Our Guiding Philosophy
RISD is a place-based institution that provides students with a transformative residential educational experience. With this as our guiding philosophy, we anticipate that most staff will continue to perform in-person, on-campus work to ensure the highest level of service to and engagement with students, faculty and each other.
RISD supports flexibility for hybrid and remote work arrangements depending on the nature and requirements of a department’s and an employee’s work. This flexibility offers greater work/life harmony, employee satisfaction and increased ability to diversify and retain our workforce.
Hybrid and Remote Work Policy
To support our guiding philosophy, RISD has implemented a policy that provides a consistent framework for hybrid and remote work arrangements and supports both staff and supervisors in successfully navigating their work experience at RISD. The policy complies with federal, state and local laws.
Types of Work Arrangements
Work arrangements come in all shapes and sizes—from working fully on-campus to working five days per week off-site to working one day per week off-site. They can also include flexibility in when an employee works vs. where they work. Depending on the nature of the work and the services provided to their constituents, regular and term-appointed staff are eligible for hybrid and remote work arrangements. Temporary and short-term employees who have hybrid or remote work needs may be subject to different terms of employment.
Hybrid Work is performed on campus with the flexibility to work remotely a set number of days per week at an agreed-upon location. Staff members must live within commuting distance of their on-campus work location. Staff members with approved Hybrid Work arrangements must work from an on-site location at least two days per week.
Remote Work is performed off-site at an agreed-upon location on a temporary, regular or semi-regular basis from a RISD-approved location. On occasion, some responsibilities may require an on-campus presence. While RISD supports remote work arrangements, in general, they are considered to be an exception to the policy.
Requesting Hybrid or Remote Work Arrangements
If you’re ready to formalize a hybrid or remote work arrangement, start by familiarizing yourself with the policy, and reviewing the necessary forms and tools below.
Keep in mind that when assessing whether to grant a request, the institution will take the following into account:
- RISD’s guiding philosophy and division plans related to hybrid/remote work
- the operational needs and services provided by the department, including the impact hybrid or remote arrangements will have on quality and consistency of service to students, campus partners and other constituencies
- the core responsibilities of each employee, the nature of each position and its suitability for hybrid/remote work
- Staff and their supervisors discuss the continuation of a previously approved hybrid work arrangement and work together to address any changes or modifications, as needed.
- The staff member initiates in Workday the “Request Hybrid and Remote Work Arrangement” process and selects Hybrid or Hybrid-Flexible. (Job aid for this process can be found in the Forms section below.)
- If the arrangement is approved, the agreement is completed in Workday.
The 2023 Renewal Request Process is used when there are no changes to the previously approved remote work arrangement including remote work location. Proceed to step 1 below.
For the continuation of a remote work arrangement that includes any change such as the remote work location, see the Request Process - Remote Work Arrangement - Exception tab below and follow the outlined steps.
- Staff and their supervisors discuss the renewal of a previously approved remote work arrangement.
- The staff member initiates in Workday the “Request Hybrid and Remote Work Arrangement” process and selects Remote Annual Agreement Renewal. (A job aid for this process can be found in the Forms section below.)
- If the renewal request is approved, the agreement is completed in Workday.
- Staff and their supervisors discuss the proposal and work together to address problems or known challenges and to develop the best possible arrangements for the situation.
- Managers may ask that staff members provide additional information relevant to the proposed arrangement or needs of the department, as needed.
- The staff member initiates the proposal using the Hybrid and Remote Work Arrangement Request Process for Employee in Workday. (Job aid for this process can be found the the Forms section below.)
- If the arrangement is approved, the agreement is completed in Workday.
- To facilitate the understanding of the specific arrangement and the impact the arrangement will have on the quality and consistency of services to students, campus partners and constituents, the requesting staff member completes the Staff Members Requesting a Remote Work Arrangement form. (This can be found in the Forms section below.)
- Staff and their supervisors discuss the proposal and work together to develop the best possible arrangements for their situation.
- Supervisors may ask that staff members provide additional information relevant to the proposed arrangement or needs of the department, as needed.
- The staff member initiates the proposal using the Hybrid and Remote Work Arrangement Request Process for Employee in Workday. (A job aid for this process can be found the the Forms section below.)
- If the supervisor conditionally approves of the remote work arrangement, they initiate a Remote Work Exception Request in Workday. (A Hybrid and Remote Work Arrangement Review Process for Manager job aid can be found the the Forms section below.)
- The exception request is routed according to the required approvals.
- If the exception request is approved, the agreement is completed in Workday.
Hybrid arrangements are considered approved once the agreement initiated in Workday has been signed by the employee, their supervisor and Human Resources
Remote arrangements are an exception offered under the Hybrid and Remote Work Policy and as such require a different level of approval. Although some staff members had existing remote work arrangements during the pilot program, such pre-existing work arrangements will be subject to these guidelines in all respects, and a new approval process and agreement must be completed for all remote work requests.
Remote work requests taking place in the designated states (RI, MA, CT, NH, VT, ME, NY) will be reviewed by:
- Cabinet member representing the requesting department
- Human Resources
Remote work requests in non-designated states require the following approvals:
- Position Review Committee
- Human Resources
All remote work arrangements and/or exceptions to this policy must be requested and granted or denied via Workday.
A staff member whose request for a hybrid or remote work arrangement is denied may seek a final review of the decision using the process outlined in the Hybrid and Remote policy.
Resources for Success: Staff
- Access. It’s important to have access to an internet connection that is reliable and enables you to connect to RISD’s network, participate in Zoom meetings and more. Close down large software and competing virtual meeting programs while on video calls to minimize glitches.
- Communicate. Don't assume your manager or your team knows what you're doing. Work out loud when you can, sharing your progress with your team as you go, and sending your supervisor regular updates.
- Be disciplined in your work habits. This means keeping a regular schedule and being available when your colleagues need you. For some people, being disciplined about work also means dressing professionally every day.
- Set up an "office." You don't have to have a separate room devoted to work, but it can be helpful to have a dedicated space that you think of as where you "go to work." If you don't have a room you can use, carve out a distraction-free zone where you can get some privacy, such as a room where you can close the door.
- Be aware of your surroundings. If you're on video, try to keep your background uncluttered, blur your background or use digital wallpaper if you’re unable to do so. If you have a window behind you, you're going to show up as a dark silhouette, so be sure you have some light on your face.
- Know your audience. We've all seen that video where the toddler wanders into the room while dad is on a high-stakes video call. There are times when it's perfectly fine for a child or pet to make an appearance (in fact, at times this can help build important personal relationships with close team members). But for all those other times, be sure to keep your office door closed. And keep in mind, the mute button is your friend.
Make Social Connections
Having close friends at work is important to both your job satisfaction and productivity. Building those relationships can be harder at a distance, so:
- Create a virtual water cooler. This is part of building personal relationships. When you're at home, you miss out on those casual, drive-by encounters where you chat about work, TV shows or something interesting you're reading. These days, you can create a virtual water cooler through common persistent chat software such as Slack or Google Chat. Start a water cooler channel where you share links, observations and personal stories.
- Raise your hand. Sometimes it can feel like it's “out of sight, out of mind” when you're working at home. To maintain your profile, get involved wherever you can, including committees or special projects. Research shows people who volunteer do better in all aspects of their well-being, including work, health, money and life in general.
- Build community. Remote meetings don't have to be 100 percent transactional. When appropriate, take time to ask about your colleagues' lives or share something personal to break the ice. To form closer relationships, consider taking walk-and-talk meetings or scheduling virtual coffee or lunch over video. If you can get into the office occasionally, schedule informal in-person meet-ups.
*Adapted from Fidelity Investments Employee Value of Benefits Research
When it comes to maintaining well-being, you'll want to lean into the good things—the flexibility to take more time for yourself, get some exercise and eat healthy.
Establish a Consistent Schedule
In a hybrid workplace, you need to think of ways to maximize your performance. First, think about what time of day you are at your best. For example, maybe you are most productive early in the morning or late at night. Then determine what schedule works for you and stick to it. Also, when splitting your time between home and the office, create routines for each of these days. Determining which tasks are best accomplished at home and which are done best at the office is essential if you want to thrive in a hybrid work setting.
Create Healthy Boundaries
If you are working from home, it is not realistic to expect that you will be sitting at your desk for eight straight hours. Instead, take regular breaks throughout the day. If you control your work hours at home, they don’t have to mirror those you keep in the office. Set a regular start and end time to your day and discuss boundaries around evenings and weekends with your manager. Clearly define what constitutes an “emergency” versus something that can wait until the next business day. Establishing agreements like these will make you more productive and prevent you from burning out.
Focus on Outcomes
Now that many of us are working remotely, it’s time to let go of the idea that work is measured in hours. Instead, focus on outcomes. Promote transparency around how people use their time and flexibility in how work gets done. That way, you reinforce that team member participation is judged by contribution rather than location.
*Adapted from "5 Tips To Thrive In A Hybrid Work Environment", Forbes.com Caroline Castrillon, Contributor, Forbes.com; March 6, 2022
Resources for Success: Managers
- Not trusting your people: For remote workers, it can feel difficult to trust well and get to know someone who you might never have actually met in person. Managers don't always have the luxury of physically checking in on their team members, so trust really has to be learned.
- Skipping your 1-1s: Finding the time to do 1-1s can feel like an impossibility, but the payoff can be huge if they're implemented well. It's also one of the best ways to really get to know your team professionally, so we really recommend scheduling them when you can.
- Focusing on working hours: One of the reasons why people choose to work remotely is the flexibility it offers for the working day. But a lot of managers still focus on the hours that someone works and not actually the output. It's a real throwback to normal office working conditions, and it's best not to carry the practice into the remote world.
- Not finding time to connect with the team: Connecting with the team requires more effort and time as a manager. Without doing it, a lot of the interactions that happen in an office just won't take place with a remote team. It’s another example of something that really has to be scheduled into your calendar.
- Thinking that meetings will solve your problems: What works in the office doesn't always work in the remote world. Meetings are a key example of something that just doesn't translate so well with a remote team. It's a difficult habit to kick, but it will ultimately save you time and get the message across quicker if you avoid remote meetings.
- Overlooking the personal and professional development of your remote team: In your role as a manager, you need to invest time and dedication into the development of your team. Your team members will appreciate it and become more engaged, and they are much more likely to stay with you if you show some care.
- Failing to communicate: Communication really is one of the cornerstones of remote work. For a manager, it's even more important to practice the skill as your team members rely on you for guidance and task setting.
- Not setting the standard for your team: There's nothing worse than setting a bad example for your remote team. It's a sure-fire way to make your team members feel disengaged and encourage them to develop similarly bad work habits. You have to set a good example in order to have everyone be on their best game.
- Not setting clear expectations: Improving your overall transparency has a lot of benefits for a remote team, including the setting of clear expectations. We're not all together in the same office space, so everything should be laid out explicitly to avoid any confusion over your team's goals.
*Adapted from remote-how.com “10 Mistakes to Avoid When Managing a Virtual Team”
Forms and Guidelines
- Manager’s Guide to Hybrid and Remote Work Arrangements
- Hybrid and Remote Work Assessment Tool
- Hybrid and Remote Work Arrangements Checklist
- Form for Staff Members Requesting a Remote Work Arrangement
- Workday job aid: Hybrid and Remote Arrangements - Employee
- Workday job aid: Hybrid and Remote Arrangements - Manager
Hybrid and remote employees will need certain equipment to be successful in their work. This includes:
- Computers: All staff will use RISD-owned computers equipped with the latest virus and intrusion detection software.
- WiFi: Employees are expected to have access to WiFi or a personal hotspot. These must be reliable and of adequate bandwidth in order to connect to the RISD network and participate in virtual meetings.
- Phone: RISD will provide phone access via Zoom. Employees can access their RISD phone through personal handheld device or through a RISD laptop.
- Printers: RISD will not normally fund home print devices, paper or ink/toner. Employees can print documents when they come to campus.
- Peripherals: Certain roles may require peripheral equipment. This might include microphones/headsets, monitors, keyboards, etc. Contact ITS before acquiring peripheral equipment. If a purchase is deemed necessary, departments can fund on a case-by-case basis upon approval of their divisional vice president.
Employee expectations are as follows:
- Perform RISD-related work on RISD-provided equipment.
- Keep RISD-provided computers secure when not in use.
- Connect to the RISD network via virtual private networking (VPN).
RISD will provide training on use of VPN and other security measures, as well as on software such as Zoom, Canvas, Zoom Phone, Series 25, etc.
Each department is expected to identify opportunities for potential reconfiguration of space based on hybrid and/or remote schedules. These opportunities could include:
- shared office/workspaces
- shared meeting spaces
- changes in location of work
RISD maintains approximately 141,000 square feet of office space. As we look to a long-term work strategy, we will assess opportunities to:
- share and reconfigure space
- consolidate offices
- repurpose space that becomes free
- accommodate growth
Consider the following options for spaces that support hybrid work:
The following would be provided in the “hoteling” model:
- groups of desks/offices for scheduled use when on campus
- laptops for office or remote use
- centrally located office equipment (printers, scanners, etc.)
- private storage space for personal files, etc.
Note that, at a minimum, a scheduling tool (e.g., 25 Live) is necessary to implement a hoteling model.
Desk/office sharing model
In this model
- two or more employees would share desks/offices on alternate/different days (or on alternating schedules).
- bookable office space would be available for privacy or use when employees are unexpectedly on campus.
Employees who work remotely need to maintain an appropriate work area to limit distractions.
Fewer people coming to campus will aid RISD’s sustainability efforts. Employees who need to come to campus will need to obtain a parking hangtag from the Department of Public Safety to access RISD parking areas.
We will need to coordinate work schedules to maximize parking capacity. To reduce single-vehicle commuting, RISD will continue to encourage the use of public transportation (RIPTA, Amtrak, Commuter Rail) when practicable.
Because staff members may be required to come to campus to support coverage or other needs and because work performed by staff outside of Rhode Island may be subject to other state laws, filings, income taxes, hybrid remote work arrangements are limited to the following states. With limited exceptions, remote work may be approved outside these states in accordance with the Hybrid and Remote Work policy approval requirements.
- New Hampshire
- New York
- Rhode Island
Frequently Asked Questions
Are hybrid or remote arrangements appropriate as an alternative for childcare and/or care of other individuals?
Hybrid or remote work arrangements are not a substitute for family care arrangements. Employees are expected to focus on job responsibilities during designated work time, while others tend to family care responsibilities.
The staff member should discuss options for returning to work on campus with their supervisor in advance of their desired return date.
What happens if a staff member with a hybrid or remote work arrangement transfers to another department?
Since services provided by each department, as well as the nature and suitability of individual positions for hybrid/remote work, factor into these types of work arrangements, existing agreements do not transfer to the new department. Staff should explore the potential for hybrid or remote work arrangements with their new supervisor. If an arrangement for hybrid or remote work is established between the staff member and new supervisor, the staff member will initiate the formal request process and generate a new agreement in Workday.
Staff in non-exempt positions are eligible for hybrid work arrangements and, in limited circumstances, non-exempt staff may be considered for fully remote work arrangements. At this time, working outside of Rhode Island is not allowed for non-exempt staff due to the complexities of various wage and hour and overtime regulations in different states. Non-exempt staff are expected to report all hours worked and to obtain supervisory approval prior to working beyond scheduled hours and/or overtime hours. All RISD policies continue to apply.
For non-exempt staff including temporary employees where the department and staff member desires to have work performed outside of Rhode Island and not be employed by RISD, contact your HR Partner to explore options with RISD’s employment partner, AllSource PPS, for more information.
All arrangements should be reviewed regularly and a new agreement should be completed annually. The supervisor and staff member must include regular reviews of the arrangement to decide what is working and what needs to be improved or enhanced.
How should a supervisor handle a situation where it may be appropriate to approve one person’s request for a hybrid or remote work arrangement, but deny the request of others?
All decisions should be focused on objective criteria including the operational needs and services provided by the department, the impact on services to constituents, the core responsibilities and the successful performance of the staff member for hybrid/remote work. A consistent approach to analyzing the situation should be applied. Then, it is important to communicate the decision and rationale to each requestor. Documenting the basis for these decisions is always a good idea to provide clarity to the requestor and in case questions arise later. HR Partners can help you develop objective criteria to use and a strategy for communicating your decision.
The supervisor can terminate or amend the agreement based on a number of reasons, including changes in operations, staffing, leadership and performance. Should a scheduling change arise in a hybrid or remote arrangement, the supervisor will provide as much notice as possible. If the termination to the arrangement is not mutually agreed upon, the supervisor must provide written notice to the staff member at least 10 business days before the change.
Will RISD provide reimbursement for equipment, supplies and other furnishings for my home work area?
Participating staff will have RISD owned laptops, however all other supplies and equipment are the responsibility of the staff member. Since hybrid and remote work arrangements are for the convenience of the employee, staff members are responsible for establishing and furnishing a RISD-approved remote work area, and RISD does not assume cost incurred as result of a hybrid or remote work arrangement, unless otherwise required by law. Refer to the Hybrid and Remote Work policy for additional information.
If a staff member disagrees with a denial of a request for a hybrid or remote work arrangement, there is a process outlined in the policy to informally and formally request a review of the denial decision.
Are agreements submitted during the pilot program still valid, or are staff expected to submit updated agreements?
Although some staff members had existing hybrid or remote work arrangements during the pilot program, such pre-existing work arrangements will be subject to these guidelines in all respects, and a new approval process and agreement must be completed for all hybrid and remote work requests.
Following the approval of a remote work agreement and if a staff member is working in a state other than Rhode Island, their tax withholding will be updated to reflect the state where work is being performed. Staff members working in these arrangements are responsible for all tax obligations that may result from working outside of Rhode Island. Staff are encouraged to consult with a qualified tax professional to discuss income tax implications.
With questions about RISD’s Hybrid and Remote Work Program for Staff, contact Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org.