Message From UHD President: The University of Houston-Downtown Workplace Reimagined
Greetings UHD Community,
I am writing to follow up on the message sent by University of Houston System Chancellor Renu Khator regarding our workplace culture. In Chancellor Khator's message, she mentioned the pandemic has created an opportunity to reimagine how best to support one of our most valuable assets — staff.
In her message, Khator said, “We need to ensure a workplace that fulfills our mission of providing students with a top-tier learning experience and an environment for faculty to carry out their research. To that end, we’re reimagining our workplace by offering greater flexibility.”
The Board of Regents voted to support this idea through a system of flexible schedule options for staff members. To that end, each President within the UH System has been asked to consider establishing policy, guidance, and support to facilitate this flexible work initiative.
As the President of the University of Houston-Downtown, I will soon meet with leadership, including the Staff Council Executive Committee, to determine how best to develop and implement this staff policy.
The flexible workplace initiative includes the following possible options as described in Chancellor Khator’s comunication:
- Fully Off-site: Staff can work 100 percent off-site if the position is classified as off-site and approved as required.
- Partially Off-site: Staff can work some days on-site and some days off-site as approved.
- Occasional Off-site: Staff can work off-site temporarily as approved.
- Compressed Workweek: Staff can work different hours to make 40 hours per week as approved.
- Flexible Workday: Staff can work outside the normal 8-5 workday as approved.
Staff will be required to work with unit supervisors to determine their eligibility for flexible work and the respective appropriate scheduling option.
There are also a few guidelines that should be considered when developing the campus policy, according to the Chancellor’s message:
- Workplace flexibility is a privilege, not a right.
- Based on student/faculty interface, each unit will set its own parameters.
- Performance is a requirement, irrespective of the location or time of work selected.
- Approval is required, and the approval can also be withdrawn.
- Training is required for participating staff and supervisors.
- The policy will be reviewed annually for any necessary adjustments.
Please look for further communication from me in the coming weeks regarding this policy matter. And as always, keep up the great work you are performing every day as a vital member of the UHD community.
Loren J. Blanchard, Ph.D.
President, University of Houston-Downtown