Return to Campus for Employees

Stepping Forward Together

While the state has allowed workplaces to operate at 50% for a few weeks now, CMU has deliberately taken a go-slow, conservative approach out of an abundance of caution.  That said, a return to the workplace may be an adjustment for some and will certainly feel different for all. Part of the go-slow approach has been to ensure the return plan accommodates CMU community members who are vulnerable or living with someone who is vulnerable to COVID-19. Data continues to show impacts from COVID-19 are exponentially more pronounced in higher age demographics than in the student population. Therefore, CMU will work with employees and faculty in higher risk categories to accommodate this fact.

CMU must also acknowledge that new technologies and new methods for communication should permanently be part of our professional lives. However, while some of these changes are benefits, new uncertainties about social protocols and physical workspaces may initially take some adjustment.

Working remotely for two months means people have settled into new, and in some cases, comfortable routines. For others, "Stay at Home" and "Safer at Home" may have been stressful and challenging. In either case, in-person work for employees is important for the same reason that in-person learning is important for students –we are stronger as a team, together.

CMU doesn't believe returning to work should happen overnight. For this reason, the Safe Together, Strong Together Task Force proposes the following incremental return called Stepping Forward Together.

Workplace Health and Safety

  • Supervisors should access the Easing Back to Campus Checklist for supervisors. This simple checklist is a guide for ensuring workplace safety and protocols are in place across campus. During this phase supervisors may return to campus to assess their department or physical workspace and be sure all spaces are in compliance with the university’s guidelines. The checklist will provide guidance on what is required.
  • Those employees in a vulnerable category for COVID-19, or with special considerations, can work with their supervisor and HR to extend remote work. CMU flextime allowances and pre-pandemic HR policies around remote work will be updated and will remain in place.
  • Also, during this time, supervisors should schedule a walk through with a member of the Facilities Department to walk through their workplace and make any necessary adjustments to ensure compliance.
  • Once complete, supervisors should schedule time with one of the ST2 Co-Chairs to do a final walk through.
  • Employees should plan to work with their supervisors to return to campus to assess your workspace and review the Safe Together, Strong Together "easing back" checklist for employees. This checklist includes required training about new workplace safety and what your responsibilities are to create a safe and effective campus work environment to ensure we are Safer Together.
  • Employees should review information about CMU's commitment to ensuring a healthy campus Return to Campus Updates

Evolving jobs duties, new opportunities and using different workplace skills

Our return to campus also serves as an opportune time to pause and reflect on where we have been as a campus over the last few months. Many of us have new or modified roles as the university undertook a significant redeployment effort. While this has served the university well, now is the time to review those redeployments as well as current workload to be sure they still make sense for the university and for each department. The goal during this time is to ensure the university continues to operate efficiently and effectively during this time.

  • Supervisors should work with their respective Vice Presidents to review individual employee roles and workloads. CMU has engaged in significant efforts to fine tune its redeployment process. Additional needs for work in Admissions, IRIS, Facilities and others still remain.
  • Continued redeployment is needed. With proper VP approval, employees may still find themselves redeployed to meet the university’s highest needs. While we all want to return to a sense of normal, that may not be possible during this time.

Workplace Health and Safety

  • In step two, managers and staff are encouraged to work from campus at least 50% of their time, or more depending on individual department needs. During hitting our stride, teams should work together to communicate about how to navigate social distance guidelines, appropriate use of face masks, discuss and adapt new office protocols and learn how to work effectively in the new workplace environment.
  • Managers should hold weekly meetings and discuss openly what people like about the return, and what challenges employees are facing. Managers should share this information with the Safe Together, Strong Together Co-Chairs so that if additional changes or accommodations are necessary, such adaptions can be considered or implemented.

Evolving jobs duties, new opportunities and using different workplace skills

  • Employees should make accommodations for childcare, even if continuing to work remote. Employees who need help accessing childcare should call Little Mavericks Learning Center immediately to reserve a spot. Additional childcare resources.

Workplace Health and Safety

After the fourth of July holiday, the ST2 Task Force will issue final recommendations for faculty and staff in relation to new workplace needs, protocols and or expectations based on the experience and feedback from steps one and two. The evolution of the pandemic may modify this schedule or require additional changes in the future.

After the July holiday, staff will be expected to return to work assuming no new unexpected state or federal health orders or guidance are issued that make this expectation unworkable. Those employees in a vulnerable category for COVID-19, or with special considerations, can work with their supervisor and HR to extend remote work. CMU flextime allowances and pre-pandemic HR policies around remote work will be updated and will remain in place.