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Remote and Hybrid Work Pilot

A Place-Based Institution

RISD is a place-based institution that provides students a transformative residential educational experience. With this as our guiding philosophy, we anticipate that most employees will continue to perform to in-person, on-campus work. This will ensure the highest level of service to and engagement with students, faculty and each other. However, depending on the nature and requirements of an employee’s work, RISD also supports increased flexibility.

Remote and Hybrid Work Pilot Program

Beginning September 2021, RISD implemented a pilot program allowing for remote and hybrid arrangements across administrative departments, as mutually agreed upon by managers and employees. Following a consistent and equal framework, managers and their Cabinet-level supervisors developed comprehensive pilot work plans for their areas.

The pilot program is not a “one size fits all” model applied across RISD. Arrangements are to be specific to each department’s work and in line with the institution’s mission.

Timeline and process

Pilot Program Update

On March 6, 2022, a letter from the President presented an update on the progress of the Hybrid/Remote Working group.  RISD will continue to support flexible work arrangements for its employees.  Flexible work policies will be developed and updated, including the necessary structures and policies to support managers and employees in their work.

Considerations for continued remote and hybrid work

When assessing whether to increase and/or continue remote or hybrid work arrangements based on the success of RISD’s Remote and Hybrid Work Pilot program, the college will continue to take the following into account:

  • RISD’s guiding philosophy and division plans related to remote work
  • the operational needs and services provided by the department including the impact remote or hybrid 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 remote/hybrid work

Managers and supervisors can also reference the RISD Manager’s Guide to the Remote and Hybrid Work Pilot Program until such time that the College publishes its new resources in May 2022.

Evaluation and longterm planning

A formal evaluation of the pilot, conducted January–February 2022 by the Future of Work Task Force, assessed the benefits and challenges of a flexible working environment. Led by Human Resources, the evaluation informed longterm recommendations made to Cabinet in time for the March 1 pilot end date.

Forms and Guidelines

Hybrid and remote employees will need certain equipment to be successful in their work. This includes:

  • Computers: All employees will have RISD-owned laptops managed through the RISD computer replacement program.
  • 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.

RISD will identify meeting spaces that can accommodate in-person and remote participation. These spaces will be available to schedule via Series 25.

RISD will not invest in significant reconfigurations of space or furniture for the pilot program.

Each department will run the pilot with their present facilities. They are also expected to identify opportunities for potential reconfiguration of space in time for the January–February 2022 assessment period. 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 after the pilot phase, we will assess opportunities to:

  • share and reconfigure space.
  • consolidate offices.
  • repurpose space that becomes free.

Consider the following options for spaces that support hybrid work:

“Hoteling”

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.

Remote office

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. For employees who need to come to campus, RISD will not charge for parking permits during the pilot period. However, employees 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.

RISD is developing a strategy to comply with state regulations for employees working in a hybrid or fully remote mode. The strategy addresses issues of taxation, worker’s compensation, minimum wage, paid time off, family leave and other regulations.

To minimize compliance concerns and costs, RISD will only accommodate remote/hybrid work for employees based in the following states:

  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont

Remote and Hybrid Work Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Are hybrid or remote arrangements appropriate as 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.

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 remote/hybrid work, factor into alternative work arrangements, existing agreements do not automatically transfer to the new department. Staff should explore the potential for alternative work arrangements with their new supervisor.

Are staff in non-exempt positions eligible for remote or hybrid arrangements?
Yes. All RISD policies continue to apply in these cases. Non-exempt employees are expected to report all hours worked and to obtain supervisory approval prior to working beyond scheduled hours and/or overtime hours.

What if a staff member working remotely or hybrid wants to return to on-site work?
The staff member should discuss options for renewing work on campus with their supervisor, ideally in advance of their desired return date.


Questions?

With questions about RISD’s Remote and Hybrid Work Pilot, contact Human Resources at humres@risd.edu.