Work Remotely

We appreciate the extraordinary efforts of staff to support our mission of teaching and scholarship. Although approaches and timelines varied across the Schools and Units, many staff began working remotely the week of March 16 and will continue to do so until further notice. This decision aligns with our goal to reduce the number of interactions on campus, slow the rate of transmission, and protect our community.

Effective March 24 at noon and in accordance with Massachusetts' stay-at-home advisory, only those staff who are designated as critical personnel in the context of this public health crisis should come to work if they are well. Managers will communicate with staff regarding essential personnel designation letters and any long-term service adjustments as needed. All other staff should continue to work remotely.

The resources and information on this page can help you adjust to remote work and inform you of the latest guidance. The situation is changing rapidly. As such, HR and Financial Administration are reviewing and adjusting workforce policies and pay continuity to address the emerging issues and concerns of faculty and staff.

Remote Work and Critical On-Campus Staff

We understand the unique challenges of adjusting to remote work during this public health crisis — imperfect workspaces, balancing family care and work tasks, managing from a distance, and maintaining social connections. We also recognize certain critical staff must be on campus to sustain research and labs, support the residential population still on campus, and keep the University healthy and secure.

Employment policies, benefits, and resources
  • Review HR's Coronavirus Workplace Policies to understand how Harvard has enhanced its paid time off benefits and pay continuity, among other amended policies.
  • Review HR's Remote Work Resources to understand the guiding principles that can help you and your team implement effective flexwork and access toolkits and resources to support your decision-making.
  • Direct questions to your local HR office.
Technology resources
Advice for leaders, managers, and staff working remotely

Together, we are navigating an abrupt new normal with blurred lines between home and work. Staff, managers, and leadership should communicate often to think through unique issues and set expectations for schedules, flexibility, productivity, and wellbeing.

In addition to HR's Coronavirus Remote Work Resources, Harvard Business Review’s coronavirus coverage offers insight from experts in management theory and practice about how to work and lead through a pandemic.

For more resources, see “Stay connected and motivated while remote” under Health and Wellbeing.

Advice for parents and guardians working remotely with kids at home

Adjusting to remote work with children at home can create additional challenges and opportunities. In addition to HR's Coronavirus Remote Work Resources, the following articles, tips, and resources may help parents and guardians balance workloads and caretaking responsibilities.

General tips

  • Talk with your manager and set expectations about schedule changes and unexpected disruptions; also share these with your colleagues as appropriate.
  • Develop routines and create modified schedules.
  • If possible, take turns with your partner and alternate work shifts and watching the kids.
  • Have activities prepared (see educational resources below). Space permitting, give kids their own area to do their work.
  • As appropriate, try to implement “do not disturb” times with your children — set timers for quiet play and create hand signals for them to use if you are on a phone or video call.
  • Schedule breaks and allow yourself time to enjoy being home with your family (see the "Staying connected and motivated" section of the Health and Wellbeing page for ideas).
  • Seek out virtual support from family and friends through FaceTime, Google Duo, and other video calling apps.
  • Be kind to yourself and remember to breathe (see Mindfulness & Spirituality resources on the Health and Wellbeing page).

For educational resources for kids, see the "Staying connected and motivated" section of the Health and Wellbeing page.

Parking for critical on-campus staff

Employees who must be on campus for work and who typically commute via transit but are now hesitant to do so because of coronavirus can park in "no charge" or reduced rate garages at select Harvard facilities on the Cambridge, Allston, and Longwood campuses.

Remember to carry your essential personnel designation letter with you when commuting to and from campus.


Financial Matters

We recognize the coronavirus pandemic and the University's related policies have financial implications. HR, Financial Administration, and other offices are updating University policies as the situation continues to evolve.

Pay continuity

As a general principle, Harvard is committed to sustaining the pay continuity for our dedicated and talented workforce.

  • People who continue working (remotely or on campus) will be paid as they are normally.
  • For Harvard employees (core staff including administrative/professional, support staff, and service and trade workers) who are well and available to work, but their duties cannot be performed remotely or because of the shifts in population on campus they no longer have work to perform, the University will guarantee their regular pay and benefits through May 28, 2020.
    • Additionally, we will expand eligibility for this guarantee of pay and benefits to part-time contingent employees who are less than half time (LHT).
  • For contract employees working in dining, custodial, and security roles, the University will provide financial relief in the form of pay and benefits, if they are well and available for work, but displaced from their contract assignments due to the COVID-19 public health emergency and unable to obtain new assignments. Employees of Harvard's 14 major suppliers of these services are eligibile for this support, for work disruptions between March 10 and May 28, 2020. The University is working with these suppliers to ensure its financial support will be used for the direct benefit and financial relief of contract food service workers, custodians, and security guards.

Given the rapid changes concerning COVID-19, HR will continue to review and revise the policies as the situation evolves. See additional Coronavirus Workplace Policies on the HR website for full details.

Payroll time entry/approval, I-9 forms, and NRA tax complicance

The Central Payroll and Nonresident Alien Tax Compliance teams have made operational changes for payroll time entry/approval, paper check distribution, form I-9 collection, nonresident alien onboarding, and glacier tax compliance.See the Office of the Controller website for details.

Invoices, payments, and expense reports

Strategic Procurement updated guidance for invoice and payment processing, expense report processing, and CITI card usage in order to minimize disruption to payment processes. Learn more about these important Accounts Payable guidelines.

Financial relief from COVID-19 medical expenses

For faculty, staff and retirees participating in Harvard's employee health plans, these health plan enhancements provide financial relief from some copayments, co-insurance, and deductibles related to COVID-19; greater access to telemedicine; and relaxed rules for the timing of prescription refills.


Health and Wellbeing

The health and wellbeing of our staff is of utmost priority. We recognize the abrupt transition to remote work has been difficult and that universal social distancing measures have drastically altered our social lives. Visit the Health and Wellbeing page for resources on managing stress, anxiety, and fear; activities for staying connected and motivated while remote; preventative measures; and more.

Technology Support

Contact the HUIT help desk or your School's local IT service.

School- and Department-Specific Resources

In addition to the University-wide employment, financial, technology, and health resources above, see the following School and Department-specific FAQs for more information:

Business | College | Central Administration | Dental | Design | Divinity | Education | Extension | FAS | Government | GSAS | HSCRB | Law | Library | Medical | Public Health | Radcliffe | SEAS & FAS Division of Science


Frequently Asked Questions