Launch of New Workplace Flexibilities Program
Alfred C. Johnson, Ph.D.|April 4, 2022
NIH pivoted to a maximum telework environment on March 13, 2020, as one of the first federal agencies to make such an unprecedented shift. Overnight, NIH re-engineered our processes and operations to allow as many staff as possible to work from home and to ensure staff would remain successful in the virtual workplace. For many of us, working from home went from being something we did occasionally, to a constant reality. For others who remained physically onsite, this dramatic change impacted how they worked with many of their colleagues and customers.
After two years of maximum telework, April 10, 2022, will mark the full return of NIH staff under the HHS Return to Workplace plan, and the sunset of maximum telework. With that, I am excited to share that NIH will continue many of the flexibilities that are outlined in the newly issued HHS workplace Flexibility Policy at https://www.hhs.gov/about/agencies/asa/ohr/hr-library/990-1/index.html.
NIH’s implementation of the HHS Workplace Flexibilities Policy provides us with the framework to continue to evolve into a hybrid work model as we map out the future of work. Workplace flexibilities, including Telework, Remote Work, and Alternative Work Schedules, will be ingrained, supported, and normalized within our community, beyond what we considered typical before the COVID-19 pandemic. This sentiment is true for our scientific and administrative and infrastructure staff at all levels and will contribute to the collective wellness of our most important resource, our people.
Over the next several weeks, you can anticipate further communication from your individual Institute or Center (IC) on the implementation of Workplace Flexibilities programs within your individual IC. In the interim, I urge you to review the resources on the Workplace Flexibilities Page at https://hr.nih.gov/working-nih/workplace-flexibilities.
We are confident that NIH’s implementation of the HHS Workplace Flexibilities Policy will enable us to advance the mission of the NIH while simultaneously supporting our workforce. In March 2020, we made a significant shift in NIH operations quickly in the midst of a global pandemic. Our next shift toward this vision of the future of work is as significant. It is a transformation that will continue to evolve and positively shape our workforce and our workplace as we continue to contribute to scientific discovery, improved health, and lives saved.
Alfred C. Johnson, Ph.D.
Deputy Director for Management
National Institutes of Health