We appreciate the extraordinary efforts of staff to support our mission of teaching and scholarship. In accordance with Massachusetts' reopening plan and Harvard's goal to limit the number of interactions on campus, slow the rate of transmission, and protect our community, the vast majority of Harvard staff should plan to continue to work remotely through June 30, 2021.
The resources and information on this page can help you adjust to remote work and inform you of the latest guidance. 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 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 a limited number of staff must be on campus to support the residential population on campus, sustain research and labs, and keep the University healthy and secure. If your manager or supervisor has authorized you to work on campus, you should also review the office and lab requirements to return to campus.
- 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.
- Review HUIT's IT for working remotely website and frequently asked questions.
- Find options for accessing the internet remotely, including free and reduced-rate plans, and improving your network connection.
- Know when to use Zoom to preserve bandwidth for academic instruction and how to increase privacy for Zoom meetings.
- Familiarize yourself with collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack.
- Check HUIT's service status dashboard to see if there are any outages reported and sign up for alerts.
- If you don’t have a Harvard-provided laptop, you’ll need to take extra steps to ensure your personal device is secure.
- If you have any questions, contact the HUIT help desk or your School's local IT.
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 and Harvard Business School's coronavirus working knowledge series offer insight from experts in management theory and practice about how to work and lead through a pandemic.
- 15 questions about remote work answered includes helpful advice about how to work productively at home, manage virtual meetings, and lead teams through this time of crisis.
- How to connect through virtual meetings includes tips for making the most of an online format and embracing its differences.
- What your coworkers need right now is compassion, not judgment.
- Guide to managing newly-remote workers helps managers address common challenges, support remote employees, and provide opportunities for social interaction.
- Communicating through the coronavirus crisis advises on how to identify your audience and tailor your message appropriately.
- Working while distancing is a 30-minute podcast and rapid-fire interview to answer questions from listeners who are suddenly working from home.
- Slow down to make better decisions in a crisis reminds us how to make good decisions amid uncertainty, threats, and anxiety.
- Real leaders are forged in crisis includes four lessons from Lincoln, Churchill, MLK, and others.
- Are you leading through the crisis...or managing the response? highlights four leadership traps to avoid.
- 4 behaviors that help leaders manage a crisis and how to train your team.
- 7 leadership principles for managing in the time of coronavirus includes the 7 C's for coronavirus survival.
- The new rules for remote work: pandemic edition provides 10 ways for leaders to support employees working remotely.
Adjusting to remote work with children or elders 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.
- How working parents can prepare for coronavirus closures encourages you to talk with your boss and come up with a plan.
- Guide for working-from-home parents advises keeping as many old routines as possible.
- Balancing work and elder care through the coronavirus crisis suggests building a routine that works for those you care about.
- 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 caretaking.
- Have kids' activities prepared (see the educational resources on our Socialize Remotely page). 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 our Socialize Remotely 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 Socialize Remotely page).
For educational resources for kids, see our Socialize Remotely page.
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 reduced rate garages at select Harvard facilities on the Cambridge, Allston, and Longwood campuses.
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.
As a general principle, Harvard is committed to sustaining the pay continuity for our dedicated and talented workforce. See the most recent email update on Harvard's Coronavirus workplace policies.
- 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, service and trade workers, and part-time contingent employees who are less than half time (LHT)) 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 has guaranteed 100% of their regular pay and benefits through January 14, 2021.
- Effective January 15, 2021, idled Harvard employees whose work cannot be performed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency may use the emergency excused absence benefit to sustain up to 70% of their regular pay.
- For contract employees of Harvard’s 14 major suppliers working in dining, custodial, and security roles, the University will provide financial relief in the form of pay and benefits through January 14, 2021, 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. 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.
- Effective January 15, 2021, the employers of idled contract workers normally on assignment at Harvard will, in general, be ineligible to use emergency excused absence to sustain pay. In those limited instances in which Schools or Units determine the need to maintain current service levels or increase them due to anticipated spring semester needs, excused emergency absence may be extended as necessary by their employers to sustain regular pay of contract workers.
Given the rapid changes and challenges 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.
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, glacier tax compliance, and global payrolling. See the Office of the Controller website for details.
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.
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.
HUECU is committed to meeting the needs of its members and Harvard community during this challenging time. HUECU is working on several fronts to provide relief and individualized assistance to every impacted person.
For HUECU members with current HUECU loans, there are payment relief options available, including up to three-month payment deferment for some loans and credit cards.
For individuals looking for additional funds, HUECU is offering a 0% emergency loan for HUCTW members. Depending on your unique situation, there may be other options available if you submit a Request for Assistance form.
For more information about HUECU’s offerings, visit the HUECU website.
Health and Wellbeing
The health and wellbeing of our staff is of utmost priority. We recognize the transition to remote work has been difficult and that physical distancing measures have drastically altered our social lives. Visit the Health and Wellbeing page for information on preventative measures, resources on managing stress, anxiety, and fear; and more.
Although we are all practicing physical distancing, we can still laugh, play, learn, and grow closer outside of class and work. Explore the many free virtual events and resources on our Socialize Remotely page—including arts and culture, exercise and games, movies and music, and mindfulness and spirituality.
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: