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Flexible work arrangements: A careful balance

Caitlin Azhderian, WorkLife Portfolio Manager, working remotely from her home in the Bay Area with her favorite office buddy.
Caitlin Azhderian, portfolio manager in the WorkLife Office, working remotely from the Bay Area with her favorite office buddy.

During the Campus Conversation on July 27, Vice President for Human Resources Elizabeth Zacharias joined senior leaders to discuss the current state of on-site work, the latest public health guidance and the future of flexible work. 

President Marc Tessier-Levine and Provost Persis Drell were joined by Zacharias as well as global health expert Yvonne “Bonnie” Maldonado, senior associate dean for faculty development and diversity from the School of Medicine.


Campus Conversation Recap


The heart of the conversation centered on preparation for our residential campus to host an active in-person fall quarter, with employees who have been working in-person throughout the pandemic being joined now by a growing number of colleagues who are returning to on-site work for the first time in more than a year. At the same time, as public health guidance continues to shift, the experience for anyone working on-site could continue to shift over time, too. (Stay up-to-date with related announcements on Health Alerts.)

So as schools and units experiment with flexible work arrangements, the university leaders reiterated the importance of carefully balancing the university, school or unit considerations, such as workplace culture and operational needs, with team and individual needs.

With fluctuating unknowns, open dialogue is key

Zacharias and the Provost each stressed that while we strive for equity in the process, outcomes may differ due to school or unit circumstances.

"As part of the process, managers will conduct role assessments with their school and unit operational needs in mind, have conversations with their employees about their personal circumstances and preferences, and identify opportunities to test and experiment with flexible work options during the summer and fall pilot period,” Zacharias said. “Managers will also ensure that work arrangements for academic and student-facing positions are structured to provide the in-person service that is needed and will try out these arrangements throughout the fall.” 

Zacharias is leading the university's Flexible Work Committee in re-imagining the way we work. Read more about their recommendations and process on the Flexible Work section of Cardinal at Work.


Resources for managing flexible work

In June and July, more than 750 managers participated in two Manager Forum sessions on flexible work. View the recorded sessions here

The Flexible Work Committee has created this Manager Playbook Addendum, which provides a step-by-step process guide and quick links to tools. The full Manager Playbook was published earlier this summer.

Our changing workplace, in pictures

Over the past 18 months, the world has changed and so has the way we work. Here’s a glimpse into our current work life, submitted by our Stanford colleagues, offering a snapshot of our changing workplace. 

View our current work life gallery


Working at Stanford