff, and Decanal/Management Excluded leaders (10.2%) also contributed significantly.

People from over 135 departments participated. The top reporting portfolios were VPAC (42.0%), followed by the VPFO portfolio (20.9%). 76.5% of respondents worked full time. There was good representation between people who had formally worked one or more day per week remotely since 2021 with those who did not have a formal RWA in place (56.7% vs. 43.3%).

Key high level results are:

  • Only 3.9% of respondents were unsatisfied with the remote experience provided.
  • Across 12 measures of work satisfaction and effectiveness, most respondents either reported increases or no change.
  • 89.7% of respondents, including supervisors, want remote work arrangements to continue, while 4.1% want them to end and 6.2% are undecided.
  • 52.1 % of respondents said that if given the chance, they would work more days remote or full time remotely. Nearly 40% of supervisors would support that.
  • Supervisors are also interested in more flexible work arrangements with the majority supportive of compressed work weeks and flexible start and finish times.

Intended next steps:

The following changes will be incorporated into UVic’s RWA Framework and associated website and materials for the Fall of 2022 and references to the initial pilot project will be removed.

  • Remove the part-time limitation on remote work arrangements but maintain the requirement for connection to campus and the ability to attend campus as required.
  • Include that while long distance RWAs will not normally be considered, UVic will create a process and criteria for those temporary or exceptional circumstances that may necessitate out-of-province employment (limited to Canadian locations only).
  • Retain the core principle that Remote Work Arrangements will be voluntary and approved on the basis of the core principles but provide an opportunity for leaders to initiate a request of staff to voluntarily establish RWAs based on operational requirements such as office space constraints.
  • Reinforce the expectation that staff participating in RWAs will normally be required to give up dedicated on-campus office space and be assigned to on-campus space that has been configured for part-time use.
  • Clarify that the employer may provide furnishings if the employee does not retain a dedicated office space on campus and the remote work location is considered the employee’s primary (4 days a week or more) work location. An employee with a hybrid RWA remains responsible for the purchase of ergonomic office furniture for their home office if also provided dedicated office space on campus.

Additional Resources in Development

  • Guidelines for the (limited) consideration of long distance or out of province remote work arrangements.
  • A new resource to help leaders establish and communicate departmental criteria for remote work.
  • Additional resources to support hybrid meetings.
  • Support for leaders to assess issues and challenges presenting as remote work issues, which may have other underlying causes and solutions.