COVID-19 – remote working for faculty, staff, graduate students, post doctoral fellows, and student employees

If you are a manager of staff whose work is not computer-based, please print this email and display it in a common work area for them to review.

Further to Friday’s UBC Broadcast, I would like to inform you of the university’s measures to support faculty, staff, graduate students, post doctoral fellows, and student employees, working remotely.

As UBC continues to navigate our response to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and in support of social distancing protocols, we are beginning a three-week pilot of Remote Work Arrangements. The duration of the pilot will be reassessed based on new information about COVID-19 that would change the situation.

Starting this week, those faculty, staff, graduate students, post doctoral fellows, and student employees, who are able to work from home should do so, in conjunction with job appropriateness and in discussion with their manager, research lead, or principal investigator. For those unable to work remotely, they should come to their normal place of work.

As a reminder, the Public Health Agency of Canada continues to assess the risk as low for Canada. We also do not currently have any confirmed cases within our faculty, staff or student community.

However, it is important that we continue to put measures in place to support social distancing and help prevent the spread of illness. This is aligned with the guidance we are receiving from the Provincial Health Officer, BC Provincial Government.

Initial steps

A UBC Bulletin has been issued, advising managers and supervisors of this three-week pilot, and the need to explore ways to allow all employees to work remotely. The message asked that measures be put in place to allow as many employees as possible to do all (or part) of their work from home.

Telecommuting and VPN guidelines

UBC has telecommuting guidelines which you can access at In addition, IT has provided an online guide to working remotely at The guide outlines resources when working remotely including how to access emails and files, tools for virtual meetings, and security requirements.

Additional FAQs have been developed by HR to support this pilot. You can view them at As a reminder, please also visit for updates related to COVID-19 and UBC’s response.

We appreciate this pilot will require us all to explore and accommodate new ways of working. We also want to acknowledge that you may feel separated or even isolated when working from home, as you won’t have in-person interactions with your colleagues. We encourage you to explore creative ways to address these barriers within your unit or department. You are also reminded of resources available through UBC’s Employee & Family Assistance Program

Under these circumstances you have our commitment to fully support and provide campus services to students, faculty and staff, as best as we can. Thank you for helping UBC navigate this unprecedented scenario.

Marcia Buchholz
Interim Vice-President, Human Resources

This message was sent to faculty and staff in Vancouver and the Okanagan.

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