What is the “Future of Work at WPI Planning Group” and who is/was on it?
In April, President Leshin created The Future of Work at WPI Planning Group and tasked it with responsibility for drafting a Remote and Flexible Work Policy and associated guidelines that will help managers and employees navigate these arrangements. The group consisted of representatives from the President’s Office, the Office of the General Counsel, Facilities, Finance, Advancement, Marketing & Communications, Strategic Initiatives, Student Affairs, Talent and Inclusion, Information Technology and Academic Affairs.
When will this policy become effective?
The policy will become effective June 1, 2021, on an interim basis. Thereafter, it will be reviewed as part of the Administrative Policy Group’s APG Process.
Who does this policy apply to?
This policy applies to all non-faculty WPI employees. It does not apply to (1) faculty; (2) student workers; or (3) employees subject to a collective bargaining agreement.
What is the difference between “Remote Work,” “Flexible Work” and “FlexWork”?
“Remote Work” refers to an employee working off-campus. “Flexible Work” refers to an employee’s non-traditional schedule (e.g., flexible hours, compressed workweek), regardless of being in-person or remote. “FlexWork” refers to an employee’s arrangement with their manager that includes any combination of “remote” or “flexible” work.
Is this policy consistent with what other colleges and universities are doing?
Yes. This policy is in line with other universities, including Boston University, Harvard, Tufts, Virginia Tech and Cornell, among others.
Who makes the decision whether FlexWork is appropriate for an employee?
Division Heads (or their designees) should consult with managers in their divisions to discuss their Division’s plan for Flex Work. However, ultimately, your manager is the person who must approve a FlexWork arrangement.
What should I do if I disagree with my manager’s decision not to offer me a FlexWork arrangement?
Ultimately, it is your manager’s decision whether a FlexWork arrangement works, based on a host of factors that can be reviewed in the Remote and Flexible Work Guidelines, including the type of job, the responsibilities of the role, and the needs of your manager and “customer.” Not all jobs are amenable for Flex Work. However, if you disagree with your manager’s decision, you should have a conversation with them about it and/or contact Talent & Inclusion. WPI’s Grievance Procedure outlined in the WPI Employee Benefits and Policies Manual may be used to resolve difficulties that cannot be worked out via an informal discussion.
I do not live in Massachusetts. Am I eligible for FlexWork?
It depends. For legal, benefits, and tax reasons, if you live in a state other than Massachusetts, you may not be able to participate in FlexWork and you and your manager should contact Talent & Inclusion for more information.
In addition, before your FlexWork arrangement is approved, employees who live in a state other than Massachusetts should contact Talent & Inclusion to discuss the impact of the FlexWork arrangement on taxes and employee benefits, such as healthcare.
I have had performance issues in the past. Does this disqualify me for FlexWork?
Not necessarily. However, it is ultimately your manager’s decision to approve a FlexWork arrangement.
If I am injured while doing FlexWork at my home, am I eligible for workers’ compensation?
Please contact Talent & Inclusion. Workers’ compensation coverage is limited to the designated work area in your home or alternate work location and applies only during your agreed-upon work hours.
If I am a “remote” employee does that mean I do not have an office on-campus?
The nature of an employee’s FlexWork arrangement will dictate whether the employee has a dedicated on-campus office or whether the employee will utilize shared workspace when on campus. If you are an employee with a FlexWork Agreement who works 60% or more remotely, you will be expected to de-commit your on-campus office and book unassigned shared space (“hoteling space”) when you are working on campus.
I am a partially or fully remote employee. Will WPI pay for my home office equipment?
WPI will provide each employee with only one set of office equipment to be used remotely or on campus (i.e., desk chair, laptop computer, docking station, monitor, mouse, keyboard, headset, and any equipment or assistive technology for employees with disability accommodations approved by Talent & Inclusion).
I am a partially or fully remote employee. Will WPI pay for my home internet access?
No. Employees must provide their own Wi-Fi connectivity at their alternate work location at their own cost.
I am a remote employee. Will WPI reimburse me for my travel expenses if/when I need to come to campus?
It depends. If you are one hundred percent (100%) remote for WPI’s benefit (e.g., a Frontline Fundraiser assigned to a particular region of the country), WPI will reimburse you for commuting expenses when you must travel to campus. If you are less than one hundred percent (100%) remote (e.g., the employee prefers to work remotely and the manager agrees the job may be done remotely), then any commuting expenses incurred for travel to campus will be borne by you.
I am a partially or fully remote employee. Can I use my own computer (e.g., laptop, desktop, iPad, Surface, etc.) in addition to, or in place of, my WPI computer for my work?
No. Employees must use a WPI-issued computer when conducting university business, as there are security and other risks associated with using non-sanctioned WPI equipment.
I am a partially or fully remote employee. Can I use my cell phone for work phone calls and work emails?
Is FlexWork training required or optional?
FlexWork training is strongly encouraged for managers, the FlexWork employee, and any team members.
I am a partially or fully remote employee and I have a disability. How do I ensure that my home office is set up in a way that accommodates my disability?
Whether you are working in-person or remote, any employee who feels they need a disability accommodation at WPI or at their alternate work location should contact Talent & Inclusion.
How do I balance dependent care responsibilities with FlexWork?
Employees should be aware of their dependent care needs during their FlexWork hours. Managers and employees should explore FlexWork arrangements that anticipate dependent care needs and provide for uninterrupted work time.
If WPI closes for a weather emergency, do I still need to complete my FlexWork day from home?
If you are able to complete your FlexWork day from home despite the weather emergency, you will be expected to do so.
Can my manager terminate my FlexWork agreement at any time?
An employee with a FlexWork agreement will be provided at least thirty (30) days’ notice of termination of the FlexWork Agreement.
If I sign a FlexWork Agreement, does that mean I have an employment contract with WPI?
No. Unless you have an existing employment agreement, your employment with WPI remains on an “at-will” basis. This means your employment may be terminated at any time, with or without notice and with or without cause.