Scenes on campus  photo by Daria Perevezentsev

Return to Campus Fall 2021

At Temerty Medicine we recognize how challenging and stressful the pandemic has been – and continues to be – for so many across our community. Please know that our commitment to health and wellbeing remains paramount and we will strive to communicate frequently and clearly, as new information becomes available.

All faculty and staff at Temerty Medicine will not be expected to return to work on campus in early September. Most will experience a gradual return-to-work in the months ahead, subject to the Province of Ontario reopening regulations and the University of Toronto’s guidelines. Within the University framework, each Faculty retains a degree of local decision-making to suit its needs.

We recognize there are diverse needs across Temerty Medicine’s dozens of distributed departments and units. Business officers and managers will be contacting their staff groups regarding work arrangements during the 2021-22 academic year.

Regarding learners, detailed updates are being sent directly to student cohorts in our undergraduate Medical Education Programs (MD, MRS, PA).

Graduate students should consult their programs/departments for details.

Rehabilitation Sciences Programs will continue with a hybrid learning model with clinical skills training occurring in-person. Students should consult their programs/departments for details.

Our Core Principles

  • Health and safety remain paramount for everyone coming to campus.
  • A positive and well-supported learner experience is a priority.
  • A fair and equitable approach to staff and faculty return-to-work is a priority.
  • Working closely with HR, departments and units will retain flexibility where necessary.

Get the latest information about masks, courses, facilities and more.

Detailed information and resources relevant to the University of Toronto research & innovation community.

This guideline applies to all work and study areas including research spaces.

Latest Updates

07/23/21 - Fall Planning: Staff Survey Results – and September

Dear Temerty Medicine full-time staff:

Our sincere thanks to all who took part in our June employee survey around your work during the pandemic and work in the future. This email is to share the survey results and update you on next steps regarding plans for the fall.

As pandemic restrictions lift, we know everyone is keen to know when, how and how often they will be working on campus in the fall. While some staff who have been working remotely will be required to return to their offices for at least part of the work week, we expect most will experience a gradual return in the months ahead. There will also be opportunities for staff to formally request alternative work arrangements involving hybrid-remote work settings or differentiation in work hours.

Plans are actively being worked on by a fall restart committee chaired by Vice Dean Lynn Wilson – working in concert with the University – with the goal of preparing for a gradual return-to-work in the fall 2021, subject to Province of Ontario reopening regulations and University of Toronto guidelines.

Within those guidelines, each University division will retain a degree of local decision-making to suit their needs. We expect business officers and managers will be connecting with their staff in the coming weeks regarding work arrangements during the 2021-22 academic year.

And please bookmark the Return to Campus 2021 page, which includes the core principles guiding Fall 2021 decisions and will be the home for future updates. For managers with staff who do not use email regularly in their work, please ensure your team members have access to this information in print.

Regarding the employee survey, more than 600 people responded, which represents 76 per cent of our total full-time staff. Of the respondents, 89% have worked remotely during the pandemic, while the remainder have come onto campus for work one or more days per week.

On the last 15 months:

  • Nearly half of all respondents (47%) said their connectedness to the people they normally associate with at the university has not changed since they started working remotely.
  • Close to half of those who worked both remotely and on university premises (45%), however, said their connectedness has gotten worse over the past 15 months.
  • Length of time in current position had little impact on sense of connectedness.
  • Staff commented on several aspects of connectedness:
    • Social / mental health
    • Positive (n=61) – maintained strength of connection with colleagues, there was an active effort to maintain connectedness, some strengthened their relationships, and their mental health improved
    • Negative (n=67) – felt loss of connection, missed social benefits of informal encounters, ‘not the same’, missing co-workers, felt isolated, less connected to larger community
    • Communication
    • Positive (n=35) - improved access/ease/frequency of communication, easier to coordinate meetings and engage, more efficient communication
    • Negative (n=25) - missed work benefits of informal encounters, less efficient/effective communication, more difficult to access people, worsened relationships
    • Productivity
    • Positive (n=47) – limited impact/sufficient adaptations, productivity increases, improved meeting attendance, fewer distractions/interruptions
    • Negative (n=10) – onboarding virtually is more difficult, reduced productivity, collaboration is harder, too connected/ always on work

On the future of work:

  • Half of staff members (53%) believe that most, if not all, of their work can be completed remotely; of those who have been working on university premises only, 41% responded that work could be completed remotely on 1-2 days/week.
  • Staff in areas such as Finance, IT, Advancement, Student/Learner Services and HR reported the highest proportion of their work that could be completed remotely. Facilities, Research and Technical staff, not surprisingly, reported the lowest.
  • The majority of all respondents (68%) prefer to work remotely most of the week; 25% preferred 1-2 days remote; and 7% preferred no remote work.
  • Main factors for wanting to work remotely: not commuting, improved work-life balance, fewer interruptions; flexibility in hours.
  • What staff look forward to about returning to their regular workplace: seeing friends and colleagues; keeping work and personal life separate; easier collaboration with clients and colleagues; access to better physical resources.
  • The majority of staff members (73%) plan some return to pre-COVID activities but are still wary of some activities, such as crowded elevators and transit.

Thank you again for your participation in the survey. Your insights will be an important factor in decision-making ahead. If you have any questions about the survey or Temerty Medicine’s fall restart committee, you can contact me at je.robertson@utoronto.ca

Kind regards,
Jean

Jean Robertson
Human Resources Director
Temerty Faculty of Medicine & Dalla Lana School of Public Health