Preparing for the fall semester: Timeline for staff and supervisors

With COVID-19 cases on the decline and vaccinations on the rise, it is time to prepare for VCU’s on-campus living, learning and working experience. This timeline provides direction for staff and supervisors to work together on a phased return to on-campus work and deadlines for implementing flexible work arrangements.

Flexible Work Arrangements

Guidelines and frequently asked questions about Flexible Work Arrangement agreements are available on VCU Human Resources website.

Guiding principles

  • Safety: Safely execute the university mission and follow the guidance of health and safety experts.
  • Student experience: Provide an engaging on-campus living and learning experience that illustrates how being Responsible Together allows us to be Better Together.
  • Patient experience: Robustly support VCU Health in our mission to preserve and restore health for all.
  • Equity and inclusion: Flexible work arrangements will be grounded in the nature of roles and operational needs; we remain committed to equity and consistency in implementation for all employees.
  • Balance: Successfully execute the university mission as well as prioritize the work/life balance needs of our workforce; be flexible to address new situations and changes in requirements, guidelines and best practices.
  • Transparent communication: Listen to employee feedback and provide timely information to afford employees adequate time to prepare for changes.

Important dates

The following timeline provides important dates for staff and supervisors as more members of the VCU community return to campus for fall 2021. Additional information and details will be communicated through deans and/or supervisors as school/college/department-specific decisions are made. 

The academic calendar also outlines other important dates for the fall 2021 semester.

June
  • June 14: Mandatory training for all managers and for employees seeking approval for a Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA) will be available in Talent@VCU
  • Mid-June: Summer workshops designed to support managers in making decisions about employee FWAs will launch
  • Supervisors and employees work together to determine the date of return and FWA, if applicable
July
  • July 6: All campus facilities are to open by this date
  • Month of July: Based on roles and responsibilities, a phased transition to on-campus work begins for roles that need to prepare for student return (e.g., Health Sciences, public safety and other student/patient-facing and support roles)
August
  • Aug. 1-24: Phased transition to on-campus work begins for the majority of employees
  • Aug. 24: Deadline to have FWA agreements in place
  • Aug. 24: First day of fall semester for Monroe Park Campus (Health Sciences students follow departmental schedules)

Employee survey results

In April, VCU announced the intention to provide a robust and engaged on-campus experience this fall, which means more in-person classes and a flexible approach to working on-campus for many VCU staff members. Soon after, VCU conducted an employee survey regarding flexible work arrangements and working on campus. Decisions about flexible work arrangements and a phased return to on-campus work are based on input from employees and supervisors. Employees who telework reported feeling productive and connected to colleagues, said their jobs can be performed well either remotely or on-campus, and noted room to improve connection to the mission and students/patients. Key takeaways from the survey include:  

  • 75% of all employees believe their job can be performed either on campus or off campus.
  • 90% of employees who are working remotely feel productive.
  • 85-90% of employees working remotely feel they can collaborate and communicate effectively with supervisors and colleagues.
  • 91% of supervisors feel confident in their ability to effectively supervise remote employees.
  • 60% of employees (52.7% of faculty and 63.4% of staff) feel a connection to the mission and students can be maintained while working remotely.
  • 66% of employees (58.8% of faculty and 68.8% of staff) believe they would be able to support student success and contribute to a robust campus experience while working remotely.

Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA) agreements

FWA guidelines were developed to balance the need for a vibrant campus experience and in-person connectivity with the work/life needs of employees. A snapshot of FWA eligibility is below. Supervisors and staff providing direct support for the in-person student/patient experience will be required to work on campus all or most of the time. 

Suitable for hybrid telework
  • Administrative support function
  • Not student/customer/patient facing
  • Measurable outcomes
  • Collaboration can be achieved remotely
  • Employee is accountable, self-motivated, responsible and has good performance ratings
  • Prior to Spring 2020, most work was completed in office
Not suitable for hybrid telework
  • Student/customer/patient facing/front desk
  • Walk-in student/customer service
  • On-campus resources required, such as lab space or facility needs
  • High levels of personal interaction
  • Employee has not demonstrated self-motivation, accountability, reliability in remote work setting
  • Management of on-campus team
Options for everyone

Telework is not the only option for FWAs. The following options may be applicable to all roles.

  • Flex time (e.g., adjusting arrival or departure times)
  • Compressed schedules (e.g., four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days)
  • Job sharing (e.g., two employees working the equivalent of one full-time position)

Supervisors and employees should work together to explore options for flexible work arrangements including remote work, hybrid remote/on-campus work, compressed scheduling and job-sharing.

Additional information about Flexible Work Arrangements is available on the VCU Human Resources website