The Working Group provides monthly highlights about Efficiency Review activities, including project status, information about common concerns or ideas, and education about UCOP processes and procedures. For a review of projects, read the articles from the Link newsletter or review the summary of announced ideas.

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December 2015

End of Year Update

  • The second cycle of the Efficiency Review has officially concluded, and we’re gearing up for Year 3. Over the last year, the Work Group has come up with a process to track the 800+ suggestions received and worked to improve communication with the UCOP community while continuing to implement projects aimed at making UCOP a better place to work.  Successful projects over the last year include the official roll out of the Green Department Certification Program, a streamlined Ergonomics Evaluation process, and updating UCOP’s videoconferencing capabilities using Fuze. 
  • John Blake, Siena Sarmiento, and Amal Smith have joined the Work Group for Year 3, and the Work Group expects to conduct a series of deep dives in five major areas: Employee Development and Training, “Go Green” Carbon Neutrality Initiative, Paperless Initiative/Document Management, Accountability and Decision Making, and Access to Data.  
  • Year 2 Progress

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November 2015

Submit an iRequest!

  • Winter weather got your office too cold? Submit an iRequest! Whenever you are hot/cold, need lights replaced, issues with your door lock or you need something out of the ordinary done, just submit an iRequest! This lets the Building and Administrative Service Center (BASC) specifically the Building Engineering group, know that there is an issue that needs to be addressed promptly. If you don’t have access to iRequest, you can always call the Work Management Center (WMC) at 7-0600 and they can make the request on your behalf. 
  • Facilities is doing all it can to reduce the energy usage at the Office of the President. We have ongoing LEED commissioning, lighting retrofits when applicable and we are looking into numerous other ideas and ways to reduce our carbon footprint. If you have an idea ti reduce energy, submit it here.
  • The Green Department Certification Group will be bringing new energy saving ideas and challenges for all of OP beginning January 2016. So get ready for some friendly competition and energy conservation to help UCOP reduce our Carbon Footprint!

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October 2015

Be Smart About Ergonomics 

  • CtrlWork is a rest break program that is designed to work with your natural rest break activity monitors your keystrokes and mouse activity, when your natural breaks do not meet or exceed the programmed settings the program will prompt you for an energizing break or present you with a few stretches designed to enhance your muscle recovery and promote overall health and wellness. If CtrlWORK has not been installed on your computer, you may contact IT Service Hub at
    UCOP has invested in “Be Smart About Ergonomics,” an interactive, on-line training and self-risk assessment questionnaire for the workstation. It is hosted by Briotix and allows the program to identify your risks, automate injury prevention activities, and track and analyze your results. The program is available through the Learning Management System (LMS) at Be Smart About Ergonomics Training & Risk Self-Assessment. Multiple departments are involved in this process. Below is a breakdown of who does what- (be sure to coordinate with all the departments involved)
    • EH&S does evaluation and makes recommendation
    • BRC placing orders
    • BASC installs equipment
    • EH&S provides follow-up after equipment is installed if there are questions and to make sure it is being used properly

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September 2015

Efficiency Review Year 2 Update

  • The President’s Efficiency Review Workgroup has continued its hard work, assessing its progress to date, and planning for next year. This month marks another opportunity for staff across The Office of the President (OP) to learn more, and get involved. Want to see how your ideas have impacted and improved OP? Learn how you can further enhance our organization? Interested in learning more about what the President's Efficiency Review Workgroup has planned?
    Then grab your lunch and thinking cap and come to the next installment of the Lunch & Learn series. Our next event will feature the chairs and members of the all-volunteer Working Group, past members, as well as the Initiative's executive sponsor, Rachael Nava (Executive VP and COO), as well as other senior OP Leaders. In an interactive and informative session, the team will share some of its accomplishments, major initiatives underway, and next steps. You just might come away inspired enough to apply for one of several 2016 openings! Dessert will be provided, and drawing for a couple of Starbucks gift cards.

Date: Thursday, September 24th

Time: 12-1 p.m.

Location: Franklin Lobby 1

If you are unable to attend in person, watch the event via Fuze. Subject: Lunch & Learn Series  

Meeting ID 29866262

Meeting URL:

Toll Number +12014794595

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August 2015

360 Reviews Explained

  • The 360 degree feedback is a developmental tool. The purpose of the 360 degree feedback is to assist each individual to understand his or her strengths and weaknesses, and to contribute insights into aspects of his or her work needing professional development. The feedback is generally asked for by the manager to whom the employee reports. Colleagues who participate in the 360 review usually include the manager, several peers, reporting staff, and functional managers with whom the employee works regularly.
    By design, 360 degree feedback is good at identifying, measuring, and improving the skills and competencies needed to perform a job. It is especially good for the hard-to-quantify interpersonal areas (often labeled the ‘soft skills’) of behaviors and practices. Examples of this include listening, informing, resolving conflict, coaching, teamwork, and leadership. The 360 degree feedback differs from an employee performance appraisal.  Performance appraisals provide the employee with the opinion of his or her performance as viewed by the manager or supervisor. Performance appraisals are a snapshot in time, formalizing the feedback for the fiscal year. UCOP emphasizes the importance of year-round employee development, and of conducting regular performance appraisals. Performance feedback is the foundation for improving performance and for cultivating employee development, and is one of the most important functions of a manager. Each year, managers and supervisors should work with employees to develop performance goals that:
    • Direct the employee's efforts toward achieving specific results;
    • Accomplish strategic and organizational objectives; and
    • Identify opportunities for performance improvement and professional growth.
    These performance goals help to establish the criteria for an employee's annual performance appraisal and communicate performance expectations. Please consult your HR Business Partner if you have additional questions.

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July 2015

Is there a group at OP of experienced Excel users who can answer questions for staff?

  • We currently have 5 UCOP volunteers with Excel prowess who will answer questions presented in emails sent to All 5 volunteers will recieve the email, and whomever responds first will reply to all so the work is not duplicated. These email responses will form the beginnings of a knowledge base of Excel Q&A. It is anticipated that some requests or quesions may involve further research or discussion, but we hope that many can be resolved quickly. We're looking into doing the same for other software. For now, if you have an Excel question email the listserv. 

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June 2015

Staff options for personal and professional growth

  • The Efficiency Review received various comments from staff wanting options for growing personally and professionally. We decided to look into opportunities outside of the regular professional development programs offered at UCOP. We looked into various policies, discussed the question with HR, met with various affinity groups, and got some answers.
  •  It turns out there are various ways an employee may learn a new skill, take the time to do something completely outside of his or her day-to-day job, or volunteer at his or her favorite non-profit organization. In addition to a generous vacation accrual, UCOP allows and encourages employees to grow both professionally and personally. PPSM-50 allows an employee to plan up to ten days per calendar year for professional development, of course with a supervisor’s approval. PPSM-51 provides for a reduction in fee for eligible courses for UCOP employees. The Employee Reduction In Time program (ERIT) is another option available to UCOP employees who wish to have more time to pursue activities outside work.  Again, this program requires the agreement of the employee’s department. Alternate work schedules allow employees the flexibility to schedule their work hours so that they can better meet family responsibilities and/or attend to personal needs. Based on the operational needs of the employee's department, employees at UCOP may be permitted by their departments to work on an alternate work schedule.  
  • Volunteer opportunities are available through UCOP too. Annually, activities are arranged for Staff Appreciation week. Staff Assembly makes some opportunities available throughout the year and welcomes ideas from staff willing to organize a volunteer event, as long as they are not religious or political in nature. Finally, the UCOP Oakland Partnership Program presents opportunities focused in Oakland.  Employees, of course, may always use a reduced schedule or vacation to volunteer at their favorite organization. As always, any time away from your current job must be approved by your supervisor and HR. 
Happy growing! 
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May 2015

All the IT Ideas

  • The Efficiency Review generated over 150 ideas related to IT! Because it’s such a popular topic, we thought it would be good to summarize what’s been done.
    A number of the IT ideas were announced in Link last year and have been, or are in the process of, being implemented. 

    • Provide better desktop videoconferencing. A new desktop videoconferencing service, FUZE, has been rolled out that supports access via mobile devices.
    • Improve support for Mac users. The IT Service Desk now has the ability to remotely access Macs and thus provide phone support. Also, replacement Macs are easier to get without extensive justification.
    • Vacate the Data Center. By April 2016, ITS will vacate the UCOP data center in the Kaiser Building, moving many services to cloud vendors or campus service providers. The move will help UCOP reduce costs and vacate the Kaiser Building when the lease ends.
    • Add administrative assistants in Outlook directory. Executive assistants’ names have been added to the Outlook entry for each executive. This way, people know who to contact to schedule meetings with the executive.
    • Offer cloud computing. By June 30, 2015, the majority of UCOP personnel will be able to access cloud computing, which offers greater flexibility and security. Everyone also will have migrated to Windows 7.
    • Set up hotel workstations. “Hotel” cubes in Franklin (11th and 7th floors) and Kaiser (6th floor) have been set up with thin clients for UCOP personnel from other buildings who need a place to work between meetings. You can find them in the Outlook room listing.
  • Other ideas are good ones but aren’t candidates to become “projects.” This is simply because they are the type of thing that ITS reviews and updates on a regular basis. Examples are the computer models that ITS provides, or UCOP network bandwidth, or even the tools IT developers use. These kinds of Efficiency Review ideas are forwarded to the appropriate manager for consideration in the review cycle.
    Finally, other ideas are still under discussion to see how ITS can improve service or provide education about a topic. An example is teaching people how to create accessible pdf forms that can be filled in and submitted online, saving time and printing costs. There’s always lots to do – that’s the nature of IT. Keep the ideas coming! 

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April 2015

How about ordering in bulk?

  • The Efficiency Review received several comments related to reducing UCOP’s expenditures on supplies, such as through buying in bulk. For example, one entry read: “Each unit seems to be ordering supplies. Would it not be cost effective and streamlined if we had one supply area per building to get paper clips, pens, etc? Normally the greater the quantity, the cost per unit is lower.”
    Buying in bulk rather than in small amounts is indeed more cost effective. However, there are very real costs associated with the proposal for a supply area in each building. We would need to hire one or two people to manage the storerooms, to receive and deliver supply requests to employees, and to perform daily recharges to the department accounts. We also would need to find the space for a large, secure room to store the supplies and, as we all know, space is at a premium at UCOP.
    Instead, UC has leveraged the entire system to secure the lowest price possible when it comes to supplies. We have a systemwide contract with OfficeMax, which provides low prices and next-day free shipping. So we get low rates without having to store and manage quantities of supplies on site.

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MARCH 2015

Are there house keeping processes at UCOP?

  • We received a few ideas around supplies in the bathrooms and kitchens and processes around cleanliness. We took those to Building Services and learned, there were certain processes already in place. Every night when the cleaners go around to take your bins and properly reallocate debris if tossed in an incorrect bin, they also wipe down “high touch” areas like the door handles on your offices and vacuum carpets. Carpet cleaning, window cleaning on the inside and outside of the building and steam cleaning in the parking garage are performed on an annual or as needed basis. Building Services also makes additional cleaning supplies available to any department or individual that needs them including sanitary wipes, locked shredding and extra garbage bins. Cleaning of stains on floors and fabric panels are done as needed.
    We heard certain kitchen appliances might appear to not be cleaned regularly. Every kitchen has a microwave, a toaster and a water filter. The cleaners clean each one of those in every kitchen every night. Cleaning out the refrigerators is performed twice a year, unless the local department has opted out. Maintenance of additional appliances not installed by Building Services falls under the local unit's responsibility. The cleaners also stock all cleaning supplies like paper towels and dish washing liquids nightly.
    If you don’t see any of these happening on your floor, please report to the Work Management Center. 

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Does anyone use the Sitter City employee benefit?

  • In response to a submission to the website regarding how many people take advantage of the family care resources offered as a benefit to UC employees, worked with Human Resources to review Bright Horizons Care Advantage UC employees utilization data. We found many employees have utilized the service and that utilization has increased over time. Bright Horizons Care Advantage offers a web-based resource of pre-screened individuals who care for children, adults - even pets. There are two programs, Sittercity and Years Ahead, which combined provide a network of babysitters, nannies, pet sitters, individual senior caregivers and/or other senior care providers.  From November 2013 to November 2014, Sittercity dependent care enrollments increased 17% from just over 6000 to 7081. Years Ahead enrollments increased by 62% over the same period. 
    Bright Horizons conducts a thorough 5 step screening process for caregivers before they are allowed to post their profile on Sittercity and for additional re-assurance, requesting a caregiver's basic background check (via the Sittercity site) is free to UC members. As part of Years Ahead, members have unlimited access to a dedicated resource: a certified senior care advisor (with a Master's degree in social work) who provides comprehensive elder care planning support. This employee benefit is supported by  the President’s Advisory Committee on the Status of Women (PACSW) and is offered as a work/life balance resource to help current UC faculty and staff members find caregivers. More information about this benefit can be found at:

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What happened to all the ideas submitted last year?

  • Over 800 ideas were received between the launch of the Efficiency Review in 2013 and the end of December 2014! The first Efficiency Review Working Group worked at madcap speed, reading the submissions as they poured in and selecting quick wins so we could all see progress fast. You can read the announcements in the Link newsletter. In January 2015, the second Working Group decided to take a step back and re-review all submissions through a deliberative process. We want to be able to tell you what happened with all your ideas. We also heard recommendations loud and clear from the UCOP Leadership Development cohort that assessed the Efficiency Review as its team project. They found that staff don’t feel they get enough information about the review and its outcomes. We’ve listened! One step we’ve taken is simply to reorganize this website to provide simple, clear, and straightforward information. We’re also writing this monthly update. And we’re doing an analysis of all ideas received. Stay tuned for details about some of the most popular “themes” among the ideas, and what happens to ideas that aren’t necessarily “projects” but still represent an important perspective. Be sure to click on the Process tab to see how an idea gets reviewed from start to finish.

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