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Michigan Medicine

A Minute with Marschall

Viewing Our Workplace Through a New Lens

June 8th, 2021

Fiscal year 2022 is nearly upon us and it will require us to look at our workplace through a different kind of lens.

On Sept. 13, some groups within Michigan Medicine will return to on-site work full time, while others will continue to work remotely, either part or full time. We are still in the process of making those final decisions and plans on a department by department basis. 

As we begin to imagine ourselves on the other side of this pandemic, we know it won’t look and feel exactly like it does today, and it definitely won’t return to what our world was like before December 2019, when the first case of the coronavirus was reported.

The word of the day, and likely the year ahead of us, seems to be “hybrid.” When I look up that word, it is defined generically as “composed of mixed parts.” While this may sound simple, we are taking a very thoughtful, and at the same time, flexible, approach. This is why we established the Michigan Medicine Flexible First Workforce and Workplace initiative to help balance the needs of our organization with employee preferences.

We will hopefully cast off the worst of the pandemic in the coming months – the awkward distancing, the polarizing viewpoints, and rigid requirements for masking. Then, based on what we have learned, we will retain the best of it – the more efficient use of technology, gained productivity and reduced expenses from remote work, and a stronger sense of teamwork, knowing we get things done better together. 

We have an opportunity to shape our future work environment, while building an even stronger, more united team.

In addition, it is important to pause and consider how to best sustain a healthier work life balance for everyone. We have all been through a lot and we have to remind ourselves that we will need time to heal and restore ourselves. In truth, many of us may continue to experience a recovery period for some time after we no longer have COVID-19 positive patients.

Michigan Medicine and U-M have many resources available for your personal wellness. I urge everyone to take advantage of these great services. All related websites and materials can be found on this  Well-being webpage of the Path Forward website.

When I think back at all the extraordinary work we have achieved together throughout the pandemic, most of all I remember that it was your resilience and adaptability that got us through the toughest challenges. It is that kind of open-mindedness and willingness to adjust and adapt which will allow us to develop the best possible workplace solutions that will benefit all of Michigan Medicine.

So I invite all of you to look at our workplace through that new lens. Imagine how you can improve your work environment. How you can pause in your day for better work life balance. Now is the time to make a difference for yourself and your team.

June 16 addition to this blog:

First of all I want to say, since my blog first posted, the amount of responses I have received has been amazing. I appreciate your openness in sharing how you feel about our future work environment. I also enjoy reading how passionate you all are about your work, your teams and your workplace.  Please be patient as it will take me some time to get though all the comments and share my own responses.

In addition, I wanted everyone to be aware that since my posting, the Michigan Medicine Flexible First Workforce and Workplace Committee sent out a communication which shared a new SharePoint site in which they define four categories for employee workplace environments : onsite, hybrid, mobile and remote. The site also lists a tool that allows employees to ask a question, make a suggestion, and offer feedback.  Feel free to use these resources to inform yourselves on our Flexible First model for redefining our workplace of the future.  

What would you like to change about your work environment? Share your suggestions or comments in the discussion box below.

140 Comments

  • I have been pretty much on site most of the time, but do have some flexibility to work remotely, which has been very appreciated especially during bad weather. As important as work life balance is, I also believe team moral is something that needs to be noted as well and taken into account as leaders work the employees on their wants. For the many who love working at home, less travel, saving gas, their is probably one or two to that one, who has been on site for the entire time, and picking up things that just can’t be done when that person is working at home. As our clinics move up to more patients on site, that need with only grow. The input of the whole team should be valued and listened. I do have to say I have never been prouder to work for Michigan Medicine. An exceptional job has been done to keep employees informed daily, and to recognize them for their hard work and dedication. The generous time given to employees to use if needed for Covid was also very generous.

    • Erin, thank you for your comments. We do appreciate all you and your team has done and continues to do on site. We couldn’t do it without all of you. And I agree that need will continue to grow. I hope you remain a part of the team and help us in our mission to advance health to serve Michigan and the world.

  • I am an RN in a general surgery specialty. Most days I work with patients via phone or portal. I rarely see patients face to face. I love the opportunity to work from home and avoid all the extra time it takes to commute and park. It’s also easier to focus and speak with patients without distractions and background noise. On the days that I work on site, I appreciate the easier commute d/t less traffic and less frustration with parking because there are less employees on site fighting over parking spaces. I am really hoping that you continue to offer all of the employees (including nurses) the option to work from home when feasible.

    • I’m glad to hear that working from home part time has worked for you, and our patients. As you think about our future workplace environment, please share your preferences with your leaders. This will provide them with more information that can help them balance your team’s work preferences with the needs of our organization. You can also share your thoughts through the Flexible First website. Thank you for your comments.

  • Hello and Thank you for allowing me to work at home this past year. It was a bit challenging at first, but as the days went by things got easier. I enjoy
    working at home, I am happy and healthier. I save money on gas each week, and not driving my vehicle saves me on car insurance. I continue to get the work completed each day on time, no complaints from my supervisor since I have been home. I am much more relaxed, less stress. In the past, I had to get up two hours early, just to get ready for work(and I live 15 minutes away). I had to leave my house 1 hour before I started work, just to get parked, and catch the bus up to the hospital each day. Health wise, I have a condition where the cold affects my pain. Standing outside in the Fall/Winter cold temps waiting on a bus would make my pain level climb higher. It was nice to be in my warm house, and only get up 1 hour before I start work to get ready for work.
    Thank you –

    • Donna, I am glad you worked through your challenges and found a way to make your remote situation work for you. Our new hybrid environment does seem to have some great benefits, and less issues with parking and shorter waiting on the bus seem to be a few of those. Happy that those issues have been resolved for you. Thanks for your input.

  • After listening to the Town Hall there was one question in particular that caught my attention. “Will those who work remotely be given laptops and other work-related equipment, or a stipend for office supplies, furniture, internet costs, etc.?”
    I would just like to say that when you begin to think about stipends please remember those of us whose work does not allow us to work remotely have still been paying for gas to get to work. Still paying for parking, etc. While those that are working remotely have saved money by not using their gas, etc. As for office supplies, come on in and grab pens, paper, post it’s, anything else you may need. However I do understand a stipend for internet and personal cell phone usage. Please take all that in mind when making a decision about stipends. Thank you.

    • Thank you for your comments Mary. We recognize that this new flexible environment means that we have to look at the needs of each team or, even in some cases, each individual, on a case by case basis. What resources or stipends may be provided will be based on the needs of the organization and what tools might be necessary for employees to be productive within their own individual roles. To determine all of this will take time and we appreciate your patience and understanding. The senior leadership team and Human Resources are working on updating our workplace policies that should address some of the issues you raised.

  • I and a respiratory tech and work in the Sleep Clinic, I enjoy my work at home , I feel I am more productive and do not have a commute and save 2.5 hours per day. We will be starting back 1 day per week- next week for now. I would love to work from home full time.

    • We appreciate your flexibility, both as a full time remote worker during this pandemic, and now returning back for one day a week. As your team continues with this new hybrid model, please provide your feedback to your leaders on how it is working for you and share your preference for full time work. Sharing your input is the best way we can understand what works and what doesn’t as we move forward in this new environment. Overall, it can also be helpful if you share your thoughts through the Flexible First website.

  • I am in full support of a work from home program. As I have personally learned over the last 6 months how important such a program can be. I have been able to work from home to care for my husband, a long term covid victim. This program made the difference of him being in a long term care facility or home comfortable with family. Any employee can be put in this position at any moment for any type of family crisis. It has been a great comfort knowing that my supervisor and management team have been very supportive. It has been noted that my productivity numbers are high due to less interruptions in the work place setting. I would like to see a permanent program for employee’s who are in need of a work from home assistance program. Yes we would need proper documentation to support the need. Such a program would give employees a piece of mind that in a crisis they are not picking between their family member or their only income.

    • Thank you, Laura, for sharing your story. I am glad you received full support to work from home and appreciate how hard you worked to keep your productivity up for Michigan Medicine, while also continuing to support your family during this difficult time. You make a good case for a work from home program for those who need this special assistance. My best to your husband during his recovery.

  • Thank you for letting us work remote for the past year and a half and considering the Mobile and Hybrid for certain departments and positions. As someone who is immune compromised and lives in a home where my husband and mother in law are also immune compromised even though we are vaccinated it is still a little risky for us as well as we are still taking precautions.

    • Thanks, Anna, for sharing with us. Work at home can provide additional health benefits for many of us. Make sure your leaders are aware of your concerns, and you may also want to send a comment to the team on the Flexible First website.

  • As a therapist who works at the the main hospital in a short-term intensive outpatient mental health program at Michigan Medicine we switched to entirely virtual programming soon after the pandemic hit, I would of never imagined it a possibility to deliver care remotely. I was proved wrong. What I have experienced is that we are able to reach our patients very effectively, in addition to providing treatment to many acute patients that may have not ever had the opportunity to experience the Michigan Difference due to distance, severity of symptoms such as social anxiety, agoraphobia, severe depression, etc. and the overwhelmingness of navigating a large medical facility. We have not missed a beat. That being said there still is a place for treatment in the medical setting as some of our patients are better able to focus on their treatment outside of their immediate environments. I would love to see this virtual program added and continued in addition to the medical setting as an expansion of the service offered by Michigan Medicine to meet more of our patients needs. From a personal stance I have thoroughly enjoyed working from home as I do not miss the 2.5 hour daily commute, being shuttled, and over crowded parking situation. I feel a much better work/life balance, reduced stress, and it’s definitely been better on the pocketbook and for the environment with less cars emitting carbon dioxide. I truly feel that working the hybrid way will allow us to provide even more options and care to a much wider and important base of individuals who need treatment and otherwise may not receive it. I hope this continues to be a long term option and that I can continue to deliver virtual care that is so needed in the Mental Health Service sector.

    • This is a great success story. I agree that this sounds like a program that could provide additional access to care for some of our patients. I appreciate that you are sharing this, not only as your work/life preference, but also as a caring option for your patients. Continue to share your insights with your leaders as we plan for our future workplace.

  • Never would I have imagined, that in the midst of a pandemic, I would’ve been able to find a better work-life balance for myself, but did! Due to the social distancing rule, we needed to spread out many of us sitting to close to each other in office spaces. Some worked remote every day while others like myself, alternated days 2-3 days/wk in the office and 2-3 days remote and there were others who worked FT in the office.
    Being able to alternate WR & the office a few days a week has had many benefits, with less people in the office there’s less distraction, interruptions are minimal, and the quietness it provides, so you can focus on patient care; it’s a lot less stressful, less anxiety because of struggling to get your work completed; less mistakes and OT is minimal, also being able to complete the work in a 8 hr timeframe is an added bonus.
    I’ve appreciated the opportunity, COVID forced, to WR part-time, its given back to me the job I loved and the positive outlook on the work I do and the patients I enjoy caring for, so hopefully our leaders will be able to find a balance for all of us so that everyone can be happy and enjoy the work they do in providing and caring for our patients.
    Thank you for the consideration in continued hybrid work. I believe its beneficial to the University as well as its employees.

    • This is exciting to hear. I appreciate that patient care, and teamwork has been the driving force behind your team’s decisions on how you have planned your hybrid work model. I hope it continues well for all of you in the future. Continue to let your leaders know how you feel about the arrangement and you may also want to share your story on the Flexible First website.

  • I am a Financial Counselor with the Transplant Specialty Pharmacy. Our team has been strictly working from home since March 2020. Prior to that we had started a hybrid rotation. It has been interesting to see just how much better the complete work from home has been for our team. It’s a smoother workflow and has increased production, efficiency, job satisfaction, and team unity. We have all come closer together as a team and really helped each other out with a better outcome for our patients. We have all expressed wanting to be remote permanently and I hope our voices were heard because we have never been happier in our work and our personal lives with the reduced stress from not having to commute and the extra time that provides us for our family and personal lives. Thank you for allowing it so far, praying it continues!

    • Catherine, I am happy to hear that this arrangement has worked out so well for your team. It sounds like you have let your leaders know how you all feel and this should be helpful to them as you all plan for your future work arrangements.

  • The shift to a hybrid/remote work environment has been one positive change to come from this whole experience. I have a physical disability and am unable to drive or work full time. I work for the Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation department and prior to the pandemic worked remotely most of the time. I’d come in about once per week for our staff meetings but otherwise could do all of my work remotely as an accommodation. This was critical for my ability to work effectively and efficiently because of my transportation limitations and pain/fatigue issues. I’ve been fortunate to have the support of my supervisor and department to successfully work that way but there was always a bit of a divide between those who worked in the office full time vs those who didn’t. Now, working from home is the norm for our team and I think it’s improved our communication. I also don’t feel “weird” asking for a Zoom link for a meeting; now it’s just standard! I really hope that these positive changes to how things are done continue as the “new normal”. P.S. I’m always happy to talk with leadership about my experience as an employee with a disability, feel free to reach out anytime!

    • Rebecca, thanks for your insights on how this new way of working has changed everyone’s perceptions about those who previously worked from home. This is probably something many of us never considered before. I’m glad this has made everything more comfortable for you, and most likely, for your team, as well. Thank you, also, for your offer to share your story with others in the future.

  • I have been working from home for 2 years now and it was the best thing that has ever happened to me. I love being home and am able to be more productive without the distractions of working in a busy office. Not having to get ready and drive to the office has decreased a great deal of stress. I think that the key for our team is the daily Morning Huddle that we do at 8 am. This gives us a chance to discuss problems, assign tasks and know what everyone is working on that day. Skype is a great way to ask questions and get immediate help with issues. The only downside is that I miss the socialization I had at the office.

    • Thanks, Sue. I agree that one disadvantage has been missing our co-workers at the office. It is great that you all connect in the morning, and seem to get so much done throughout the day. Thank you for your efforts, and for sharing this information with us.

  • I recently left a busy direct patient care department to work off site. I do a lot of phone triage and patient education on the phone. My 4 co-workers and I rotate having 1 of us on site in our office and the rest working remote. This has greatly enhanced our production efficiency (less distractions at home), quieter workspace (not having 5 people in a small space) and has improved our job satisfaction related to work/life balance.

    We work well as a team utilizing the technology available to us (zoom, skype, email) in order to collaborate and provide excellent patient care.

    For me personally, working remote gives me more personal time by eliminating my commutes. I am able to alleviate needs for childcare when my kids have been schooling remotely.

    I really hope the institution is able to support options for continuing WFH models!

    • Thank you for sharing your story. We are looking at all models as options so everyone’s opinions are helpful. You should also share this information with your leaders, and provide your feedback to the Flexible First website.

  • I’m a nurse that works exclusively with patients over the phone in post acute care. Myself and coworkers are taking turns working on site and remotely. There is always a nurse available for any on site needs such as faxing, printing etc. When working remotely, all can be reached by skype and work cell phones at all times. Since working remotely I have realized many benefits. First and foremost, there are fewer distractions and interruptions. On site there are multiple nurses in a small area talking with patients at the same time. It is very difficult to concentrate and have a conversation with your own patient. This is crucial when trying to get accurate details, assess the patient and triage properly. Often we have to wait for a coworker to finish their conversation in order to call our patients. Also there is the usual socializing amongst staff that distracted. I’ve found that I’m much more focused and productive when working at home or when working on site without other staff nearby. In hindsight, I would find it very difficult and extremely unsatisfying to return to pre-pandemic work arrangements.

    • Thank you for your feedback. It does sound like your type of work is well suited for work at home arrangements. I would make sure your leaders have heard your concerns, and you may want to also share your story on the Flexible First website, as they may be able to assist as well.

  • My recommendation is to consider equipping remote workers with IT equipment packages comparable to on-site IT packages.

    Prior to the pandemic, workers voluntarily requesting to work remotely incurred an obligation to equip and ensure a productive home office. In contrast, some employees were issued laptops and directed to work remotely due to COVID-19. Whereas voluntary remote workers incurred the obligation to equip, the same is not true for the COVID-19 forced remote workforce.

    Although laptops are great, cost-effective, mobile options for quickly transitioning to remote work, they are not suitable as long-term devices for multi-document viewing or complex work. Quite simply, the small screen size hinders effective viewing and work. Consider offering an augmented IT package for remote workers that includes a laptop, laptop dock, full size keyboard, mouse and several monitors. This augmented package will closely replicate on-site, desktop, IT equipment, thereby elevating remote worker productivity to levels of on-site workers.

    • Thank you for your suggestion, Damien. We will be considering more options for technology for remote workers. As workforce strategies emerge over the coming weeks and months, HITS will evaluate work-related equipment needs and will continue to update the HITS Tech Guide to Working Remotely. Leadership also is currently evaluating financial support for employees for their remote-work activities. Thank you for your patience with this.

  • I am so thankful for the opportunity I have been given to work from home since the pandemic started. I have 2 young children and the extra time I have gotten with them is priceless. I have a much better work/life balance. I have always loved my job but as a working mom, being gone for 13+ hours a day, I have always struggled with the time away from my kids (to the point I’ve strongly considered a different career that allows me more time at home with home). I have found working remotely to be the perfect balance. I am so much happier with significantly less stress in my life. I find myself being more productive at home and with fewer distractions. I regularly put in extra hours and don’t mind doing so because of the flexibility and the extra time I have each day without the commute. I have also found working from home has made getting to appointments/sporting events so much easier and has reduced my time away from work. While I have loved working remotely full-time, I think a hybrid model is a good approach and am appreciative for the opportunity and flexibility. Thank you.

    • Thanks for your input on both working from home full time and your option to go part time in the future. Flexibility will be the key as we look to the future and I would make sure you let your leaders know what your preference as we begin to make these decisions.

  • The ability to work from home does have its benefits. The best is a good work/life balance.
    Parking not a major problem. The ability to attend more meetings without physically going to them. Ability to talk to more patients because not having to leave desk for clinics. The providers very capable of seeing their patients without a nurse at their side. This gives nurses more time with patients on the phone. The bottom line…we are more productive.

    Disadvantage is being detached from our colleagues … no comradery.

    • Mable, you do bring up some good points here. It sounds like you appreciate working from home, but miss the interaction with your teammates. This sounds like a good argument for hybrid – a little of both for your type of work. You will want to keep that in mind and also discuss it with your leaders as we continue to consider what our future workplace environment will look like. Thank you for your feedback.

  • I would like to continue working remotely and only come to campus for meetings if necessary. I have had several health issues during this past year (luckily nothing serious) but with the flexibility of working varying hours and days from home, my work was not greatly impacted. Additionally, my Mother suffered a mild stroke last week. If I had not been home working, she would have had a much more dire outcome. As it is, I was able to get her to the ED in time to receive TPA and she has made a 98% recovery. Other items that working from home have provided for me are – saving money on parking, gas, and wear and tear on my car. I’ve also been able to work a more “normal” schedule instead of getting up at 4:30 am to make a 45 drive in just so I can have a place to park. This normally meant that I was at my desk at 6:30 am or so. If I was in the office, I would then have another 45 minute commute home and I rarely left the office before 5:00 pm because others were counting on me being there for a “regular” day. I do miss the interaction with coworkers but I definitely feel that working from home is a better option for me. I also don’t print so much so I’m saving trees!

    • I’m so glad to hear that you and your mother are recovering so well. That WFH had an impact on that is a considerable benefit! Not to mention saving trees! I appreciate your feedback, and all you do to support our Michigan Medicine team.

  • I think we have seen some of the great benefits of work from home and flexible work environments. As a clinic manager, I have had employees work from home with great success and results. These options help employees achieve better work-life balance. Moving forward I would like to see some option to work from home continue. It relives some pressure on clinic space/offices as well!

    • I am glad your team has worked well under the hybrid model, Amy. Regarding future plans, make sure your leadership is aware of your preferences. In addition, you might also want to share this via the Michigan Medicine Flexible First Workforce and Workplace website, https://umhealth.sharepoint.com/sites/MMFlexFirst, using the button in the upper-right corner of the front page. Thank you for your comments.

  • I personally like the hybrid model of working part time at home and part time in the office when able. On days that I have a lot to get accomplished, I tend to work from home because there are less interruptions.

  • Establishing the Michigan Medicine Flexible First Workforce and Workplace initiative to help balance the needs of our organization is a great start! To say the least, COVID has been very traumatic for everyone but on a positive note, the ongoing parking issues for both employees and patients vanished during this time. For those of us that did not work remotely, we were not burdened with reporting to work super early just to get a parking space! I am hopeful a hybrid model will alleviate the parking problem especially for our patients! I joined UOM about 4 years ago and my colleagues warned me “it’s a great place if you can find a place to park!” Thank you for your outstanding job leading the organization and providing a sense of security for all during this emergent event.
    Respectfully submitted.

    • Thank you, Kathy, for your kind thoughts. We appreciate your optimistic outlook and all you do to make a difference for our patients, their families and for each other.

  • Cheryl Willcocks

    I’ve been working from home since March of 2020. Thanks to Zoom and other video applications, I have not lost touch with my team, my department or others. In fact, I am seeing more participation in meetings as there is not the burden of driving to, parking for and finding the room for the meeting. This saves valuable time and effort which in turn leaves more time for productivity.
    I very much appreciate the savings from not having to make the drive in. This saves me money on gas, wear and tear on my vehicle and again time used and replaced with actual work. I believe working from home should be the norm (if the position allows) and in-person meetings on occasion.
    I believe working from home has kept me healthier as well. I am not exposed to others in the office who often would come in sick to save PTO time. I am not at the “water cooler” touching the area that has been touched by so many others. I will be grateful when the flu season comes and I will not have to be exposed to everyone.
    Thank you for letting me voice my opinion. This is greatly appreciated.

    • Thank you Cheryl. You make a lot of good points. Where possible, work from home makes a lot of sense. Glad it is working for you.

  • Hello,

    I have enjoyed being able to work from home and feel I have actually been more productive. I really hope that Administrative Assistants will be able to continue to work remotely either full-time or with a hybrid schedule.

    Thank you!

    • Thank you, Michelle, for providing your input. It’s good to hear you are happy with your arrangement. For the future, I would make sure you make your preferences known to your leaders. You can also share this information through the Michigan Medicine Flexible First Workforce and Workplace website, https://umhealth.sharepoint.com/sites/MMFlexFirst.

  • Working from home over this last year has been beneficial on many levels. First off, my department has saved a lot of money. This is evident by the supplies that I have been providing for myself, including paper, printer cartridges, electricity, the use of my own phone, etc. On a personal level, I’ve been much happier working from home. The flexibility it offers from not having to commute within itself is fantastic. Not to mention the money that I’m saving for gas makes it feel as though I got a raise; even in a year where one wasn’t offered. The benefits are obvious, and the best part is that I’m just as productive as I was before. My colleagues and I have found new ways to communicate that are just as constructive as they were when we worked side-by-side. I am hopeful that my leadership sees this for what it is and allows remote work to be a possibility after September.

  • For the sake of hybrid team engagement, I’d like to see Zoom become a standard offering for all meetings going forward.

    • I agree, Julianne, Zoom has been extremely helpful for many of us, but it is not the only resource available that can help us stay connected remotely. It will be important for teams to use all available resources to remain productive. I would suggest you work together with your leader to consider the specific needs for your team to determine the best ways to conduct your meetings.

  • I have been working a hybrid schedule since the end of last September and I am very happy with it. I work 4-10’s (2 at hospital & 2 from home) I have a 1 hour commute and with the stress of parking, I have been less stressed & gotten more sleep. I feel way more productive… not to mention the cost savings of gas & parking fees. I feel I have been a happier employee even though I LOVE my job (always have). I would like to continue some sort of hybrid situation after things open up if allowed.

    • Thank you for your input on your hybrid arrangement, Cindy. I appreciate how much you LOVE your job here at Michigan Medicine. Make sure your preferences are known to your leaders. You can also share this information via the Michigan Medicine Flexible First Workforce and Workplace website, https://umhealth.sharepoint.com/sites/MMFlexFirst, using the button in the upper-right corner of the front page.

  • I would like the opportunity to work 4-10 hour days or job share. Hard being full time mom with 4 kids at home and full time employee here. Need my job to survive, just wish my position offered a little more flexibility.

    • Thank you for your feedback, Stephanie. Joggling work/life balance can be tough. You should discuss this flexibility arrangement with your supervisor. Another option is to share this via the Michigan Medicine Flexible First Workforce and Workplace website, https://umhealth.sharepoint.com/sites/MMFlexFirst, using the button in the upper-right corner of the front page. The team will attempt to answer your question, or route it to the appropriate party.

  • Carolyn Patterfritz

    During the pandemic with staff working from home I have notice that the office is peaceful and quiet. There seems to be a lot less coming and going. I am not one that has worked from home so I can notice the small things that have become to be easier at the office. One is that I can find a parking spot. Another is that you don’t wait in line at the copy machine.

    • Carolyn, you hit on two things that have been a pain point for a lot of people over the years – parking and waiting! We are hoping this new hybrid environment will ease up some of these concerns, and it sounds like it has for you already.

  • Mostly work in person, Hybrid option occasionally. In person meetings, with zoom only as an absolute alternative, like for people not on campus or very large groups. Zoom meetings are often used to complete work while appearing to listen. Multi-tasking at that level has been proven ineffective.

    • Thank you, Aaryn, for sharing your thoughts. While Zoom meetings and at home or hybrid arrangements seems to work well for many, it sounds like you prefer to work on site and in person, with some flexible options. We appreciate you sharing your perspective with us. Let your preferences known to your leadership as well as we continue to develop our work environment for the future.

  • I would like to see Homemed not use papercharts anymore and be 100% electronic. Many Homemed staff were not able to work from home, even during the peak of COVID, due to clinicians still having to use papercharts and needed to be on site to access complete patient records. If Homemed electronic system can be updated it would allow many clinicians to do their job just as efficiently remotely, and would only require minimal on-site staff which would help with parking, office space, and social distancing. I would be interested in this hybrid model to have some flexibility to remote/on-site or have option to choose one or the other way. Thank you.

    • Thank you for your feedback, Sumaiva. This sounds like an interesting suggestion you should raise with your leadership. In addition, you might also want to share this via the Michigan Medicine Flexible First Workforce and Workplace website, https://umhealth.sharepoint.com/sites/MMFlexFirst, using the button in the upper-right corner of the front page. The team will attempt to answer your question, or route it to the appropriate party.

  • The way I would improve my work environment would be to be able to take a lunch break. This has not been possible since WFH. There is no pausing for better work-life balance. Schedules are booked solid, and there are crises to fit in on top of that. In addition, any extra work meetings such as diversity/inclusion training are scheduled on our lunch break as that is the only slot in our day we are not scheduled with clients. We can, of course, eat lunch at the computer with our screens off, but in my opinion such topics deserve attention and participation and that is done best by being able to view each other on zoom-and who wants to eat on zoom! We often work late to get the work done-which so many of us have but we need to be able to get up and move. This is what I would like to change about my work environment and think I could contribute better to my team this way.

    • Donna, I agree with you. Zoom, and other programs, represent great technology that have allowed us to stay connected and work together during the pandemic. However, sometimes we can have too much of a good thing. I, for one, feel like I have become a “Zoom Zoombie.” I encourage you to carve out time for breaks, at lunch and throughout the day, to avoid burnout. My team has also tried to end meetings 5-10 minutes early, so there are times for breaks before taking the next Zoom call. There are other suggestions on how to reduce stress and burnout related to meetings and emails in this tool kit. In addition, you may want to share this article on Zoom Fatigue I hope this information is helpful.

  • I love the flexibility of pausing my workday to be available for my children, their needs, school needs, and personal needs.

    I love the availability of being able to meet new and expand my MCommunity with the use of Zoom, the ability to attend meetings from all over the University community, departments, affiliations, and workgroups. The pandemic requirement of Zoom allowed me to close the large physical and structural environment gaps between the medical campus, academic campus, research campus, and north campus.

    We have been able to strengthen our affinity groups, dig deeper into the strategic goals of diversity, equity and inclusion because we have a larger MCommunity base of learners, researchers, and workers.
    We are actually ALL ONE now in our new Zoom reality–this has allowed greater collaboration, combined purpose, real work completed, and true networking & exposure! These are great takeaways from the pandemic.

    We have decided that space and place are no longer barriers and we are better for it.

    We can incorporate opportunities to meet, and continue to use Zoom for access for those who can not.

    The flexibility of the work being completed at a certain time and in a certain way has changed and we are better for that as well.

    now to make this new reality better…we need more support on workspace development in our homes so that people can continue productivity without it being done in a ‘makeshift” environment.

    Thank you for the opportunity to share our opinion.

    • Dana, Thanks for your insights on how you have made technology work well for your work environment and your team and larger work community! I agree we can make this even better as we settle in and find out how to best support our at home and hybrid communities. As workforce strategies emerge over the coming weeks and months, HITS will evaluate work-related equipment needs and will continue to update the HITS Tech Guide to Working Remotely. Leadership also is currently evaluating financial support for employees for their remote-work activities. Jointly I believe we will determine a great solution for our teams.

  • I have only been working at Michigan Medicine for 3-4 months, but in my time being fully submersed in the environment I have some of what does and what doesn’t work. For one, I know that not only do people prefer to work at home if they can do their work from there, but their work-life balance thrives. For some people like me who have to come in, there is a lot of time preparing for work, driving, meal prepping, and so on that take a lot of extra time out of our day. If people can work from home then they should. I do think, however, that there should be an option for people to choose if they want to come in every now and again. Speaking from my father who has been working from home the entire pandemic, he has been happier, spent less money on travel, and been more productive. Now, this is my first job and I’m happy to put in my time to gai experience, but when I start applying for administrative positions, I will absolutely be looking for postings that will be offering hybrid/fully remote positions. As far as my current position, unfortunately there isn’t much I would change as we are needed to be in person for the most part.

    • First of all, Noah, welcome to Michigan Medicine. Second, I appreciate how you can look at both sides of the issue and your willingness to understand our need to have you on the front line in your current position. I like your insights and you may also want to share your thoughts with the Michigan Medicine Flexible First Workforce team via their Workplace website, (https://umhealth.sharepoint.com/sites/MMFlexFirst). Thanks for visiting my blog.

  • My department has offered 10-hour shifts for anyone interested to reduce the number of staff on site. I tried it out for a few weeks, but it did not work for me and my family. I was under the impression everyone would return to the normal 8-hour shift in September, but it sounds like the 10-hour shift is going to remain permanent. My concern is that this shift does not provide staff for when we truly need them and it has caused us to be chronically short-staffed because of the 10-hour shift’s day off every week. Having staff start at 7 AM is inefficient and a poor use of staff. From a financial standpoint, staff are being paid to “do nothing” as previous staff members have said this to me before. Our busy hours are between 10 AM and 3:30 PM. I think it would be beneficial for management to look at stats and workflow to determine the shift times.

    • Thank you for your feedback, Sarah. It sounds like you have a unique situation there and it may require your leadership team to analyze the benefits and the risks associated with the 10 hour shift vs. other options. I would suggest you make that recommendation further up your department’s chain of command. If you need assistance, you can contact your HR business partner. Since this also relates to our consideration of the new future workplace environment, you can also share this via the Michigan Medicine Flexible First Workforce and Workplace website, https://umhealth.sharepoint.com/sites/MMFlexFirst, using the button in the upper-right corner of the front page. The team will attempt to answer your question, or route it to the appropriate party.

  • I found that I worked harder and more efficiently when I work remotely. I sense that work/life balance is more balanced. There are no distractions and I feel more productive. Despite living in a pandemic, I believe there is an overall increase in the love for your ‘job’ and I think that employee morale is more positive and happier — this in turn boosts productivity and inspires people to work even harder. I would love to continue to work remotely. With more staff working from home this must save on costs in utilities, paper products, maybe a lesser need for desk top computers, less of a need to by office supplies, utilizing office space more productively, possibly a lesser need for parking spaces, and probably there are even more money saving areas. Living this this pandemic, seeing that remote working is possible and it works, it’s more efficient, produces happier employees, which creates a happier place to work…. all of this positivity is contagious and is felt by our patients too. What an amazing quality of care that is passed on from our employers, to their employees, and from there to our patients…. which is the heart of why we do what we do. I sincerely hope that this opportunity of working remotely will continue in the areas where it has been proven that it works and can continue through the years to come. It benefits everyone, savings for the health system, satisfaction for the employees, and happier patients because they feel truly cared for. I love our motto, “Patients and Families First”. Of course our patients are always first, but we are all family here at Michigan Medicine, no matter where we work, or what department we are in, we are connected. Families that work well together will stay together and I really feel that allowing remote work from home more employees will want to continue to work for the MM Health System. Thank you so much for your time and having an listening ear. I appreciate it. Extending my thanks to all.
    🙂

    • Jenny, I found your optimism and caring spirit very inspiring. It is so nice to hear that working from home has provided you with so much positive work/life balance. I also hope that it will continue to work well where we see it benefits others, especially our patients. I appreciate your words, “Our patients are always first, but we are all family here at Michigan Medicine, no matter where we work, or what department we are in, we are connected.” You ended with a thank you for listening. I thank you for sharing these kind words.

  • I currently am in a nursing position that is a hybrid of WFH and working in our office. I enjoy the flexibility of being able to do both. I find I am much more efficient when WFH without the various office interruptions of other conversations, phones ringing, etc. I have upper elementary aged children and when I am WFH I am able to be home to have a lunch break with them and alleviate the need for a childcare provider. When either WFH or in the office, my colleagues and I are able to effectively communicate via skype/phone calls. We are able to bounce ideas off one another and still work as a team using the technology available to us.

    • Thank you for your insights on both your work from home and onsite arrangements. I hope it continues to work out well for you and your team.

  • I am so greatful for the opportunity to work remotely. I work in Patient Relations and Clinical Risk – doing data entry and claims monitoring and have been able to do my entire job remotely for the past 15 months. I live in Toledo, Ohio and my commute is approximately 58 minutes each way. Pre-COVID I worked 4 ten hour days – driving to AA 3 days a week (working remotely for 1 day), leaving at 4:45 am – to arrive by 5:45 to find parking in the P3 parking structure. My office was in the Med Inn building and I worked in an office entirely by myself. Our Director’s office was across the hall as was one of our Clinical Team Administrators. The majority of our office worked in the North Ingalls Building. I would see our team a couple times a month during meetings where everyone was present. We are currently doing these meetings via Zoom, so I am able to see everyone at that time. Also, I seem to video chat with my co-works quite often to answer questions or strategize about our claims. I feel that continuing to work from home would be the best option for me. In the past year I have lost 25 pounds! I’ve been able to accomplish this with taking breaks through out the day – getting outside and walking – as well as fixing better, nutritional meals for myself. I sleep better and do not have to put in the long hours in my commute. I’m home earlier in the evenings (since I don’t commute) and am able to spend more time with my family. I feel working remotely has greatly improved my life and I am hoping to continue with this arrangement.

    • Kelly, congratulations on your heathier lifestyle! That was a long commute and I’m happy to hear that you are able to remain productive, while staying in touch with your co-workers, under your new work at home situation.

  • Alison Skellenger

    I would like to see a hybrid schedule with some remote work and some onsite for the week on the days my doctor has clinic. I do not think it is appropriate for us to be 100% remote and enjoy seeing patient’s face to face but not having to commute and worry about parking has helped decrease stress for me and allows me to have more time at home with my family.

    • Allison, I appreciate how you are looking at both perspectives when considering this issue. I also appreciate the concern you show for your patients. Thanks for your feedback and all you do for Michigan Medicine. Let your leaders and the Michigan Medicine Flexible First Workforce team know how you feel about the hybrid model (Workplace website, https://umhealth.sharepoint.com/sites/MMFlexFirst)

  • Debbie Courtney

    Being a part of the clerical resource pool at Michigan Medicine, I would absolutely love to work in a hybrid model. Having the opportunity to work remotely when my work assignment is at a call center, and also being able to work on-site at the ambulatory care clinics would be the best of both worlds! I love variety and learning all of the various areas of ambulatory care. I feel like hybrid floats would be the way to go for work efficiency, reduced expenses and employee retention.

    • I like that idea, Debbie. You may want to share your idea of a clerical resource pool using hybrid floats with your leaders as well as through the Michigan Medicine Flexible First Workforce and Workplace website, https://umhealth.sharepoint.com/sites/MMFlexFirst, using the button in the upper-right corner of the front page. The team will respond, or route it to the appropriate party. Thanks for sharing your feedback!

  • Michelle Ellsworth

    As a triage nurse at Briarwood 2, the hybrid model has been working extremely well for us. It allows for a quieter environment when talking with patients (less background noise), so that they can actually hear the conversation. The decreased number of staff being in our enclosed space has helped to decrease the spread of illness and decreased call ins. Staff satisfaction is much higher. When I compare the pros and cons, the positive benefits of a hybrid model outweighs the cons. I would like to see this being a permanent employee option or model for our clinic to continue as long as clinic needs are met though this model. I do find this is at least one positive change for nursing in our clinic that has come out of all the changes made as the result of the pandemic.

    • Marschall Runge

      Thank you Michelle, for your input. It is good to know this has been beneficial to you and patients as well. Please let your leaders know how you feel about this.

  • I am an outpatient nurse who job is solely telephone triage. Working from home has been such a blessing for the past year. Not only has it kept me safe, it has dramatically increased my job satisfaction. Eliminating my commute and parking has given me 2.5 extra hours each day. I am a working mom with 2 young kids. This extra time has been priceless.

    Please consider making working from home, for those whose job allows, a permanent change.

    • Marschall Runge

      I’m happy to hear work from home has been beneficial for you. Make sure you share your preferences with your department leader.

  • The pandemic not only was it catastrophic for the millions of lives we lost due to COVID-19 but the impact on mental health. Before the Pandemic I would say my mental health was so-so afterwards it took a deep nose dive and flat lined. With little to no resources due to the lack of mental health professionals available due to limited availability or accepting new patients. I had to find a way to positively channel my new life, mindfulness, yoga, and the ability to due hybrid work so that I don’t have to stress about lack of child care, loss of income, etc became my way of finding balance in work and life and it ultimately led me to feel better. In return helped my performance at work and home. So I believe this new journey and this new lens of work life/ family dynamic is a long time OVERDUE. Go Michigan!

    • Alana, I am sorry to hear about the challenges you have been through. I’m glad you have found a positive way forward, and a good work life balance on your own. While they may not solve all challenges, we do offer some mental health resources on this well-being page. Take care and thank you for your contributions to the organization.

  • The hybrid model of working remotely and being on site gives me work life balance. As a nurse leader working remotely gives me the space to dig deeper into understanding and maintaining implementation processes. Trying to do this deep work in a busy clinical setting with many interruptions distracts from detail work that in the long run will improve patient care. The hybrid model also allows me to flex my schedule to meet off shift needs. Working remotely allows gives me more time ( 2 hours) that I can contribute to my well being.

    • Marschall Runge

      Tonie, you have listed a lot of good points here for work at home leadership. Thanks for your input.

  • Working from home has allowed me to have a great work life balance. It has decreased call offs in the winter due to the snow and bad weather conditions. With schools being virtual and up in the air about everything. It has allowed me to keep my daughter home from school when sick and not have to miss work. I am able to focus more and not have the interruptions and distractions of multiple people talking in the background while working in a call center. I am able to complete my job 100% and have not had any issues when reaching out for help. I truly enjoy working from home and makes my job a little bit easier and less stressful being able to focus better.

    Thank you,
    Beth

  • We entered the work place in March, with a team of 5 each member takes one day a week. To keep track of the need, each member documents the foot traffic for the day they work, this is done because our area is considered a customer service area. We did this for a couple of reasons 1) to see if we needed to increase employee presence based on need and 2) to see if our area could work efficiently in hybrid model. Over the past 3 months on any given day our customer base never exceeded 3 which documents that we can meet the needs of our customer base while allowing staff to continue to work remotely.

    With all of the enhancements made to our systems to allow for remote working, I believe that our area can continue to work as efficiently as it has over the past 15 months which we have documented. We have for 2 seasons now, run our resident recruitment, credentialing, scheduling and orientation successfully under the constraints of COVID and many staff member would like to continue on with this model.

    We are certainly open to increasing office staff presence for all activities that warrants more of a presence but would like our administration to consider our reasoning.

    Allowing us to do so will provide for a better work/life balance while increasing work productivity, reducing stress (parking, traffic), money saved (both employer and employee), lower stress, happier home life, and time recovered.

    This will also allow us to maintain our competitiveness in the workplace by maintaining employee satisfaction to keep them from looking at other jobs within the University that pay the same but they can work remotely.

    I believe that Michigan Medicine is forward thinking and I hope it allows for it’s employees to have a voice in this return to work process.

    • Marschall Runge

      Janice, I appreciate all the work that went into your analysis of your work situation. You obviously had your customers in mind when you considered your work arrangements. You have made a solid case for your current hybrid model for your team.

  • Thank you for looking at a hybrid or entirely remote model for work at Michigan Medicine. Allowing support and flexibility for staff improves work-life balance. Because I do not have to take time to get as ready for work, commute, park, etc., I actually find that I work more hours in a day when I work remotely. I have less interruptions in a remote setting and end my day feeling more accomplished. When I do commute to work, parking has been easier as well. I am still able to monitor and track my employees’ work when completed remotely and ensure that we are still meeting standards.This has been a welcomed change to our work at Michigan Medicine, and while not applicable to every discipline of course, this model better aligns us with other organizations and systems, both in and out of health care. Thank you for your time.

    • Marschall Runge

      Thank you for your feedback. I am glad this flexible arrangement has worked out for your team so well.

  • I thoroughly enjoy working the hybrid way as a clinic nurse in the cancer center. It allows me to have more of a work/home balance which relieves tons of stress and anxiety for me. Parking has been an extreme issue with working on site and has not been much of an issue since the COVID pandemic. This has been a tremendous relief.
    I truly also feel that working the hybrid way still allows us to still provide the best care to patients and has not interfered by no means. I hope this continues to be a long term option for us.

    • Marschall Runge

      Great to hear that this is working out for you, Mekeia. Please let your thoughts be known to your leaders.

  • Rebecca L Tagett

    I live in Detroit and I am very happy to be working 100% from home because of the commute and parking difficulties. However, sometimes I’d like to escape the home and hunker down in a more isolated studious environment with AC. I called the UM Detroit campus, but they are offering study space only to students at this time. I plan to look into other options, such as libraries, but I wanted to request some help getting a desk at the Detroit campus, if there is room.

    • Rebecca, it sounds like you are thinking of some very innovative ways of working. I would suggest you not only talk with your leadership about your suggestions, but also submit your questions to The Michigan Medicine Flexible First Workforce and Workplace website, https://umhealth.sharepoint.com/sites/MMFlexFirst. It contains a button in the upper-right corner of the front page to ask a question or make a suggestion.

  • It is important for the research mission to have everyone back working in their offices – including students, staff and faculty. We need more clarity on when the research labs/offices will open up further to allow more effective interactions and research training. We should move faster to open things up based on CDC and State of Michigan guidelines.

    • The Michigan Medicine Office of Research is working with U-M Office of Research to make major changes; we believe that in the near future, those who work in our research facilities (not clinical facilities) will not be required to wear a mask or practice social distancing.

      Those not immunized in our research facilities will need to adhere to wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. This movement would put us in lock step with the state’s policy.

  • I am happy to see Michigan Medicine explore moving forward past the pandemic. As for remote work vs in person work; there are benefits to both. I personally choose to come into the office because I like to separate home from work. However, I can see why remote is popular. It saves the staff transportation money, saves time by not having to commute.
    One downfall of remote work is it makes it harder to collaborate and build much needed relationships with your team. I respect those who do wish to work from home however.

    • Marschall Runge

      Tom, I appreciate the respect you are showing for those who don’t share the same opinion as you. It is honorable that you can see and appreciate both sides of this issue.

  • David McClintock

    I believe that the key word here is flexibility. I know for the teams I am a part of, we have all expressed support for everyone to have the flexibility of working from home or working from the office when needed. We see where there are deficiencies with everyone working from home (personal connections, team building, quick resolution of issues), but also recognize the benefits of being able to better accommodate everyone’s schedules and working style (kids/loved ones being sick/needing help, schools schedules changing, partner’s work schedules changing, better quality of life with shorter commutes). Given the change that has happened, we fully support a hybrid approach to allow our teams to best meet the evolving needs of both their work and home environments.

    We envision a workplace where teams have robust communication tools (MS365 with Teams, Sharepoint, etc.), but also have scheduled in person team-building exercises, touchpoints/huddles, and check-ins. We would like to see more support and acceptance of quick and informal means of communication with less reliance on email and a movement towards less meetings. Finally, I know for a fact that a return to a pre-covid, in the office only work environment will result in the loss of highly trained team members who see the benefits of a hybrid approach and are looking for an employer who supports it.

    • Marschall Runge

      I like your vision, David. I appreciate that you are looking at the positives from both perspectives. That is true flexibility. And while it could be true that we could lose people if we were to go back to the way it was, I believe it would be impossible at this point to return to the old way of doing things. Thanks for your input.

  • I have been on a hybrid schedule since the start of the pandemic ( 2days remotely and 2 days in office) I love my schedule. I do not think it affect my ability to perform my job responsibilities efficiently, accurately, and professionally as I would in office. I am hoping my department/supervisors are looking to ways to incorporate working remotely full or part time. I think it is cost effective for the company and staff, eliminate office space and traffic/parking around campus and off campus.

  • A printer would be extremely useful. I’ve learned to minimize print material, however, there are items I need to print daily.

    • Although it may be possible for some employees to receive additional equipment needs in the future, you will have to wait a bit longer for an answer to that question, Brenda. As workforce strategies emerge over the coming weeks and months, HITS will evaluate work-related equipment needs and will continue to update the HITS Tech Guide to Working Remotely. Leadership also is currently evaluating financial support for employees for their remote-work activities.

  • I am thankful in working remotely because this gives me the opportunity to work full time, yet take care of my elderly mom (89 years young) who also needs me too. As well as take a college course. My faculty staff may reach me anytime of the day or night by email or direct text or phone. I leave myself available for their needs. The advantages in technology has made this happen, and much before the Covid virus, many offices have employees work from home. This works very well with parents of younger children, and disabled elderly parents or spouses. Thank you.

    • Marschall Runge

      We can thank technology for driving a lot of the benefits we now have with this new hybrid model. I’m glad you are enjoying your current work environment and the extra time with your family.

  • I love working from home. I am much happier and healthier not spending an hour commuting to and from work 5 days a week (10 hrs a week of unproductive time).

    At first, i didn’t think I would like working from home, as I have been a UM employee since 1987 and grew accustomed to commuting. Now, when I see how much more time I get to spend in my home, with my family and not sitting in a car with the added stress of crazy drivers, I can’t imagine having to return to working on campus full time.

    Currently, I go to the office one Sunday a month to catch up on things I can’t do from home. Coming to the office part-time seems reasonable, but I certainly hope I don’t have to return to commuting 5 days/wk when I haven’t missed a beat working from home. Still, I remain flexible for whatever my work area needs.

  • Allow all employees working from home over the past year and a half the option to continue working from home permanently. It has been so nice to not have the added hassle of dealing with offsite parking and busing. I dread a return to the office that requires wasting and hour and a half of my day commuting again. Working remotely has restored a better work life balance, and once RIF’s were completed, working from home has allowed work to be a peaceful and safe environment. A place of serenity.

  • I feel as an entity, MM employees have went above and beyond to provide stellar work performances within their job titles all while working remote. My work life balance has improved greatly while working remote and I look forward to taking part in that remote work hybrid model permanently.

  • I have been working from home now over a year as many of my colleagues have. It was a smooth transition as I had most of the equipment necessary to do so, (i.e. computer, internet access, phone, dedicated area). I would love to continue remote working as we move forward. The quietness helps me focus on the tasks that need to be accomplished. That being said, it would be nice perhaps to have some social gatherings to stay connected with my work family.

  • I have worked with Michigan Medicine for 20 years. I never experienced a pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, I was spending 2 hours per day to and from work. During the pandemic,
    I personally noticed a tremendous amount of time I saved from driving and less stress. Also, working from home has been extremely helpful financially. The money MM is saving for office space and parking spaces should be a hug asset while staff like myself is currently working from home. While working from home, the communication and work ethics between myself and my faculty remain amazing. If I had my choice, I would prefer to work at home and go into the office once a month.

    • Marschall Runge

      Thank you for sharing your insights, April. I’m glad you have adjusted well to your work at home environment.

  • I have seen positive changes in meetings and conferences allowing for greater participation with virtual options. I think it is easier to be efficient with time working virtually – both due to a lack of interruption and a lack of travel time. It is sometimes difficult to draw the line between work and home but I find that an acceptable trade off for the many hours I previously lost to travel. I welcome the hybrid model and think Michigan Medicine will achieve the best of both worlds!

  • I will admit working remotely was a definite adjustment at first and seemed very different. During the past year, I look back and see what an efficient process working remotely has become. It saves on time spent walking to and from meetings that were held in person (sometimes saves up to an hour a day). It also allows for increased efficiency because of the time saved from not having to commute to another worksite for meetings and from the frustration of having to find a spot to park. I think that so many other industries had adopted a remote work strategy even prior to COIVD and it does offer a great work/life balance.

    In talking to our supervisor, she also feels it has been beneficial and hasn’t seen work not being completed to the standard it was when work was on site and is also seeing teamwork among our workgroups thrive without missing a beat.

    I would like to hear (maybe in an upcoming Minute with Marschall), what the positives have been for the health system. Has parking become less of an issue? Has there been cost savings on rental, utilities, etc?

    • I’m glad to hear that you and your team are seeing great benefits. As an institution, we have seen some tangible benefits of remote work, such as reducing our leased real estate, greater parking availability for patients, and reduced parking anxiety for our staff. Once the organization settles in to a new hybrid workplace model, we will have more data and information on overall benefits for Michigan Medicine.

  • Anthony Provenzola

    Love the idea of flexibility. I’d like to continue working remotely most of the time but I’d also like the option to have a flex space I could use if necessary!

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Anthony. Let your leaders know your preferences in the coming days. In addition, you can visit the Flexible First Workforce website and fill out the form to share your input with that team as well.

  • Thank you for asking us to partner in making these important decisions. For me, the hybrid model works well, allows flexibility and increases productivity. That being said there are some meetings better done in person. I also believe the office environment will change. Our phone conversations with patients and families need to be private so an open office environment would not be ideal but space might be limited to signing up for office space on days one anticipates being in the office. In addition, having less traffic to and from work and on the road will contribute to the goal of reducing the carbon footprint. Moreover, it may contribute to better parking for our patients.

    • I agree with a lot of these benefits and I know many departments are considering these “reserved” office space options for certain days. Here’s hoping that we can make an impact on our carbon footprint from all of this. Thanks for your suggestions Judith! You may also want to share them using the form on the Flexible First Workforce website.

  • It was an easy transition to work from home when the pandemic hit. I have enjoyed the flexibility working from home offers. The time on the road traveling to and from work is now spent with my family and has had a positive impact on my life outside of work. I appreciate the opportunity to work from home and hope my department will offer a hybrid work environment.

    • It sounds like your work from home situation has brought you some healthy work life balance. That is good to hear. Make sure you share your insights with your department leaders so they can take your thoughts into consideration. The Flexible First site also has a tool that allows employees to ask a question, make a suggestion, and offer feedback if you would like to use that. (listed on my blog)

  • So many of us have been working on-sight this whole time. When others return, we will experience more congestion in traffic, parking and in the buildings themselves. It took months to become comfortable with daily mask-wearing and distancing, and I am sure it will take a long time for some of us to be comfortable with shedding these protective layers and having people we haven’t seen roaming the halls in quite awhile. It is important to be patient with changing our atmosphere once again.

    • You have a good point, Christine. We appreciate your patience to date, and it will be important for others who arrive to be equally civil and respectful as everyone learns how to navigate the new space together.

  • Thank you for this discussion today. It’s very insightful and I can honestly say that I am SO proud to work at The University of Michigan! These past months have been challenging for all of us and the teamwork in our department have been nothing short of SPECTACULAR! I have actually been able to get more work done working from home. I greatly appreciate being able to work from home and it’s been a blessing!

    • Lori, thank you for supporting Michigan Medicine from your home office, and thanks to your team for your great collaborative spirit.

  • Hi.
    I work in IRBMED.

    I would love to see Michigan Medicine create a more modern remote workplace to account for equipment and technical needs as well as departmental cost saving being shared with staff. Perhaps MM could offer WiFi stipend or child care stipend or increase salary with savings from reduced office space cost.

    I have really enjoyed working remotely. Zoom is a conducive platform for IRB meetings since members do not talk over each other at meetings. We can have 20 people on a Zoom meeting that runs smoothly with effective discussion. In addition, our department is no longer having to purchase 3 catered luncheons for board meetings per week. My work life balance is optimal since I can adjust my work flow and personal responsibilities as needed daily. My attitude is evolve with changing times.

    Thanks for your attention.

    • These are some very creative suggestions, Ann. I agree we are certainly seeing great expense reductions from remote work. As workforce strategies emerge over the coming weeks and months, HITS will evaluate work-related equipment needs and will continue to update the HITS Tech Guide to Working Remotely. Leadership also is currently evaluating financial support for employees for their remote-work activities. I am glad you can experience more work life balance as a result of your current environment.

  • The hardest thing for me was being Furloughed for 3 months after 43 years of service. Our whole team was so our work sat. When we came back it was a total mess and we are still digging out of it. I wouldn’t change my environment. I didn’t think I would like working from home but I love it. I do miss my coworkers but that just gives us an excuse to go out and visit with no time constraints. I am not going to say that this pandemic has been easy. It has been difficult in many ways. I love my job and what I am doing. It is always a privilege to be a part of Michigan Medicine.

    • Thank you for sharing your story with us, Cynthia. There have been many hardships through this pandemic, and I’m sorry to hear that you have had to experience a difficult furlough. With your support, and that of all your co-workers at Michigan Medicine, we were able to survive our early days of the pandemic. We couldn’t have done that without your sacrifice. I’m glad to hear that you are back at work and enjoying your work at home environment. We appreciate you.

  • LaTunga Brown Isom

    I would like to not wear a mask.

    • I am not sure where you work, LaTunga, but even though the CDC and the U-M campus has lifted some mask restrictions, masks must still be worn inside all Michigan Medicine buildings and also outside in high traffic areas, such as bus tops and building entrances and in the courtyard.

  • I enjoy working from home and really think I get more work done due to less interruptions. I would like to relocate to a different state though, is U of M working on this to be an option to keep our positions?

    • Crystal, I am glad your work from home situation is working out for you. Regarding an out of state option, that may be something we would consider under certain circumstances but it has to be determined on a case by case basis and decided at the department level. You should discuss it with your immediate supervisor and they could discuss next steps with you. You could also ask this question on the Flexible First website. https://umhealth.sharepoint.com/sites/MMFlexFirst

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