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There are 16 comments on Staff Excited about Remote Work Policy, although Some Want More

  1. Good to see this. I intend to take full advantage of this and plan to work fully remote. This will allow me to move to New Hampshire where housing is cheaper and quality of life better. My interactions with faculty and students was better during covid on zoom than ever and now we can make that permanent.

  2. So an academic advisor tasked with serving freshmen and sophomores and a Director of Student Services tasked with serving the same population are going to be permitted to WFH? Those are precisely the positions that need to be on campus.

    1. And they WILL be on campus most of the time. It’s up to supervisors, the time of the academic year, etc. Some students preferred the flexibility of meeting over zoom from wherever they were and not having to rush across campus from class or their dorm. But now they will have a choice of in-person meetings OR virtual meetings. There’s no harm in that. Students will still be served in-person and advisors will still be available to them.

    2. Hi, Terrier,

      Students across the university have said that during the pandemic they really appreciated having some advising appointments outside the normal 9-5 M-F work hours. Flexible work arrangements mean that advisors can meet with students at times that work well for both students and advisors.

      1. Remote work should NOT be equated to working outside of M-F, 9am-5pm. Flexible hours are a different issue entirely and just because someone is working remotely doesn’t mean they should be expected to be available at all times.

      2. I believe it, Dean McKnight, but I’m curious how long your staff and those at other school/colleges will keep up their willingness to meet with students on nights and weekends before the pendulum swings the other way and they decide they want boundaries again.

        I know this won’t be a perfect system but the high performers who already work 40+ hours whether in-person, hybrid or fully remote will continue to hold the water for those who take WFH to mean they can take their foot off the gas, take less meetings with students, not answer a call or email promptly, etc. Forgive my cynicism but I’ve been burned too many times by bad employees during the pandemic and no support from HR.

      3. We are 9-5 paid employees. Pres Brown letter acknowledges “off-campus workers are available during normal campus working hours of 9 am to 5 pm. When possible…meetings should be scheduled during core business hours (10 am to 3 pm)…”

        Staff said it best, remote should NOT be equated to working outside of 9-5 schedules. And remote work should not assume flexible hours will be offered.

        Terrier your asking when the “pendulum swings the other way and staff decides to want boundaries again” needs further consideration. We are working professionals, not personal assistants. Boundaries ensure manageable expectations and a healthy work-life balance.

    3. Today’s students want to and are used to getting feedback and assistance remotely. Students don’t want to and — prior to the pandemic — weren’t coming to offices for face-to-face assistance.

  3. I’d love to hear more perspective from those not student facing told to come in and sit at a cubicle with a cloth over their face for 7 to 8 hours a day while management and directors are capable of sitting behind a closed door unmasked.

    1. I am a staff member -not student facing-and I have been back at the office since June of last year. 5 Days a week at first, then pulled back to 3 days in person when classes got up and running well in October. Yes, I wear my mask in our suite for 9 hours a day in my cubicle. Is it ideal? Of course not. Has it kept us safe and kept our function at the University running for the past 15 months. Yes, it has. Our management can take their masks off in their offices, and I don’t begrudge them that benefit. When the University decides it’s OK for those of us vaccinated to be unmasked in our cubicles I’ll be happy for that-but until then, I’ll continue to follow the rules we’ve been abiding by for over a year.

    2. I work in a cubicle, and spend a good portion of my time in Zoom meetings. Many of those meetings were already online before the pandemic, and the fact that more staff will be WFH probably means we’ll have even fewer meetings in person. I’m going to try to schedule my WFH days on the days when I have the most Zoom meetings, so I don’t have to have a mask on. It’s kind of ironic, since you’d think that being with people in person would be the big advantage of coming to the office.

      I don’t begrudge anybody their private offices. Most folks with private offices seem to be happy to let others use them when they’re out.

      Honestly I’m hoping that by the time we’re all back on campus on a regular basis, masks won’t be required indoors.

  4. I’m happy to see that BU is going to give some folks the ability to work from home and am excited for my colleagues who get to take advantage! As HR/the university continue to hone and develop their WFH policies, I do hope they consider finding some alternate benefit for those “high-performing” staff deemed ineligible for WFH due to the nature of their work. Maybe some additional subsidy towards parking/commuting?

    1. I could not agree more! I have been saying this the entire time this conversation has been ongoing. The essential staff who have no choice but to work on campus are going to get the short end of the stick. No flexibility. No parking subsidies. The same 2% raises as everyone else. Prepare to be disappointed.

      1. Worth mentioning that many who will have the option to work from home 1-2 days per week probably won’t actually have any reduced commuting costs. If I’m able to be there 4 days a week going forward, I’ll need the same monthly commuter rail pass (and monthly commuter lot parking pass) I needed 5 days a week before the pandemic. Savings will probably only really be seen by those who drive.

        From my perspective, the bigger issue is the cost of it all in general (both a BU and Boston issue, so I agree BU can make progress toward this as they hone their policies!), not that some jobs can be done away from campus while others can’t.

        (That distinction seems unfair now to those who can’t be remote, but I imagine people hired henceforth will know whether their job qualifies for remote work, and can take the job with that factor in mind, or look for other options. Doesn’t help now, but is probably a long-term consideration for the university.)

        One last comment to put my opinions in perspective — before the pandemic, working from home wasn’t part of my role, but my supervisor worked from home one day per week. I never felt like he was gaining some benefit and I was entitled to something else to make things “even.” Perhaps it was naive of me, but I viewed it as “lucky duck, his job can be done remotely and mine [in our previous working culture] can’t.” That said, whatever my role ends up being able to do, if there ends up being a benefit for those who can’t work from home I’m very happy for everyone!

  5. This is a surprising step in the right direction! I hope BU admin continue to figure out accomodating everyone, including neuro-diverse people, who benefited greatly from WFH. Working in a professional environment where there are so many noises, people expecting unnecessary conversation, and other disruptions can be so frustrating and overwhelming for many. Maintaining WFH in this way is a foot in the door that I think can help us remember the ways that working over zoom and slack were more accessible. Though not every neuro-diverse person benefits from the same things.

    1. This is a point that a lot of people don’t or won’t think about. Not everyone benefits or even functions easily in a place where there are the constant distractions and disruptions of in-person office environments, but if they had their own controlled space, they’d be able to perform their job duties. I imagine that so many people over time who are penalized, or never promoted, or even fired for “not performing” were capable of doing the work, but not in that (ultimately unnecessary) setting.

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