Carnegie Mellon University

HR Guidance for Transitioning Staff to On-Campus Work and Flexible Work Arrangements

Phase I (July 6–August 30): Guidance for Staff Positions Remaining Remote or Transitioning to On-Site Work Prior to August 2021

In order for the university to provide expected services to faculty and students for the Fall 2021 semester and depending on the university’s density restrictions, supervisors and unit heads will need to determine which staff positions need to return to on-campus work, what the work schedules will be, and which staff positions will temporarily continue to work remotely. When these decisions are made, supervisors should communicate these decisions to the staff. Your HR business partner is available to assist with decisions and provide communication templates.

Phase II: Flexible Work Arrangements for Staff Positions Beyond August 2021

The president empaneled an advisory group to study flexible work arrangements for staff. This group will provide additional and more comprehensive guidance to supervisors and unit heads in Spring/Summer 2021 for decisions about staff positions returning to on-site work, temporarily remaining remote or transitioning to flexible work arrangements. This will be a phased approach and it is anticipated that the transitional period will extend through the 2021–22 academic year.  

Determining Work Arrangements by Assessing Staff Positions

When considering whether a position should continue temporarily off-site work, should be performed on-site, or if the position could have a flexible work schedule, the supervisor should consider whether the type of work or expectations of the work requires the staff member to be physically present on-site to do a task. Supervisors may need to review position descriptions and roles and responsibilities to make their decision. Throughout both phase I and II, all flexible work arrangements, including remote work, are considered temporary and allows the university time to successfully transition to a post-pandemic model. This guidance applies to all staff (current and newly hired).

With that said, supervisors have the ability to provide flexible work schedules to allow staff to transition to on-site work and to manage campus density levels. A phased approach for return to on-site work is optimal until steady state operations are achieved. This will allow the university to monitor space density and reduce risk of potential exposure. Supervisors are encouraged to stagger schedules which allows staff to resume on-site work on a rotating basis. If supervisors need assistance with return to on-campus work plans, schedules, or flexible work decisions, please reach out to your
HR business partner.

Once a supervisor makes the decision to return staff to on-site work full-time or through a flexible work arrangement, that decision is business-based, final and is not debatable by the staff member. Furthermore, once a work arrangement is determined, the supervisor should notify and/or discuss the details with the staff member. While the supervisor makes the decision based on business needs, it is expected that the supervisor consults with the staff member prior to making a decision and collaborates with the staff member to address concerns and/or challenges.