UC Riverside staff members indicated strong support for continued remote or hybrid work options in a recent survey of work preferences.
About 93% of respondents favored remote/hybrid work options while 74% of supervisors believe that staff members can work well in a remote or hybrid option, according to the results.
The survey was sent to 2,830 staff employees in July by Human Resources as part of efforts to plan for the fall and seek feedback from staff employees and supervisors. It received 1,319 responses, a 47% response rate — a high number for such polls that indicates strong interest in the topic.
The vast majority of respondents are already working fully or partly remotely with only 157 indicating that they are currently working on campus. The survey results will be discussed at an Aug. 16 campus town hall hosted by UCR Staff Assembly featuring Gerry Bomotti, vice chancellor for Planning Budget & Administration; and John Stephen Henderson, interim associate vice chancellor for Human Resources.
As part of the return to campus planning, Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox has said work-location decisions would aim to offer flexibility and be made through a deliberate process within individual units.
“Our thanks to those who took the time to complete the survey,” Henderson said. “The results will be used to inform the Operational Continuity Workgroup and Human Resources in providing resources to best support our staff.”
The survey featured over a dozen questions on topics such as pre-pandemic and current work arrangements, and factors influencing work preferences. Respondents were also asked open-ended questions on planning for the return to campus. The full survey results can be viewed here.
On work preferences, 52% favored a hybrid model, working a mix of on-site and remotely, while 41% preferred to work remotely full time. About 8% preferred to work on-site full time.
On the question of productivity, 74% said they felt they had all the resources needed to do their jobs remotely and 30% indicated no challenges in making the transition. Among supervisors and managers, 89% said their teams are working at the same or better levels.
When it comes to returning to campus, 31% said they felt safe and 11% were concerned about social distancing and campus vaccination rates.
Campus leadership has announced efforts to support employees, both those who have continued to work on campus and those working remotely, through federal Higher Education Relief Funds.
About $1 million of those funds would be provided for equipment and furniture purchases for employees who continue to work hybrid or remote schedules. Under a proposed allocation formula, funding would be provided based on the number of staff members in each organization with individual units deciding the best utilization of funds.
Jeff Girod, UCR Staff Assembly president, said the group is grateful that Human Resources conducted the survey. He said it will contribute to the national dialogue about what the future of work should look like.
“For the last 18 months, UCR staff have proven it’s possible to support the university at a high level in a remote environment, while providing more scheduling flexibility and a better work-life balance for employees,” he said. “As UCR transitions back to primarily on-campus learning, Staff Assembly hopes campus leadership continues to listen to and consider input from our invaluable staff, who overwhelmingly support remote and hybrid work options.”
UCR Staff Assembly will also work with campus leadership on programs for career-related trainings and resources, expansion of mental health and wellness resources, and a one-year pilot program to provide access to R’Pantry for staff members experiencing food insecurity.
For those working remotely or on a hybrid schedule, Transportation Services is offering permits on an hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly schedule. Hourly and daily permits can be purchased through the ParkMobile app. A 10-pack of one-day permits, which expire June 30, 2022, are being sold for $43. More information on the permit options is available here.