Fall 2021 Planning Guidance

Coming together in fall 2021 is a thoughtful process that will ultimately enhance how Financial and Administrative Services (FAS) continues to support the university’s teaching and research mission. The COVID-19 pandemic provided many learning opportunities about the innovative ways in which FAS can successfully perform work in a hybrid environment. Departments should consider how to leverage effective strategies from the past year to serve the university’s mission in new ways and to adjust to the changing needs of students, faculty and staff. This will require flexibility and adaptability during the upcoming pilot academic year.

Senior leaders will work with supervisors to follow the FAS Fall 2021 Planning Guidance and lead their units toward a gradual transition of successfully coming back together this fall. They will use the previously provided FAS Fall 2021 Pilot Plan template to submit unit plans for review to Senior Vice President and CFO Darrell Bazzell by July 1, 2021.

FAS Fall Planning Guidance

Coming together on campus in fall 2021 will be a gradual transition. Supervisors will assess from where and how work can continue to be done successfully.

Evaluate and Consider Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA)

All positions will be evaluated for Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA). It is expected that FWA decisions will be driven primarily by the unit’s business needs and the role or function performed as related to advancing the university’s academic and research mission. FAS Senior leaders, Directors and Supervisors will consider business needs of our campus partners and clients, and resulting plans will be nimble so that we are able to adjust as we learn more about other units’ plans over time and how to effectively serve the needs of the campus. FAS Human Resources Support Services (HRSS) provides remote work toolkits for managers and employees to assist with FWA consideration.

FWAs are within a supervisor’s discretion to allow, continue, end or modify. Employees are not guaranteed FWA and should understand that business needs as determined by the supervisor may affect their work arrangements and any changes to those arrangements. That said, employees who have concerns involving their work assignments should meet with their supervisor first and their second-level supervisor if necessary.

  • Leaders and staff will consider how work can continue to be successfully accomplished in support of the university’s academic and research mission.
  • FAS Senior Leadership, Directors, and Supervisors will ensure that similar positions and work types are assessed in a consistent manner across the portfolio. Supervisors were provided with a Remote Work Assessment tool that will allow all departments to consider the same elements when evaluating positions for FWA, supporting equity across the portfolio.
  • FWA requested by an employee due to a medical condition or disability that is not otherwise available or beyond the parameters of what is offered to employees within the unit should be referred to FAS HRSS, who will coordinate with the university’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator to initiate the ADA interactive process. This should occur even when the unit is able to provide the requested accommodation.
  • All staff with an FWA must have current agreements on file with FAS HRSS by August 13, 2021, using the updated 2021 Central HR Telework Expectations form that will be available in June 2021.
  • All completed FWA expectations documents will be uploaded to Workday, along with updating work location information, to enable accurate tracking with compliance requirements and to perform analysis of FWA use.
  • Campus and unit guidelines may be modified throughout AY 21-22
  • In-state telework will be considered regardless of the distance from the campus site if the functions can be performed at a high level via remote telework and provided that all onsite obligations can be met (including the possible need for rapid presence onsite).
  • New out-of-state remote telework may be considered when the position lends itself to an employee being able to successfully meet their job requirements while in that state, and with Senior Vice President and CFO approval.
  • Whenever possible, employees should be given at least five business days of advance notice to attend required activities that were not previously scheduled. However, urgent needs or events may occasionally necessitate required onsite work with more limited notice.
  • New job descriptions, job postings and offer letters will include language that reflects if the position is eligible for FWA given its nature and duties.
  • The FAS Human Resources Support Services (HRSS) Manager Toolkit for Remote and Flexible Workers will be used as a resource for FWAs.

Plan a Gradual Transition

Units should plan for a gradual transition back to campus, with a return to the near normal mode by August 16th.

Additional Considerations

Units and working groups are simultaneously planning for next academic year. It is important that FWA plans have the flexibility to adjust to information shared in the coming weeks and months.

  • Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) outlines many options on the PTS website, including park and ride, shuttles, car share and other services offered in partnership with Capital Metro. PTS permit, parking and transportation options, and other parking information for the fall will be shared in July 2021.
  • A working group is contemplating a Telework Stipend. More information about this tool will be announced later this summer.
  • Details about how staff will communicate and connect for meetings and other work needs will evolve as we implement and assess plans. Unit plans should assess if meeting, training and other work needs should be in-person.
  • FWA employees and their supervisors are encouraged to explore training from the more than 35 courses available on hybrid and remote work environments in UT Austin’s LinkedIn Learning platform prior to the start of the fall 2021 semester. In addition, training through UT Learn and other resources will be developed to support employees’ successful return to campus.
  • As the situation evolves, everyone is encouraged to read campus update emails, the Protect Texas Together website and FAQs, and other information that will be shared over the summer.

Email HRSS at hrss@austin.utexas.edu with any questions about the FAS Fall Planning Guidance and planning tools.