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Friday, May 15, 2020

Baker-Polito Administration & Employer Community Announce Continuation of Work From Home Policies to Support Safe Reopening of Massachusetts Economy

Baker-Polito Administration & Employer Community Announce Continuation of Work From Home Policies to Support Safe Reopening of Massachusetts Economy

BOSTON – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration released a partial list of employers who are committing to continuing work from home policies for the foreseeable future as a way to provide more flexibility for their employees and greater capacity for social distancing on the state’s public transportation system. Partnering with leading employers to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Baker-Polito Administration is planning a phased reopening process that balances public health precautions with reopening the economy during the pandemic. The companies cited, including some of the largest employers in Massachusetts and totaling 150,000 employees, will have significant portions of their workforce working remotely for the rest of the spring and, in numerous cases, beyond.

The Baker-Polito Administration has also issued guidance for all state employees to extend the current remote workforce arrangements for the Executive Branch to reflect health and safety provisions of the re-opening phase. This guidance will stay in effect until further notice.

“I continue to be amazed by the ingenuity and toughness that the people of Massachusetts are displaying in this fight and these employers are taking the right steps to balance work and health,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “As Massachusetts businesses reopen, we are asking employers to continue to work from home when they can so that more social distancing remains possible in our transit system and in our workplaces. We are home to some of the smartest and most innovative economies in the world and I know we can and will rise to this challenge together.”

“Working from home when it’s possible works for employees in higher risk groups, those with children but no child care or school and those who may simply be anxious about returning to the workplace,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “And it works for employers, because keeping even part of the workforce working from home on any given day makes social distancing easier in the workplace. What was a crisis response plan is now a win-win strategy that meets the needs of companies and their workers.”

These employers plan to evolve Work From Home from their current status to a flexible strategy that slowly brings workers to workplaces as needed. Depending on the employer, some companies may consider arrangements such as staggered shifts or flexible work schedules that help avoid rush hour traffic congestion and crowded buses and trains on our public transit systems. For the Massachusetts economy to recover, more and more workers will need to return to workplaces, from offices to restaurants, and from laboratories to medical offices. Keeping employees at home who can successfully work from home will help the MBTA to provide less crowded transit for employees who must go to a workplace at specific, inflexible times for their shifts.

The Massachusetts Competitive Partnership (MACP), Massachusetts Business Roundtable (MBR), Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), Massachusetts High Tech Council (MHTC), Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio), and Kendall Square Association (KSA) polled their member companies regarding their plans for extending Work from Home (WFH) policies even after the MA economy reopens. Scores of companies, including the fifty-four (54) companies employing an aggregate of approximately 150,000 employees listed below, have responded that they will be extending their WFH policies for the remainder of the spring, with numerous reporting intentions to extend into the summer and, in some cases, for the remainder of 2020.

Companies that will continue to extend their Work from Home policies past the reopening date include:

  • AECOM
  • John Hancock
  • Akamai Technologies
  • The Kraft Group
  • Alkermes
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Alnylam
  • MassMutual
  • Amgen
  • Millipore Sigma 
  • Analog Devices
  • MFS Investment Management
  • Autodesk
  • MITRE
  • Bank of America
  • Monster.com
·        Biogen
  • National Grid
  • bluebird bio
  • Novartis
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
·        Oasis Systems
·        Peoples United Bank
  • Boston Scientific
  • PTC
  • Brooks Automation
  • Putnam Investments
  • Care.com
  • Rapid7
  • Cigna
  • Raytheon Technologies
  • Comcast
  • RSM
  • Dassault Systèmes
  • Sage Therapeutics
  • Dell Technologies
  • Sanofi
  • Deloitte
  • Sarepta Therapeutics
  • Eaton Vance
  • Siemens
  • EY
  • State Street
  • Facebook
  • Takeda
  • Foundation Medicine
  • Tango Therapeutics
  • Google
  • Tufts Health Plan
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
  • Verizon
  • Ipsen
  • Wayfair
  • Iron Mountain


Quotes from company leaders:

John Cardoni, Northeast Region Executive, AECOM Design and Consulting Services
“AECOM supports Governor Baker’s initiatives to get the Massachusetts economy moving again. We along with our employees appreciate his efforts and will work with him to support a safe return to service. AECOM has been a strong partner with the Baker Administration throughout this pandemic, and will continue to be one in the future as we rebuild the Massachusetts economy.”

Anthony Williams, EVP & Chief Human Resources Officer, Akamai Technologies, Inc.
“With the health and safety of Akamai employees our top priority, access to Akamai offices in Massachusetts, including our Cambridge headquarters, and around the world continues to be restricted. We recognize that, as cities, states, and countries experience incremental improvements, there will be some easing of government restrictions. However, we have let our employees know they have the option to continue to work from home through December 31, 2020.”

Richard Pops, CEO, Alkermes
“In these challenging times, it is more important than ever that we support both our employees and the people who rely on our medicines. We’ve seen our employees come together in this remote work environment to find creative ways to meet their objectives. While we look forward to the day when our team can be together at our workplace again, we are going to be cautious and continue to encourage employees who can work remotely to do so as we look at a phased approach to returning to our office and laboratories. We appreciate the guidance provided by Governor Baker and will continue to be flexible with our employees as we seek to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Kelley Boucher, SVP, CHRO, Alnylam
“As an organization committed to advancing critical medicines for patients in need, including a potential treatment for COVID-19, we remain extremely productive with about 85% of our employees working remotely. For those who continue to work from our labs and manufacturing sites, we have implemented precautionary measures, including temperature and other COVID symptom screening, mask requirements, working in shifts, and physical distancing, all aimed at promoting the health and safety of our people. As we move from pandemic to recovery and new normal phases of this situation, we will start allowing more employees back into our labs and offices while many of our employees will continue to work from home productively for a protracted amount of time.”

Vincent Roche, President & CEO, Analog Devices, Inc.
“Analog Devices is actively encouraging our 2,500 employees in Massachusetts to continue to work from home if they are able to do so, in order to maintain social distancing as we begin a phased approach to reopening our local offices in Wilmington, Norwood, Boston and Chelmsford. During this period, we have found that the use of technology has allowed employees to remain productive and effective. We are constantly communicating with our employees as this situation evolves and we have set clear guidelines on what productivity and operational needs warrant a return to the office. Additionally, we have updated our employee protocols and Code of Conduct to ensure that social distancing, proper personal health practices and other public safety guidelines are being followed.”    

Jim Lynch Vice President and General Manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions
“As a Massachusetts employer, we are committed to the safety of our employees, customers and to the wellbeing of the communities in which we operate. Autodesk employees continue to work from home for their safety and others, and to keep public transit and our roadways open for essential workers. Our company will take a measured and phased approach to reopening our office in the Seaport guided by Governor Baker’s and the City of Boston’s instruction and in consultation with public health and safety professionals. As a technology company, we continue to support remote work for our construction and manufacturing customers so they too can remain as safe, connected and productive as possible when working from home.”

Ginger Gregory, Chief Human Resources Officer, Biogen
“Our actions have been – and will continue to be – guided by our goal of ensuring the safety, health, and well-being of our people and local community. As we move forward, we are committed to continuing to direct all non-essential employees to work from home in an effort to support a phased approach to the Commonwealth’s reopening and provide our people with the flexibility and support they need. We appreciate the leadership of the Baker Administration and the diligent efforts of public health authorities throughout this unprecedented challenge.”

Andrew Dreyfus, President & CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield MA
“Since the beginning of this crisis, we’ve had two overarching goals: to ensure the health and safety of our associates and to effectively serve our members, employer customers, clinician partners, and the community at-large. I’m incredibly proud that we’ve remained highly productive, operating at full capacity for the past two months -- with more than 98% of our 3800 associates working safely from home. While planning is underway to reopen our buildings at the appropriate time, we intend to continue our remote working arrangements for the foreseeable future.” 

Mark Butler, President, Cigna of New England
“Currently, many Cigna team members continue to work remotely. Our operations have continued unimpeded as a result of strategies, support and additional benefits to facilitate both flexibility and business continuity. As such, we are able to take a strategic, measured and clinically-guided approach to re-opening worksites, while reviewing applicable state and local regulations, CDC guidelines, and leveraging our own doctors’ and clinicians’ expertise in this area. As a health services company, Cigna’s approach is first and foremost guided by our employees’ health and well-being, understanding that many employees are still balancing personal and professional responsibilities during this time.”

Al Bunshaft, SVP, Dassault Systèmes
"Dassault Systèmes is prepared to implement a multiple-phase return to office plan based on our leaders’ assessment of governmental and other decision criteria to ensure successful restoration of onsite operations."

Dell Technologies
“For more than a decade, we’ve built a culture around the idea that work is outcomes based, not anchored to a specific place or time. While every industry and business is different, and we have our own essential workers working at select sites and in the field, the majority of our team members will continue working from home where possible. Like all businesses, health and safety comes first along with meeting the needs of our team members, our customers, and the broader Boston community.”

Daniel Cataldo, Chief Administrative Officer, Eaton Vance
“Over the last 9 weeks, we have learned that our employees can work very effectively from home. As a result, we do not feel that we need to be in a rush to bring people back into the office. We do believe there is value in coming together in the office, but we would rather err on the side of caution for the safety of our employees.”

EY
"While we, our clients and our people all look forward to a return to offices, the safety and well-being of our people will not be compromised—that is predeterminant of every aspect of our plan. EY is fortunate in having been effective in continuing to deliver the highest quality client service in a ‘work from home’ environment across much of the world. Allowing our people to work from home will remain our default for now."

Kia Floyd, Head of Public Policy for Facebook's Eastern Region
"As Facebook Boston considers our role and corporate stewardship, it's increasingly important that we understand and are responsive to community need. Recently, we made the strategic decision to slow our plans to return to the office in order to prioritize helping the rest of our community and local economy to get back up and running first. We realize that many of our local staff members can easily work from home while many others can't. We also know that when our cities and communities eventually start re-opening, we must take thoughtful measures to ensure that people who are returning to work can do so safely and that we mitigate the possibility of future outbreaks." 

Cindy Perettie, CEO, Foundation Medicine
“Foundation Medicine’s primary focus remains the health and safety of our employees, their families, and the patients we serve. To help ensure the safety of all employees, Foundation Medicine will continue to promote flexibility for non-essential employees, while enforcing restricted access and heightened cleaning and social distancing protocols at its facilities. As a Massachusetts-based company, we appreciate the emphasis that our leaders have put on leveraging the best science to inform decision-making, and I appreciate Governor Baker’s efforts to recognize Foundation Medicine’s work as essential. As the state considers a phased reopening, I look forward to working with Governor Baker on addressing critical issues such as child care.”

Liz Schwab, Head of Government Affairs, Google Cambridge
“For the health and safety of our employees and our community, most Google employees will likely work from home until the end of this year. We continue to operate in accordance with health guidance from the WHO, CDC, and other health and local authorities where we have offices, and thank Governor Baker for his leadership during this difficult time.” 

Michael Carson, CEO, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
“Harvard Pilgrim’s full-service remote work capabilities enable us to make ‘return of office work’ decisions in the most safe, reasonable and compliant manner for our employees, customers and communities and in full compliance any forthcoming public health guidance or regulation. We have had a long-standing focus on business continuity planning, strong remote work infrastructure and a business-focused flexible work policy for employees which has enabled our organization to ensure full-service access for our customers and healthcare partners. We recognize that employees and communities are each uniquely impacted and our ability to offer flexible work arrangements allows us to be flexible in when and how we return to the office. While there are day-to-day developments to consider as we go forward, at this time, we are not setting a specific date for returning to office-based work and we are prepared to do so in stages to best support our employees, customers and communities when the time comes.”

William L. Meaney, President & CEO, Iron Mountain
"We are operating in unusual times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Right now, our top priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of our Mountaineers, their families, and our customers - all whilst 96% of our locations continue to support our customers providing essential services in MA and around the world." 

Roger Crandall, Chairman, President & CEO, MassMutual
“As MassMutual develops our plan to gradually return to the office, the health and safety of our employees is our top priority. MassMutual’s employees will return to the office no sooner than the beginning of September and we expect to come back in a slow, phased manner. We will continue to monitor and reassess and will be factoring in a number of considerations – from federal, state and local government and health officials’ guidance, to a sustained reduction in cases in our operating locations, to broader available testing, and our employees’ personal circumstances and comfort.”

Udit Batra, CEO of MilliporeSigma and Member of the Executive Board Merck KGaA Darmstadt Germany and the Chairman of MHTC
“At Millipore Sigma, EMD Serono and EMD Performance Materials, we have seen a positive impact on use of digital tools, e.g., video conferencing and a higher adoption of data analytics as employees have worked remotely. This allows us to be very judicious in sequencing employees return to work in an office environment as necessary.” (Please note that the businesses of Merck KGaA Darmstadt Germany operate as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials in the USA.)

Kathleen Federico, MITRE, Senior Vice President, Head of Bedford Operations, and Chief Human Resources and Strategic Communications Officer
“MITRE’s guiding principle is that the health and safety of our people and their families is a top priority. As communities and states revise stay-at-home orders, we are committed to providing our employees flexibility. Employees will continue to have the choice to work remotely, and when conditions and their personal circumstances allow, return to the MITRE campuses in a controlled and deliberate manner. We fully support Governor Baker and the regional business community in their efforts to protect the Commonwealth’s residents and the ability to work remotely.”

Marcy Reed, Massachusetts President and EVP Policy & Social Impact, National Grid
“We are also considering a much deeper WFH (work from home) policy, enabling most employees to simply continue to work from home. We’re managing it now with 10,000 people. What stops us from simply carrying on that way?”

Tom Colatosti, CEO, Oasis Systems
"Unpredictably, work from home has been remarkably successful for us – our productivity, effectiveness and employee morale have all dramatically improved. As result of these positive results, as well as for health and safety reasons, we will continue to significantly utilize work from home practices." 

Patrick Sullivan, Massachusetts President, People’s United Bank
"People’s United Bank is assessing re-entry conditions and protocols to ensure the safety of our team members and our customers. Our approach will balance the needs of employees with the needs of the business. As we have been successful in pivoting and adjusting to working from home, we will continue to encourage this behavior.” 

Robert Reynolds, President & CEO, Putnam Investments and Chairman, MACP
“Putnam Investments currently has nearly all of its associates working from home and expects to continue this approach for the foreseeable future. Based on the success of its work at home effort, Putnam has extraordinary flexibility in determining when to return to the office and at what pace.”

Jill Larsen, CHRO, PTC
“PTC is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our employees, partners and customers. We have decided that all PTC employees may continue to work virtually until at least the end of September 2020. We are open to extending that as circumstances evolve. The future of work is here and PTC’s SaaS technology allows our customers and employees to continue to be productive while staying safe. This is a difficult time for many and we want to do all we can to stay productive while realizing our employees are wearing many hats as parents, teachers and caregivers and we will do all we can to make this situation easier for them to navigate.”

Gregory Hayes, CEO, Raytheon Technologies Corporation
"Raytheon Technologies has put in place extensive systems to enable half our global workforce, roughly 100,000 employees, to work remotely from their homes. We believe that employees who can work remotely, should do so, which allows us to focus our efforts on protecting those employees whose jobs require them to be onsite, in support of essential aerospace and defense program needs. And just as importantly, it results in fewer people being out in public, which minimizes the spread of the virus, and enables a community’s valuable resources – be they healthcare workers, firemen, policemen or essential businesses – to focus their efforts on supporting frontline workers.”

Chris Mackenzie, Market Managing Partner, RSM
“RSM has put the safety of our people, clients and communities at the forefront through the COVID-19 pandemic. While we have plans in place for a phased and orderly return to working at offices and client sites as it becomes safe to do so, we believe that the majority of our Massachusetts employees are working effectively from home and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.”

Bill Sibold, Executive Vice President, Head of Sanofi Genzyme
“Sanofi’s plans to return employees to the workplace will balance the incredibly important work we do to ensure patient access to our therapies with our ability to prepare the work environment to safely accommodate our teams for our new normal.  Our priorities are health and safety, for our patients, our employees and families, and our communities. We currently have essential workers in our labs, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers. We will continue to encourage our employees who can effectively work from home to do so, both for their own safety and for the safety of the employees who must work on site to ensure our medicines, vaccines and treatments are available to those who need them.”

Doug Ingram, President & CEO, Sarepta Therapeutics
“As a business providing an essential service, Sarepta has successfully transitioned to a largely remote workforce throughout the pandemic, with only a small contingent of facility-dependent workers designated for critical lab work and manufacturing. While the vast majority of our employees work from home, I am pleased that we have been able to continue developing and delivering life-saving medicines to patients with little disruption, while doing our part to protect our workers and reduce the spread of COVID-19. As the Commonwealth begins lifting restrictions, Sarepta intends to learn from this experience and maintain the flexibility for office-based employees to work from home, while continuing to ensure that our facility-dependent colleagues remain safe and healthy.”

Barbara Humpton, President & CEO, Siemens USA
“With nearly 2,500 employees in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Siemens is actively engaged in COVID-19 response efforts, supporting critical infrastructure and helping local governments address urgent healthcare needs. Siemens USA employees are maintaining essential operations to support hospitals, power plants, manufacturing locations and data centers, and our Smart Infrastructure experts are implementing building and laboratory solutions for COVID-19 facilities in Massachusetts. While our team has continued providing critical services to our customers during this global pandemic, our ‘where to work’ guidance is driven by state and local orders in conjunction with our employee health and safety experts and local site leadership. Our phased approach allows for the flexibility of those that can perform functions remotely to do so, and as we pivot to the careful, phased return to work in our offices, we’ll implement stringent, safety protocols following CDC guidelines and best practices.” 

John Planksy, CEO, Charles River Development, a State Street company
"Globally, and here in Massachusetts, more than 90% of State Street’s workforce has been working from home since early March, and much earlier in China. I couldn’t be prouder of the way our employees have risen up to support our clients and the broader community. The ability to have our employees work remotely for an extended period provides us with an unprecedented level of flexibility and ensures that our return to the office will be deliberate and most importantly, safe for all.”

Ramona Sequeira, Head of Takeda’s U.S. Crisis Management Committee and President, U.S. Business Unit
“At Takeda, we continue to support remote working wherever possible to safeguard our employees and communities while maintaining our ability to provide critical medicines to patients. Takeda continues to encourage reduced office density and reduced commuting for our employees, and supports Governor Baker’s phased approach to returning the Commonwealth to work.”

Tom Croswell, CEO, Tufts Health Plan
“Close to 99% of our 3000 employees have been working remotely since March 16 and will continue to do so through Labor Day.” 

Niraj Shah, CEO, Wayfair
"During the month of March, Wayfair's corporate employees and sales and service team members across the Commonwealth successfully transitioned to working from home. We plan to allow employees to continue working from home during the coming months to protect the health and well-being of our employees, and to help ensure safe and seamless access to public transportation and other community support systems for those who need them most.

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