Campus News

Re-imagining work at Carolina

The University introduces a plan to support equitable and consistent approaches to flexible work arrangements for non-faculty employees.

A grid of eight photos showing Carolina employees, some at desks, others cleaning and doing landscaping work.
(Photo collage by UNC Creative)

Carolina will transition to a more lasting framework for flexible work locations for non-faculty employees, University leaders announced last week.

The news follows months of planning by the Future of Work project, a partnership between Operational Excellence, the Office of Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance, and Finance and Operations.

Leaders launched the project to re-imagine work at Carolina, leveraging what the University learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. Guided by two priorities, the University seeks to support an exceptional employee experience by providing flexible work options while also upholding its world-class on-campus experience for students.

Some roles will be on-site, while others will be remote or a hybrid of the two.

The project includes all non-faculty employees except for those in the UNC School of Medicine, which is aligning with UNC Health’s effort to rethink its physical workspace.

“We know the workforce is changing, what people are looking for is changing and technology is changing. We want to create a modern workforce, offering flexible opportunities to our employees,” said Becci Menghini, vice chancellor for human resources and equal opportunity and compliance. “We need to balance that need with ensuring we’re maintaining a world-class on-campus experience for our students.”

Menghini, Nate Knuffman, vice chancellor for finance and operations, and Rick Wernoski, senior vice provost for business operations, serve as the project’s executive sponsors. Linc Butler, associate vice chancellor for human resources, is the project’s functional lead.

With the Flexible Work Location Pilot Program that began last July expiring March 31, the Future of Work Design Team, comprised of staff of all types from across the University, developed flexible work arrangements to guide managers and non-faculty employees (EHRA, SHRA, temporary and part-time) through the process after that date. The team created a Flexible Work Options Playbook that includes a decision-making framework as well as implementation resources.

Working in partnership with the Office of Human Resources, the Future of Work Design Team defined location options for each job category as a starting point for supervisors and employees to discuss options. Supervisors and employees will use the playbook to guide discussions, taking into consideration business needs, role-based factors and employee-based factors, which they will document using a Work Location Form.

Flexible work arrangements remain the purview of leadership and supervisors, but the hope is that these conversations and the playbook more broadly will support more equitable and consistent decision-making in how flexibility is granted across the University.

Also, unlike the pilot program, the new arrangements are not by definition time limited. Flexible work plans will be reviewed annually for changes and can be altered in response to changing business needs.

What’s next?

Deans and vice chancellors will work with their human resource officers to determine how to move forward and communicate their plans and expectations, including internal deadlines, to department heads/directors and employees.

Supervisors will follow the playbook process to assess the business needs of positions, meet with employees and propose plans.

Deans and vice chancellors must submit plans to the Office of Human Resources by March 31. When plans are approved by the central review committee, unit leaders will determine when to implement. They will provide at least 30 days’ notice to employees whose existing arrangements will change.

The deadline for implementation of new arrangements is June 30, 2022.