Hybrid Work Model (July 8, 2021)

Staff colleagues,

I hope your summer is off to a good start. I am writing to let you know that we are modifying the requirement that all employees work in person at the College beginning on September 1.
Instead, we will allow some remote work to continue this fall. Most of us will need to be on campus full time, including those who have student-facing jobs, those who must be on campus to carry out their work, or those with jobs that have clear and important advantages to being here. However, other staff may be able to engage in hybrid work, being off-site on some type of regular basis as approved by the senior staff member responsible for their division. All employees—including those working in a hybrid mode—are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 no later than Tuesday, August 24. As a reminder, we will be returning to having all classes taught on campus and in person.

This model will be in place for the full fall semester while we consider a long-term policy for the College. Both the “placeholder” structure for the fall and our long-term plan will be underpinned by three essential ideas: 1) the College is intentionally designed to provide our students with intense personal learning and broadly defined educational experiences with substantial amounts of human contact across everything we do (the power of this model has been strongly reinforced by the pandemic); 2) we value and count on community, collegiality, collaboration, and engagement with the life of the College from every employee; and 3) flexibility in work arrangements should enhance productivity.

As I announced in April, we have a group led by Brian Robinson in human resources that is looking carefully at whether a hybrid work model would be valuable and feasible for the College going forward. The group’s analysis will include a survey of employees and will also examine a variety of factors, including eligibility among positions, equity, professional development, cultural implications, attracting talent, and technology needs, among others. The group’s findings and recommendations are due back to me later in the fall, and the senior staff and I will use these to consider a new campus-wide policy on hybrid work. The group’s report will be made available to the campus community.

Nearly every organization in the country is grappling with questions about on-site and hybrid work and there is great uncertainty about the best models and about how to deal effectively with the many issues they raise. It is important to note that a hybrid work model is different from what we experienced over the past fifteen months when many of our operations were limited or shut down completely and when most of us were working remotely. With the College again fully open and operating normally beginning this fall, we will need to be thoughtful about how we provide flexibility in certain jobs in this environment while remaining true to the three essential ideas described above.

You will be hearing about the possibilities for hybrid work for the fall semester from the leadership in your division by Friday, July 30.

As always, thank you for all that you do for our students, for one another, and for the College.

All the best,

Clayton