Chicago’s federation to start hybrid work schedule in October

The new work schedule will be phased in gradually

Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF) will be operating on a hybrid work schedule by October that will include up to two remote work days a week, but JUF’s experience of working remotely during the pandemic has taught it just how important the office is, JUF Chief of Staff Jim Rosenberg told eJewishPhilanthropy.

“Our office is our primary workspace,” Rosenberg said. “It’s where we create our best culture together. It’s a reason we were able to be so successful away from the office.”

JUF is using the summer to start implementing the new schedule in three phases. Until the fall, there will be no set schedule, which will help the organization’s 300-plus employees adjust to going back to the Wells Street office. During the month of September, when the office will be closed for a number of days due to the High Holidays, teams will work together to decide which days they will be in the office, and starting in October, the entire staff will be together in the office for two days, while individual departments will be able to gather at a location of their choosing on another day.

The phases will help the entire organization make a smooth transition to post-pandemic life, Rosenberg added. Some staff, such as those with long commutes, found remote work a boon to their lifestyle, while others struggled to maintain boundaries between work and family. “We can’t just flip a switch,” Rosenberg said. “We have to ease into it.”

JUF is “strongly encouraging” employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine but not currently requiring it, Rosenberg said. The federation is still considering its policy on this question.