Welcome to the New Remote Work Program Pilot

close-up of a hand writing in a notebook next to an open laptop Over the past year, Amherst College has responded to the pandemic by creating new and innovative ways of working and collaborating. We learned that we can engage and thrive as a community in a nontraditional and flexible environment, and many have valued this new found flexibility. As we begin to understand and define the future of work at Amherst, we have created a Remote Work Program pilot that is deeply aligned with our mission and aspirations. It includes options for remote and hybrid remote work, and is designed to be responsive to current and future workforce demands, operational requirements, and staff interests and needs.

The program includes options for remote and hybrid remote work, and is designed to be responsive to current and future workforce demands, operational requirements, and staff interests and needs. We are also reviewing the feasibility of broader flexible work options longer-term depending on the success of this Remote Work Program pilot.

We know that over 80% of U.S. workers want to maintain some level of remote work now that the pandemic is nearing its end, and that 75% of staff members report being able to maintain or improve productivity while working remotely. In order to meet the needs of our staff members, we are pleased to pilot this program. In addition, remote work can serve as a competitive differentiator for Amherst, as we know it will bolster our ability to attract and retain a diverse and talented workforce through:

  • Producing more diverse candidate pools
  • Providing greater affordability and accessibility of housing and commuting options for current and future staff
  • Addressing changing preferences and expectations for flexible and remote work among applicants and candidates
  • Elevating staff member engagement and retention by addressing needs and preferences for remote work.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Program Overview

The Remote Work Program pilot will be in place throughout the 2021-2022 academic year with a rolling transition from the pandemic remote work arrangement to the post-pandemic Remote Work Program pilot. On June 15, staff needed on campus in August were notified; it is anticipated that remote work agreements will be finalized in July and August in preparation for the academic year.

Three Options

  1. On-Site: Work performed on campus at Amherst College
  2. Hybrid: A regular work schedule that is a mix of on-site work at Amherst College and work performed remotely
  3. Remote: Work performed primarily remotely with occasional, periodic, or infrequent work performed on-site at Amherst College.

Example Schedules for Hybrid or Remote

  • A consistent weekly schedule that includes both on-campus and remote work time
  • A schedule based on specific times of the year for on-campus and remote work (e.g. during the semester v. semester breaks and summer)
  • A blend of on-campus and remote work based on specific types of job tasks (e.g. when delivering or covering on-site events v. planning and administrative work)
  • Other role-based schedules (e.g. the third week of each month on campus due to specific data processing activity)

Four-Step Process

We are currently in step 3 of this process, Implementation.  The initial learning module through Rise is scheduled to be completed by Friday, October 15, 2021. 

1. Discussion

  • Staff serving in roles potentially suitable for remote work may make a request to their supervisor.
  • Supervisors apply the Assessment Tool to evaluate each request and determine which roles and individuals are suitable for remote work.
  • Supervisors and staff members discuss potential interest in and options for remote or hybrid work using the Discussion Guide.

2. Agreement

  • The supervisor and staff member follow the Planning Checklist.
  • Before any remote or hybrid arrangement can be finalized, it must be reviewed and approved by the divisional leader.
  • The staff member and supervisor review and submit the Agreement Form.

3. Implementation

  • Staff members and supervisors complete the required remote work modules that will be offered throughout the pilot, and review other remote work opportunities and resources as needed.
    • The asynchronous learning platform which is being used as part of the Remote Work Program pilot is called Rise. The Rise platform can be accessed anytime using amherstcollege.rise.com, but the learning modules will not show up until a participant receives the welcome email. The first learning path consists of five modules, including a Welcome, six for supervisors. The first learning path is due October 15th, 2021.
  • The staff member works remotely based on the agreement.
  • The supervisor and staff member meet regularly.

4. Evaluation

  • Each supervisor and staff member will evaluate the arrangement 30 days after the start of the agreement, and again at the 3- and the 6-month marks.

Our Guiding Principles

As we define and shape the future of work for Amherst College, it is imperative that we sustain a deep commitment to a set of guiding principles in support of our mission and goals. 

These guiding principles will serve as the foundation of our Remote Work Program pilot:

  • Place serving students at the center of our plan in support of our mission to promote diversity of experience and ideas within a purposefully small residential community.
  • Support the operational needs of the College’s mission in service to students, faculty, and staff while adapting to the needs of a changing workforce.
  • Sustain our commitment to a culture that attracts, engages, and retains talented individuals and that is best suited to fulfill our mission and be a great place to work.  
  • Our plan must be reflective of our commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • We are committed to fostering a workplace environment that is flexible and recognizes ongoing navigation of staff career and life responsibilities.
  • Provide our leaders and supervisors with the necessary tools and resources to successfully implement and sustain the Remote Work Program pilot. 
  • Our plan must preserve a strong sense of community and collaboration for our students, faculty, and staff.
  • Regularly assess our progress and outcomes, and be flexible and adapt to emerging needs.
  • Equity will be an important consideration as we go through this Remote Work Program pilot, and the College is committed to a program that is equitable and fair.
    • The availability of remote work arrangements is based on the ability to perform responsibilities remotely and effectively while meeting operational and departmental needs.
    • In order to ensure equity and fairness all supervisors are being asked to follow a consistent process and to use a consistent criteria when evaluating the appropriateness of specific roles and individuals for remote work arrangements.
    • While the process and criteria are consistent, the outcomes may vary depending on the specifics of each situation.   

What to Expect: Program Guidelines

We have created the following guidelines and requirements for staff members who may work in a remote or hybrid remote arrangement:

Learning & Development Resources

Amherst recognizes this is a shift in the way we have done things in the past, and we are here to support our supervisors and staff members with the resources, tools, and information needed to support a successful Remote Work Program pilot. We will regularly update this webpage with resources and will provide individualized assistance as needed.

We have developed a set of learning modules to support a successful program. These modules can be accessed through amherstcollege.rise.comParticipating staff members and supervisors will need to complete the required remote work training that will be offered throughout the pilot, and review other remote work training and resources as needed.


Questions? For more information on remote work learning and development resources, please contact Ana Devlin Gauthier, adevlingauthier@amherst.edu.