These are the themes that emerged from the staff feedback that we collected in April 2021, asking for their thoughts on repopulating campus after more than a year of working remotely, and a summary for each:
Training and development
Remote work is working out better professionally for some staff than others. Some would like to continue working remotely, at least for part of the time, and others are looking forward to coming back to campus full-time. Resources on melding the two would be very welcome.
Childcare continues to be an issue, with limited daycare options and while school-aged children are learning remotely during the pandemic. Also, some staff feel like they always have to be “on” and available.
Mental health and wellness
Some are feeling disconnected and isolated. Also, some staff who might like to continue working remotely, don’t have an ergonomically safe set-up option at home. Also, they are paying out of pocket for supplies and “big-ticket” items like a chair or a monitor, for example.
Fairness and accountability
Some have shared with colleagues that they are not using paid time away (PTA) benefits for personal activities. Others who are working on campus feel they are not being treated as fairly as those who are working remotely.
While this isn’t exclusive to those working remotely, staff don’t know to what kind of campus they are potentially returning, as staff reductions and program reorganizations continue to develop.
Those staff who are having a successful remote work experience are grateful for the support and flexibility afforded them to still be able to do their jobs well.