President Nellis provides update on Flexible Workplace Project
Dear OHIO Community,
As part of Ohio University’s Strategic Framework, the University is embracing a model for our workplace that will enable more flexibility, adapt to evolving team and University needs, optimize collaborative work while respecting the need for focused individual effort, and seamlessly integrate our virtual and physical environments with a preliminary focus on our administrative units.
An ongoing collaboration across two of our strategic initiatives – Reimagining Space Utilization and the University’s footprint and Becoming a University of Digital Transformation – is helping elevate this opportunity to embrace new ways of working together.
I write to you this week to share progress and highlight what faculty and staff can expect from this initiative moving forward. This past spring, project co-leads Chief Information Officer Chris Ament and University Planner Shawna Wolfe convened five working groups, comprised of faculty and staff across campuses, to explore various areas of focus including workspace design and access and the impact of flexible work on our finance and HR practices. Working group members have developed recommendations and solutions that enable those who choose to adopt a flexible work model to be successful.
It is important to note that a “flexible workplace” means more than working remotely from home, and it won’t look the same in every unit. A flexible workplace environment enables a variety of scenarios, such as flexibility in hours, a combination of remote and on-campus work or moving from traditional office space to communal, creative, or collaborative workspaces.
Ament and Wolfe continue to meet with stakeholders across the University to begin a more robust implementation of these efforts. This work began more than five years ago when we first started planning for the relocation of numerous administrative units to other facilities on campus to better meet academic needs.
Leveraging early adopters and building on what we have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Flexible Workplace project will develop sustainable workplace models that can be readily scaled across the OHIO system to:
- increase employee engagement, retention, and productivity;
- use campus space more effectively and realize expense reduction; and
- increase creative and serendipitous collaborations beyond typical networks.
I hope you will watch this short video that was prepared by the co-leads to answer some frequently-asked questions about how this may impact you and your colleagues.
Today we are also launching a new webpage with more information about the project: www.ohio.edu/president/ohio-strategic-framework/flexible-workplace-project.
Thank you for all that you do for Ohio University.
M. Duane Nellis