Planning and preparing for return to campus

The safe and orderly return of staff to our campuses will require a coordinated effort.

Make a plan

Supervisors are required to give each staff member written notice at least 30 calendar days before their return to campus.

Use this Return to Campus Checklist and Workforce Planning template to prepare yourself, your team and your office for a gradual return to campus this fall.

It is possible that we will have to return to remote work at some point. A contingency plan for immediate return to remote work should be in place.

Details associated with the checklist and planning template

Critical Services

Critical services include roles that are critical to support the reintroduction of in-person activities, including staff who are engaged in direct support to students, preparation of facilities, academic faculty, instructors, and others whose work supports learning activities.

Prepare the work space
  • Visit the workspace in advance of the return of staff to assess what cleaning, trash removal, equipment servicing, or other preparations may be necessary.
  • Check office supplies, printer or copier ink, or other materials and ensure adequate supplies are available.
  • Ensure employees’ workspaces are available to them upon their return. Assign workspaces for staff new to the university in advance of their arrival.
  • Be familiar with expectations regarding the return of computer equipment and actions related to IT that should be taken by staff before they return.
  • Track the return of borrowed office furniture and equipment.
  • Purchase microphone and webcam equipment if needed to facilitate virtual meetings for each desk
  • Coordinate moving details if necessary and communicate timelines with staff
Informal discussion

Over the course of the next month, schedule a discussion with each of your team members to discuss the return to campus in fall. This will give you an opportunity to understand their concerns, answer questions and identify gaps in planning. It’s an opportunity to advise your team member which phase they fit into to give them an idea of their timeline for return, and for you to get a sense of whether they’re interested in continued work from home. 

Confirm the date that they will return. Support staff will require a formal letter (see below).

Formal Notification Letter
Provide Support Staff on your team with a letter that includes the date they are expected to begin working on campus again. The letter must be provided 30 calendar days before the employee is expected to start working on campus. Use this template
Staggered return to work times and scheduling
On the first day back to campus, stagger the start times to help space out hallway and elevator activity as staff return with their equipment and supplies. Consider alternating in-office days for the first few weeks while your teams adjust to being in each others’ company. Respectful physical distancing and smaller groups will be encouraged whenever possible. Give grace to employees as they arrive to account for anxiety, delays and safety.

Staff Who Wish to Continue Working from Home

Get ready to manage challenges—and your expectations

Some individuals returning to the workplace may feel worried, anxious, tired, and uncertain about coming back, while others may be enthusiastic, energized, and engaged. You may find you spend more time addressing questions and concerns.

Productivity may be affected by the return to campus work. As staff adjust to the new working arrangements, productivity will increase.

Conflict may be present in your work group. Personal and work stressors, feelings of guilt or loss from colleague layoffs, fear of getting sick, and organizational changes will impact how employees interact with each other. Set expectations about workplace behaviour and be prepared to manage issues.

Staff will need to take time each day to clean their work surfaces and shared equipment.

Listen with empathy to individual concerns and be prepared to be flexible to accommodate those concerns where possible.

For some, childcare arrangements may have been interrupted. Here’s how to support employee family responsibilities.

Support for supervisors