HR Update; March 12, 2010
In this Edition
- Flexible Spending Account Deadlines
- New UCSF Primary Care Option for Employees
- The Future of UCRP and the Startup of UCRP Contributions
- Managing Uncertainty in Times of Change
- UC Retirement Readiness Education Programs
Flexible Spending Account Deadlines
Employees who have Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) have two important deadlines ahead in the next two months.
March 15, 2010, next Monday, is the last day to incur eligible expenses for the 2009 Health FSA plan year. Please note the spending card cannot be used for expenses against 2009 funds so Health FSA claim forms must be filed to receive a reimbursement. Any funds in the 2009 Health FSA account which have not been used will be forfeited.
April 15, 2010 is the last day to file reimbursement claim forms for any eligible Health FSA or Dependent Care FSA expenses incurred for the 2009 plan year. This is also the deadline for employees to provide documentation to substantiate Health FSA card purchases during 2009. Claims must be postmarked or faxed by the April 15 deadline. The mailing address and the fax number are on the claim form.
Account balance information or information about any documentation requirements can be obtained on the CONEXIS website or by calling the CONEXIS toll-free automated phone system at 1-800-482-4120.
New UCSF Primary Care Option for Employees
UCSF Medical Center opened a new primary care clinic (UCSF Primary Care) at Mt. Zion on January 4, 2010. This practice is now accepting both new adult and pediatric patients.
More information on the practice and providers can be found in the UCSF Today article. Individuals interested in scheduling an appointment or speaking to someone directly can call the practice at 415-514-6200.
The Future of UCRP and the Startup of UCRP Contributions
This is to call your attention to recently updated information posted on At Your Service under the Q&A section of The Future of UCRP. Included are four crucial components of the Future of UCRP: Retiree Health; UC Pension; The Task Force; and the Restart of Contributions (all revised March 8, 2010).
Managing Uncertainty in Times of Change
As we are all aware, UCSF is enduring budget cuts, which will have a significant impact on our Campus and Medical Center faculty and staff. Many departments within the University are faced with changes that will significantly influence how we work together in the future to preserve our place as a leading institution “advancing health worldwide.” Successfully managing the uncertainty that accompanies any transformation, we know increases resilience, self - confidence, motivation, and productivity.
Transition walks alongside of change. The transition process contains a period where uncertainty reigns, as we simultaneously evolve to a new state of solidity, growth, and renewal. While the outcome of this process ultimately moves us forward, adjusting positively can also be challenging to some individuals psychologically, emotionally, and behaviorally. Periods of uncertainty are known to increase levels of stress in individuals and work groups going through this experience.
As human beings, we often become attached to our roles, responsibilities, work group, historical, and current structures within the organization. Reorganization requires thoughtful, hard, and timely decisions. We understand that some employees may fear potential job loss and changes in work responsibilities. These changes leave one feeling little control over possible outcomes. Such circumstances can trigger transient feelings including frustration, a sense of powerlessness, and anxiety. Expect some of these feelings to emerge during this transition, and a time of letting go of the old ways as you begin to appreciate, embrace, and integrate the new.
As we know, change is an inevitable part of life. Impermanence is a given. Managing change effectively means not fearing or resisting change and challenges, but instead empowering oneself with the necessary skills to navigate through uncertainty. Preparing oneself for inevitable change and understanding the normal range of responses to stress, can help you feel more confident which leads to sustained/increased organizational performance. Below is a list of normal reactions to change, and some strategies that lead to resilience.
Normal Reactions to Significant Change
- Shock, numbness, and withdrawal
- Fear and insecurity
- Frustration, resentment, and anger
- Sadness, depression, and guilt
- Unfairness, betrayal, and distrust
- Relief, optimism, and excitement
- Lack of interest in activities
- Unusually quiet
- Preoccupied, unable to focus
- Sarcasm, cynicism
Strategies for Resilience
- Simply acknowledge your current situation, and be aware that the range of reactions listed above are normal during this transitional period.
- Take charge and plan in advance how you will respond to the changed workplace environment. Prioritize steps that will aid in minimizing your anxiety and stress levels.
- When change occurs, both positive and negative feelings will often emerge at the same time. It is important to talk with and confide in a few people you trust about current changes and pressures associated with the transition. Do not isolate yourself with your concerns. Seeking out individuals who have a sense of hope and who can help you strategize about managing your current situation is helpful.
- Seek out lines of communication. Clear communication and information in times of uncertainty is known to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Acknowledging ambiguity and what you don’t know is equally important.
- Develop adaptive coping skills. Examples include exercise even if it’s for thirty minutes a day; maintain a schedule such as waking up the same time every morning, or going to bed at a predictable time; calm the mind through the practice of yoga or meditation. Bringing awareness to your present moment can have calming effects.
- Think back to challenging times in your life and draw upon how you coped, managed to get through the transition period successfully, and thrive.
- Develop positive emotions that include gratitude, happiness, compassion towards self and others. Positive emotions increase optimism and resilience.
- Laughter and humor are important tools in times of stress. Laughter can break up seriousness in a conversation and trigger the release of endorphins such as serotonin in your body which helps relieve tension and reduce stress.
- Be proactive. Each individual has the capacity to cope and deal with situations effectively. If you find yourself having a difficult time managing stress (work-related or personal) that may be affecting your well-being, please contact the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program.
FSAP at UCSF provides confidential assessment, counseling, referral, and consultation services that support the well-being of both the individual and the organization. Please contact us at (415) 476-8279 or visit our HR website at: http://www.ucsfhr.ucsf.edu/assist.
UC Retirement Readiness Education Programs
Are you ready for retirement? Are your ducks all in a row? Start to plan now—it’s never too early
UC Retirement Readiness Workshops will resume during the Spring Quarter (April – June)
During the interim why not plan to have a workshop conducted at a faculty/staff meeting held at your location.
UCSF HR/Benefits: The Features of UCRP.
Fidelity Retirement Services: UC Retirement Savings Plans.
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