Employees are encouraged to work from home until further notice, when possible, due to COVID-19-related concerns. It is important to note that staff will be paid for their standard hours in remote work arrangements, even if they cannot perform all of their normal duties. Benefits will not be affected by remote work.
As a residential campus, the college never fully closes. Many employees must report to campus to provide services essential to residential life, campus health and safety, critical research, the protection of physical and intellectual assets, or the continuity of academic programs and operations.
You should confer with your supervisor or department chair to determine whether your role will allow you to work remotely, after considering your essential duties and the department’s operational requirements. In these unprecedented times, we all have to focus on crucial business needs and understand that we will just have to set aside some non-essential functions for the short term.
Here are some steps everyone can take to help focus:
Make sure that you understand the expectations of remote work, including expectations for productivity, schedule, and time management.
- What routine responsibilities/tasks can or cannot be fulfilled while working remotely and how will this impact operations or other people? What are ways to reduce the impacts?
- What critical tasks might require an occasional visit to the office (for example, sorting postal mail)? Can people rotate those tasks to minimize any one person’s exposure?
- What routine responsibilities/tasks require regular communication and collaboration with others? Proactively contact each of those colleagues to confirm how you will communicate with each other while working remotely.
- Employees sometimes find that they have fewer interruptions to contend with when working remotely. Can you take advantage of such opportunities to attack special projects or tasks?
- We recognize that others find remote work to be more distracting because of activity in the home. What can you do to create the environment you need to have to do your work?
- What events or meetings are scheduled during remote work? Will they be postponed or canceled? Or will they take place over the phone or videoconference? What kind of follow-up might be required, because of any postponements or cancellations?
- If you find yourself with free time, it can be a great opportunity to do some professional development. Check out LinkedIn Learning and other web-based campus programs offered by HR.
Work with your supervisor and others on your team to create a plan for regular communication and accountability.
- Establish more frequent check-ins than normal.
- Maintain regular meetings virtually, via phone or videoconference.
- Establish how often you should send updates on work progress, and what those updates should include.
- Develop a shared understanding of expected response times while working remotely
- Determine the best ways to contact your supervisor and which tools to use: email, call, text, videoconference, etc.
- Create and share emergency contact information for your department that you can access remotely. A Google Sheet works well: collect cell numbers and have everyone on your team enter them in their phone contacts.
The first and most important step is to establish which business processes are essential. Only then you can determine what technology is needed to complete these tasks. The OIT team can provide consultations on remote technology needs: please contact them at [email protected] or 413-597-4090. Please note they can not support or provide peripherals like printers.
Before you begin your remote work arrangement, make sure you have everything you need to get things done.
- Make sure you have all the files you need on your computer.
- Confirm that you have access to the latest versions of key documents. This can be done via Google Drive or your common or shared drive.
- Make sure you have key contact information on your computer and phone.
Please visit OIT’s page on Working Through Disruption page for tools and resources to support remote work arrangements.
Keep in mind that each of us has a critical role in protecting the privacy and security of college-related information. Guidance is available on our Computing and Privacy policies. Send any questions to [email protected].
Remote Workplace Wellness & Compliance
Double-check that your remote workspace is safe and free from any safety hazards so that you can have the most productive and healthy experience.
- If working at home, try to establish a private, separate space, supplied with everything you need. We know this will be a challenge for those of you whose children are home from school, or who have other complicated arrangements. We understand, and encourage everyone to be patient with each other!
- Pack a quick “to-go bag” with pens, a notebook, few sticky notes, and other supplies.
- Take occasional breaks. Staying locked at your desk for hours at a time is unhealthy and actually erodes productivity. Pause periodically to stretch, take a walk, or talk to others. Develop a work routine and mindset that help you concentrate and successfully accomplish your tasks.
- Make sure you report all worked hours, use of leaves, overtime, etc.
- If you are a non-exempt (hourly paid) employee, you should follow your assigned work schedule as if you were on campus, including mandatory lunch breaks (30 minutes for every six hours of work).
- Overtime and leave accrual will continue to be based on your standard hours.
- Injuries sustained while working remotely will be covered by workers’ compensation benefits as usual. Employees are responsible for notifying their supervisors of such injuries as soon as possible, and an incident report must be completed.
Please keep in mind that the college’s insurance covers authorized college equipment, but not personal property that is being used for remote work. You should consider insuring such belongings via your homeowner’s policy if possible. The college will not cover utilities or other standard expenses during remote work, such as heat, electricity, Internet or phone service, etc.
Please contact [email protected] with any questions.