Future of Work FAQ

Future of Work in B&F:

Who will decide which work modes are possible for a given employee?

A: As we know, each employee has a unique situation within their own unit, therefore it is up to the management team within the unit to determine the work modes available. An individual employee's work mode and options for flexibility will then be approved by that employee's direct supervisor or manager.

What are my options if I don’t like the model under which I’ll be working in the fall?

A: As with any work decision made within a department, an employee should discuss their concerns with their direct supervisor. If they are not satisfied with the answers received, they can elevate their concerns through their management channels. The ultimate decision remains with the leader in that unit or their delegate.

Why are some units—that are similar to mine in terms of work—working fully remote, but I have to work on-site?

A: While the content of work may be similar, it is up to the leadership of each unit to develop the best work practices, modes of work, organizational culture, etc. for that unit. The unit leadership will have ultimate authority to make these decisions.

Health and Safety/On-Site Work:

Do I still need to complete the ResponsiBlue questionnaire when going into the office?

A: Yes. At this time, daily screening using the ResponsiBLUE app remains in place. For more information, read the June 17 update from President Schlissel.

How will cleaning be handled with shared (or “hotel”) work spaces?

A: For those areas utilizing shared/hotel workspaces, staff are expected to clean the workspace before leaving using provided cleaning supplies. If desired, staff may also clean the workspace upon arrival.

Do I have to return to on-site work if I have concerns about my safety and health?

A: Employees must work at the location required by their job. If your job allows for a flexible work location, you can discuss possible options with your supervisor. The university will continue to follow health and safety guidelines to maintain a safe working environment.

What should I do if I have serious underlying health conditions and I’m not comfortable returning to on-site work?

A: If an employee states they have a COVID-related personal medical issue that prevents them from working on-site (i.e., the employee’s own medical condition), the department will refer the employee to Work Connections to manage the medical documentation, as is done with other medical requests.

What training is required for B&F staff to support workplace health & safety?

A: All B&F staff are required to complete EHS Covid-19: Working Safely at U-M training via My LINC.  This 45-minute module addresses:

  • Workplace infection-control practices
  • The proper use of personal protective equipment
  • Steps the employee must take to notify the university of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19
  • How to report unsafe working conditions

Remote/Hybrid Work – Policies, Guidelines and Resources:

How will staff working remotely/hybrid be able to access office supplies? Can office supplies be shipped directly to their homes?

A: If you’re working in a fully remote or hybrid model, it will be necessary to come into the workplace to pick up office supplies. Shipping of items—including office supplies—to remote work locations is not allowed. See U-M's Remote and Flexible Work Agreements for more information.

Will stipends be provided to staff working remotely/hybrid for things such as home office equipment, internet and utilities?

A: No. Per U-M's Remote and Flexible Work Agreements, you are responsible for all expenses related to off-site work, including—but not limited to—office furniture, internet connectivity, cell phone usage, and commuting.

What kind of ergonomic support will be offered to employees in remote work locations?

A: You can find a number of resources to support personal mental, emotional, and physical well-being on the UHR website, including ergonomics resources.

What parking options will be available for staff who only occasionally drive to a university work location?

A: Daily parking passes are available and the previous 60 days per year cap on daily parking has been lifted. In addition, Logistics, Transportation and Parking is developing long-term plans based on the university’s evolving work models.

Will staff working remotely/hybrid be required to have full-time child care during work hours?

A: Generally speaking, work from home is not intended to be a substitute for family care demands during working hours. During COVID, the university has encouraged departments to be flexible with scheduling and employees’ family care needs. With child and other dependent care options uncertain for the fall, supervisors are encouraged to continue being flexible.

If an employee's family care demands inhibit their ability to perform their work during working hours, they may need to discuss with their supervisor whether other arrangements, such as a flexible schedule, might be possible. The degree of flexibility may vary depending on the job.

Will staff working remotely/hybrid be allowed to relocate out of the state of Michigan or out of the United States?

A: At this point, hiring remote employees to work from foreign countries should be discouraged, absent compelling business reasons, and made only after careful review and approval from central administration.

For units contemplating allowing remote work out of state, it will be important for them to be aware and account for the possible added risks and costs that may be incurred with out-of-state remote employees. For more information, visit the Remote Employment section of the UHR website.

Will B&F or my unit pay for expenses associated with traveling to required on-site meetings, training sessions, and similar activities?

A: No. If you’re traveling from your remote work location (e.g., home) to an on-site office, conference room, or other location for a required meeting or activity, it’s considered commuting and isn’t eligible for reimbursement.

What training will be available to help staff navigate a hybrid workplace, such as facilitating meetings, team-building, and supervising remote employees?

A: You can find a list of live and on-demand sessions available to U-M faculty and staff on performance management, communication, managing stress and anxiety and more on the UHR website.

Will I need to sign a telecommuting agreement with my supervisor if I’m working in a fully remote/hybrid model?

A: Yes. Employees who have received approval from their supervisor, unit HR, and central offices as appropriate to work off-site must have an agreement on file with their department.

Will we be able to order food/beverages—paid for by U-M—for home delivery if we’re having virtual meetings or social activities?

A: Providing meals/beverages paid for—or reimbursed—by U-M for B&F employees working remotely is not allowed. As a reminder, university leadership has encouraged all U-M employees to continue to be judicious in their use of university resources.

Can we gather outside for a potluck or other in-person gathering on the university campus or offsite?

A: Units should continue to request approval of events through their leadership, so refer to your leadership for guidance. In addition, for any on-campus events, refer to the EHS COVID-19 Guidelines for Campus Facilities(see “Gatherings”).

Remote/Hybrid Work Logistics:

Will staff working in a hybrid fashion have a dedicated workspace in their department building?

A: Usage of workspace in U-M buildings will be determined at the department/unit level.

What technology package will be available for staff working remotely or hybrid?
  • A: B&F staff working in remote or hybrid roles will be provided only one package of equipment, including a computer workstation and software package, consistent with what would be provided in an on-campus workspace.  The standard B&F technology package will include the following:

    • Laptop, docking station, and all connecting cords

    • Single or dual monitors 

    • Mouse

    • Keyboard

    • Headset (depending on business need)

Will staff working remotely be allowed to work on-site if necessary or periodically as desired?

Yes, as part of their Remote Work or Flexible Workplace agreement with their supervisor. In some cases, departments may specify additional requirements, such as providing advance notice.

What type of technology will be available in conference rooms to facilitate inclusive hybrid meetings?

A: Technology to support inclusivity across various work models is important. Each area is developing plans for their spaces based on their specific needs.

Can remote or hybrid workers be required to attend in-person work-related events?

A: Yes, according to the Remote and Flexible Workplace agreements, certain meetings are mandatory and may require the employee to be present.

What we hope to know soon:

  1. Can staff working remotely/hybrid bring their office equipment (e.g., stand-up desk, chair, etc.) home to use?