What You Need to Know About the U of A's Work From Home Program

Information for employees interested in an ongoing Work from Home Agreement is now available.


Since March 2020, many University of Alberta employees have worked from home for some length of time. The shift from in-person to working from home happened out of necessity to ensure the health and safety of our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, changing operational needs, improvements in the use of technology and acceptance of a different model of working have supported the opportunity for a formal Work From Home (WFH) Program. This program is meant to support regular, ongoing university operations and exists independently from the U of A’s phased return to on-campus work and other COVID-19 safety measures general directives.

On November 12, all employees received an email about the U of A's new WFH Program, and the HRHSE website has been updated with detailed information about the program. While all employees interested in the WFH Program are encouraged to read through the program details, here are the key things to know:

The purpose of the WFH Program is to provide flexibility

The U of A is committed to providing a safe, inclusive and supportive work environment for its employees. In appropriate circumstances, approved by the university, this can include opportunities to work from home. The intent of the WFH Program is to provide employees who are seeking flexibility in work location to improve work-life balance while maintaining the necessary level of productivity, engagement and performance required by the university. Application phases exist to ensure applications can be processed in a timely manner.

Due to the volume of employees who may consider the WFH Program, implementation of this program will occur in phases. Management and Professional Staff (MAPS), Excluded Support and Non-Academic Staff Association (NASA) employees are eligible to apply in Phase 1. Additional employee groups will be considered for inclusion in the program in March 2022.

Applications are now open to eligible employees in Phase 1

Eligible employees in Phase 1 are invited to apply (using the application form). Applications may be submitted to a manager/supervisor through December 24, 2021 (Winter Closure). Employees who are currently working on campus may apply to the WFH Program.

A review of applications will take place through January 2022. Phase 1 applicants will be advised of decisions in January 2022 with formal WFH Agreements to begin in February 2022. 

Approval of a WFH Agreement is not binding or permanent

You may request to regularly work from home for all or a portion of your regular hours of work.  In many circumstances, a blended approach will be the best approach and you and your manager/supervisor will discuss your request to determine a schedule that is operationally feasible. If you find remote working arrangements are not working for you or for your employee(s), the agreement can be terminated with 30 days notice or by mutual agreement. 

The U of A's WFH Program is subject to review on at least an annual basis to ensure the WFH Agreement continues to be appropriate.

The WFH Program exists independently of the work from home directive

While there is some overlap between the phased return to campus, necessitated by public health directives, and the implementation of the WFH Program, the two are separate initiatives. Should public health measures require it, the work from home directive might continue past January 2022. Likewise, public health restrictions may be lifted before the WFH Program is implemented in February 2022. In this case, employees may be required to return to campus until their WFH Program arrangements are finalized. HRHSE will continue to provide support for working in hybrid environments.

The future of work is changing at the U of A. Teams may need to operate within hybrid work environments, with some employees working from home and some working on one of five campuses. There are a number of university resources to support you during the transition to hybrid work teams such as workshops, the Workplace Advice Line and your Human Resource Services Partner.