Returning to On-Site WOrk: General Information for All MAUs

These past 15 months of navigating a global pandemic and the intense challenges it created have truly tested us all. As Spartans, we have risen to that challenge and successfully continued our work in advancing knowledge and transforming lives. The progress made through safe and effective vaccines gives us great hope for our future, yet it is essential to note that we continue to operate within the pandemic workplace. 

Even if federal officials declare the pandemic “over” and reference COVID-19 as a personal health concern, employees may continue to be confronted with related issues. With this in mind, we prepare for a more typical year.

Four Guiding Principles that Informed this Work

  • Health & Safety: Maintaining a continuous focus on the health and safety of all individuals in the MSU community.
  • Meeting our Mission: Ensure the successful delivery of our teaching, research, and outreach imperatives through multiple modalities.
  • Employee Support: Providing leaders with resources to connect and collaborate with all employees ensures their well-being and success in their work.
  • Building Community: Commit to efforts that increase cross-functional work, interpersonal connections and a culture that pursues and embraces understanding.

Decisions are made within the Major Administrative Units (MAUs). To ensure alignment in policy and practices, departments/centers/institutes should first communicate with MAU leadership before moving forward with any workplace decisions relative to returning to the on-site workplace. MAUs have the flexibility to determine how their teams work best (in-person, remote, or hybrid), keeping equity and individual team member circumstances in mind.

It is expected that employees who have student-, faculty- or public-facing roles will be returning, in some capacity, to in-person positions. Leaders must support, encourage, and exhibit self-care and a balanced approach to work and personal life to achieve success and avoid burnout in a flexibility-driven workplace.

Leadership Requirements for All MAUs

Review the following requirements:

  • MAUs develop a plan and complete the Framework for Returning Administrative Units to Campus and obtain approval of the framework before employees return. This document outlines current protocol from MIOSHA. If the MAU already has an approved plan on file, they will not need to develop a new plan. In addition, all research laboratories, etc.  have approved plans and therefore the MAU does not to duplicate the plan.
  • Ensure that all returning employees have completed the EHS COVID-19 Safe Return Training.
  • Adhere to the MSU Community Compact, which outlines responsibilities for distancing and face coverings (notice will be provided to campus as updates are made to these guidelines and policies).
  • Units should not enter into any new permanent remote/hybrid workplace arrangements with returning employees at this time. Additional guidance for long-term solutions is being researched.
  • MAUs will plan for all on-site services to be fully functional by August 15, 2021.

Next Steps

Use the following checklist to help your unit prepare:

  • Begin planning employees’ return using the Workplace Decisions Guidance.
  • Determine a specific date that employees who have been working remotely will begin returning on-site. Provide at least four weeks of notice for employees. Those that wish to return prior to a four-week notice may do so with supervisor discretion.
  • Utilize a strategic phasing approach to bring small groups of employees back on-site over specific time intervals. This is critical to limit pressure on service reintegration units (IPF, IT Services) and ensure a smooth return for employees (see Key Information below).
  • Provide timely, clear, and frequent communications to all employees explaining what is happening and when.
  • Communicate with employees about work schedules, workplace expectations, and other organizational changes that may impact them.
  • Provide onboarding for new employees who may be arriving at the workplace for the first time.
  • Ask employees what questions or concerns they may have and work collaboratively and as a leadership team to address them as best as possible.
  • Consider linking to the Faculty and Staff webpage on the Together We Will website in your communications.

Key Information to Support Unit & Employee Transitions

All service units will have significant demands. Please be patient as services return to normal.

IPF has maintained its line flushing program throughout the year and is preparing to address water system needs, including restoring function to drinking fountains, bottle fillers, and other shared water sources as permitted by health officials, as buildings are slated to come back to occupied operational status.

Air quality has been addressed throughout the pandemic period. Detailed information is available here.

Additional service information can be found here.

MSU IT is proactively checking technology equipment and connectivity in centrally managed classrooms,
conference rooms, labs, and dormitories and recommends that local IT staff do the same for spaces managed by colleges and units. Comprehensive health and connectivity tests are being performed for the MSU network as well as telephone and cable TV systems. Infrastructure teams are prepared to scale monitoring and support as much heavier usage loads are anticipated as communities return to campus.

Various services will experience unusually high demand due to the number of students, faculty, and staff who joined MSU over the last year and have not yet had an on-campus presence. MSU IT is prepared to scale campus support in response to the phased return plans of our campus partners, in addition to the volume typically anticipated with the start of fall semester. MSU IT plans to scale these services accordingly, but longer response times should be expected and factored into your planning.

Some examples include:

  • Longer hold times on phone calls or longer response times for emails to the Service Desk, as well as potentially longer lead times to resolve incidents.
  • Potential delays in request fulfillment or delivery of new workstations from Field Services, Workstation support, or the Tech Store due to global supply shortages and demand.
  • Longer lines when picking up ID cards from the ID Office.
  • Delays in classroom support services due to exceptional demand.
  • Surges in conference room support requests may impact AVIT turnaround time for new installations and fixes due to the volume of conference rooms being brought back online; classroom support will be prioritized in these instances and outside vendors will be engaged as needed.
  • Some network issues only appear under heavy user load, despite robust testing of the technology.

Colleges and Units should engage with their local IT support to check setups such as DHCP re-registration and wifi connections as people transition from remote to on-campus work. Be advised that Windows or Apple updates and patches may need to be installed, and require time or rebooting that could be disruptive, for people whose machines have not been connected via VPN during remote work. Anyone in need of additional support, or unclear who their local IT support person is, should contact the Service Desk.

View more information and resources from IT Services by clicking here.

Order employee parking permits at MSU Parking Permits. Please allow three weeks for processing and mailing. All employees should plan to utilize this online service and secure parking before returning to campus.

Place orders for typical supplies needed for the fall semester through Spartan Marketplace. The University Stores catalog within Spartan Marketplace is fully stocked with PPE, gloves, cleaning, and other COVID-19 response items.
Email Mail Services at usd.dl.mailservices@msu.edu to resume mail services and regular building deliveries.
P-Card users of MSU’s Amazon Business account may want to update the default delivery location to their on-campus address in Amazon.

MSU HR created this webpage to provide a single source of information for units and employees as we move forward and will continue to work with University Communications on linking items to the Together We Will website. As resources and information become available throughout the summer months they will be released and communicated to the campus community.

MSU HR will continue to support all campus HR needs and will be considering limited in-person support for employees seeking services by appointment to better provide privacy and security. Further details will be communicated once finalized.  

Contact the Solutions Center at (517) 353-4434 or email solutionscenter@hr.msu.edu for assistance.

MSU has a number of resources dedicated to informing our community. These references are updated as new information is available and decisions are made. In addition to the requirements listed above, consider including the following information in communications with your staff:

Final Notes

Cooperation and support from all leaders will be needed to navigate back to a more typical fall and academic year. Leaders must be mindful of the tremendous demand for limited support services and resources. Patience and planning are integral to a successful change on this scale.

Workplace of the Future Team Members

Nancy Allen, University's Physician's Office

Tina Alonzo, WACSS Representative

Marilyn Amey, Academic Advancement Network

Jabbar Bennett, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Amy Carnahan, MSU Alumni Office

Terah Chambers, College of Education

Cheleane Clerkley, MSU Human Resources

Carmen Crist, University Communications

Greg Deppong, Office of the Controller

Kevin Eisenbeis, Environmental Health & Safety

Rick Fanning, MSU Human Resources

Erica Fiasky, College of Engineering

Barbara Forney, College of Human Medicine

Jeanne Fox, MSU Human Resources

Terry Frazier, Student Affairs & Services

Sonja Fritzsche, College of Arts & Letters

Brooke Gallagher-Rademacher, Research & Innovation

Amanda Goll, Office of the President

Debbie Hafke, MSU Human Resources

Zoe Hansen, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics

Eric Hegg, College of Natural Science

Danielle Hook, MSU Human Resources

Andrew Jarvis, MSU Human Resources

Samantha Lake, MSU Human Resources

Jake Lathrop, MSU Human Resources

Cindi Leverich, Academic Advancement Network

Kathy Lewless, Academic Human Resources

Sharri Margraves, MSU Human Resources

Kelly High McCord, Residential & Hospitality Services

Jennifer McManus, Infrastructure, Planning, & Facilities

Dana Moore, College of Education

Kristine Moore, Office of General Counsel

Jessica Nakfour, MSU Extension

Jon Novello, Employee Assistance Program

Evonne Pedaw, Contract & Grant Administration

Jon Prush, MSU Police Department

Renee Rivard, MSU Human Resources

Barbara Roberts, WorkLife Office

Caleb Sandoval, Res Ctr for Person w/Disabilities

Tom Siu, Information Technology Services

Lindy Smith, Payroll Office

Alice Smith, MSU Human Resources

Melanie Trowbridge, Facility for Rare Isotope Beams

Christy Turner, MSU Human Resources

Matthew Uebel, Purchasing Department

Melanie VanAntwerp, Office of General Counsel

Phil Weinstein, Environmental Health & Safety

Becky Yauch, MSU Human Resources