Transitioning to a new Model of Work

Published: 18 June 2021

Dear McGill faculty and staff:

As we prepare to move to a post-pandemic normal, we are all beginning to reflect on and learn from our unique experiences over the past 15 months. I am delighted to announce that McGill is adopting an Interim Flexible Work Arrangement, which will increase the option to work from home for eligible administrative and support staff, with the approval of their supervisor.

We are grateful to our administrative and support staff who have adapted rapidly to working from home during the pandemic, and we have heard of the positive elements of this model of work as well as the challenges faced by some. The experience has prompted us to explore more deeply new models of work, including hybrid work arrangements for the longer term as we return to normal levels of activities at our University.

As you probably know, the University has already started moving in this direction:

  • Before COVID-19 upended our lives, McGill had just launched a Flexible Work Arrangement, which gave eligible administrative and support staff the ability to work from home one day a week, with the permission of their manager. It also provided flexible start times for employees who cannot work from home.
  • On March 15, the University launched its New Model of Work Project Office (NMWPO) with McGill veteran Lorraine Mercier as its Inaugural Director. The Office’s mandate is to take an in-depth look at how we can adopt new ways of working that best support the mission of the University, while encouraging employee engagement and innovation. Already they have begun to implement an intensive pilot project.

The pandemic plunged us all into a global, unplanned experiment in our workplaces, which we have yet to fully process and understand. While we are all eager to put the pandemic experience behind us, we know that this will have to be preceded by a transition period. The Interim Flexible Work Arrangement is designed to help us through this transition by giving eligible administrative and support staff more flexibility during the period that the New Model of Work Project Office is working and consulting to find the best hybrid remote-onsite model for McGill.

The Interim Flexible Work Arrangement will provide eligible administrative and support staff with the possibility of working up to 40% of their time remotely, contingent on approval from their manager. Managers will have the responsibility of devising the plan for their team, considering the nature of each team member’s role, the needs of the office and work cycles. The responsibility of ensuring coordination and consistency across the teams will be vested in their directors and unit heads. Please note that the Interim Flexible Work Arrangement will come into effect at the point when administrative and support staff are transitioning to 100% presence on campus.

The Interim Flexible Work Arrangement will be perhaps the largest workplace learning experience that McGill has ever undertaken. Data will be collected, including the experiences of teams, managers and employees, and communicated regularly. All of this learning will contribute to the development of a permanent New Model of Work for McGill.

The complete guidelines and timelines for the formal application process will be communicated within the next few weeks.


Diana Dutton

Associate Vice-Principal (Human Resources)

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