Coronavirus Remote Work Resources


A major goal for Harvard right now is to use telework – to the extent possible – to sustain operational continuity and increase social distancing during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 public health emergency.

Departments and units across Harvard are grappling with how best to implement or “scale up” telework under these circumstances. The information here contains basic principles and best practices that support successful telework under normal conditions, and provide guidance for employees and managers to implement effective telework now.

You will find highlighted resources that can support teams’ decision-making processes, and places to abbreviate or modify current practices in the new Telework Continuity Toolkit.

  • While the principles that govern the University’s guidelines emphasize the need for a written proposal, this sometimes lengthy process can be abbreviated or eliminated.
  • Under emergency conditions, departments and units may instead need to focus on developing a communications plan that supports business continuity while teleworking.
  • The guidelines stress the importance of maintaining the social connections that are often important to successful teams. Social distancing measures make this challenging. Try thinking about it this way: what we need now is physical spacing and social connectivity.
  • The Get Ready to Work Remotely site provides HUIT’s introduction to the tools and resources you’ll need for productive remote work, including information security requirements for your personal devices.
  • All employees must still follow Harvard’s information security policy and consider which of three secure configuration options will best serve remote work during what could be a protracted period.
  • Under non-emergency circumstances, engaging in substantial non-Harvard activities is not permitted when teleworking. Now, however, Harvard realizes that closed schools and disruptions of care arrangements may mean that employees must balance family caregiving tasks with work tasks at the same time.

Looking at Work in a New Way

Using the Flexwork Tools and Resources Guide

Business Continuity and Communication

Managing at a Distance

University Resources

The SOURCE Program: SOURCE (Subsidy for Occasional, Unplanned, and Respite Care Expenses) is a reimbursement program that helps income-eligible employees work when child or adult care is unavailable.

The WATCH Portal: WATCH (Web Access to Care at Harvard) connects faculty, staff, and student parents with Harvard students and affiliates who want to provide long and short-term child care, including occasional babysitting.

Harvard’s Employee Assistance Program: Harvard’s EAP, provided by KGA, has counselors available 24/7 to help. Note: KGA is now offering both telehealth counseling and chat options. KGA can also assist in identifying local care providers to meet back-up care needs. Register on their website for articles, resources, tools, and training programs. The EAP is just a phone call away: 877-327-4278 (877-EAP-HARV).

Care@Work: Benefits-eligible faculty and staff have access to pre-vetted back-up care, senior care advising, and the digital platform with thousands of resources for self-directed searches. Note: You must register in advance to use their services; when you do, you will have access to new protocols and requirements regarding in home back-up care to protect everyone’s health during the coronavirus outbreak.

Mindfulness at Work: Harvard University provides a variety of mindfulness meditation classes throughout the year. Benefits of meditation include increases in concentration, productivity, physical and psychological resilience, and the ability to respond skillfully to stressful situations. Meditation is also effective in decreasing depression, physical pain, emotional reactivity, and reliance on unhealthy coping behaviors.

Note: The spring mindfulness programming has been moved from in-person classes to virtual sessions available remotely via Zoom. Benefits-eligible faculty and staff can sign up in the Harvard Training Portal (Harvard Key Required) for these sessions. Current enrollees will receive more information regarding this change.