Future of Work@CPH

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in disruptive change in higher education and for the University of Iowa specifically. This change provides the opportunity to reimagine and re-envision how we work, where we work, how we engage, how we innovate and how we serve.

Welcome Back To Campus Most University of Iowa employees are coming back to campus as of July 1, 2021, following the end of the COVID-19 State of Emergency. Here’s what you need to know about returning to on-campus work.

Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles

  • Preserve and build on core values of excellence, learning, community, diversity, integrity, respect and responsibility.
  • Deliver world-class education, research and health care.
  • Create a positive collegiate culture by supporting the talent, engagement, health and well-being of our faculty, staff and students.
  • Ensure equitable, transparent and fair processes.
  • Comply with university policy, Board of Regents policy and state and federal law.
  • Ensure employees have the necessary tools and resources to do their work efficiently and effectively.
  • Empower local decisions that prioritize efficiency while respecting faculty, staff and student preference.
  • Enable supportive supervision and mentoring to foster learning and professional growth.


Work Locations

  • On-campus work: Job functions that must be completed or are most effectively completed at an on-campus location. Employees have an assigned workspace at an on-campus site.
  • Remote work: Job functions that can be performed effectively entirely off campus. Employees typically will not have a personal workspace assigned at an on-campus site.
  • Hybrid work: Job functions that can be performed effectively in a combination of on- and off-campus locations. Employees typically have a personal or shared workspace assigned or available to them at an on-campus site.

Work Scheduling

  • Standard schedule: Designated work hours that set typical start and stop times for a unit’s employees. Work may be performed on or off campus.
  • Flexible schedule: Designated work hours that differ from standard unit start and stop times. Work may be performed on or off campus. 

Rationale for Expanding Work Arrangements

Rationale for Expanding Work Arrangements

  • Increase employee recruitment, retention and engagement through additional support of employee work-life balance and improved employee morale, health and productivity.
  • Increase the diversity of our workforce by attracting broad talent pools that create opportunities to build strong thought diversity across levels, functions, and teams.  Individuals living in different locations, as well as coming from different backgrounds increase diverse perspectives.  
  • Ensure that we have high quality, on campus space in close proximity for all faculty & staff whose job function requires this to maximize productivity and collaboration and to support integration of research, education, and engagement.
  • Expanded use of virtual work to optimize collegiate engagement and with the potential to:
    • Reduce overall cost related to space usage and maintenance by vacating buildings with high levels of outstanding deferred maintenance.
    • Reduce the number of individuals commuting to campus which helps the environment and could provide additional parking options for employees.
    • Lead to less face-to-face interaction and potentially less exposure to communicable illnesses and a healthier overall workforce.
  • Remain competitive with market trends by expanding work arrangement norms.

Staff Flexible Work Arrangement: Evaluation Criteria

Step 1:  Review each position and identify which job functions must be conducted on campus based on key areas of responsibility.  For example, positions that may need to be performed on campus include those that:

  • Require in-person interaction with internal and external constituents, including the supervision of on-campus student employees;
  • require access to systems, software or other necessary materials that are only available on-campus or to ensure confidential data is not compromised;
  • productivity cannot be monitored and measured remotely;
  • cannot be completed remotely without significant disruption to workflow and communication with others.   

Step 2:  Consider whether the staff member currently in that position has the skills to succeed as a remote worker, including whether the staff member:

  • Has technical skillset working with telecommuting tools;
  • has demonstrated appropriate time management and organizational skills;

If the supervisor feels the position/job function is conducive for remote/hybrid work (Step 1) but does not feel the staff member currently has the skills to succeed as a remote worker (Step 2), HR will provide potential training opportunities.

Step 3: Discuss with eligible staff member:

  • Ask preference for remote, hybrid or in office work;
  • if remote/hybrid is considered, discuss the following:
    • access to safe, ergonomic remote space that promotes their well-being?
    • access to space that is free from distraction for the employee and those they might be meeting with virtually?  (If the employee indicates that ongoing childcare needs would not allow them to work remotely without distraction, consider whether a flexible schedule would be appropriate.  If not, as stated by Central Administration, remote or hybrid work is not a substitute for childcare.)
    • access to internet connectivity that will allow them to work efficiently?
    • access to UI computer equipment for use remotely?
    • ability to maintain security of sensitive data while working remotely?
  • ask preference regarding standard/flexible work hours; 
  • make the best decision to ensure the success of all staff. 

Steps Forward Committee

Edith A. Parker, Dean edith-parker@uiowa.edu

Cori Peek-Asa, Associate Dean for Research corinne-peek-asa@uiowa.edu

Jeff Dawson, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs jeffrey-dawson@uiowa.edu

Lori Cranston, Associate Dean for Administration lori-cranston@uiowa.edu

Dan McMillan, Strategic Communications Director daniel-mcmillan@uiowa.edu

Kay Shie, Human Resources Director kay-shie@uiowa.edu

Scot Reisinger, Assistant Dean of Student Services scot-reisinger@uiowa.edu

Tim Shie, Information Technology Director tim-shie@uiowa.edu

Maggie Chorazy, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs margaret-chorazy@uiowa.edu

Other Resources

Technology – UI Resources

Information Technology Services: Technology resources and services to enable the success of our distributed workforce — no matter where your “office” may be.

University Human Resources: Future of Work@Iowa

UI Learning & Development – Working, Learning & Leading Remotely

College of Public Health – Coronavirus Information & Resources


Do you have ideas, comments, or questions about the future of work?  If so, please feel free to reach out to any Steps Forward committee member or contact Kay Shie, Human Resources Director (Kay-Shie@uiowa.edu) who will bring your thoughts forward.