(February 24, 2022 at 10:20am)

QUEENS, NY – The COVID-19 pandemic has upended so much of our world, but few of its consequences have forced society to reflect more than its impact on our collective mental health and our ability to work remotely. To empower and best meet the needs of his staff in the midst of a changing landscape, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. announced today a new program to help develop a permanent hybrid work model for the Queens Borough President’s Office (QBPO), effective Tuesday, March 1. 

“I could not be more grateful for my staff — true public servants who have worked diligently and with professionalism in the midst of a major COVID-19 surge to deliver for the families of Queens during our most recent remote work period. But ultimately, there needs to be a balanced and prudent approach to the future of remote work,” said Borough President RICHARDS. “Arguments that all employees need to return to fully-in-person work — or should be allowed to work entirely remotely — ignore lessons learned from the past two years. With the Omicron wave receding, my office will use this opportunity to study how remote work can be leveraged permanently to improve outcomes for constituents and benefit our employees’ work-life balance. This pilot program is the way we will determine that appropriate balance for our office.” 

Since mid-December, QBPO employees have operated under a full remote work policy upon the emergence of the Omicron wave in New York City. With the seven-day average COVID-19 positivity rate in New York City falling to just 1.71 percent as of February 23, Borough President Richards’ new Remote Work Day Pilot Program will begin on March 1, with employees initially working four days per week from Queens Borough Hall and remotely for a fifth day. All office employees will be eligible to request a specific weekday — either Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays — they would like to work remotely each week that month, pending supervisor approval. As the pilot program proceeds, QBPO may amend the program to allow for additional remote work days per week in order to determine a sustainable permanent balance of in-office and remote work for its QBPO employees. 

The Remote Work Day Pilot Program will be the first step in creating a permanent program that balances remote work and in-office work for the benefit of QBPO employees, both professionally and personally, each of whom have helped deliver real results for Queens families in the midst of a global pandemic. 

Existing safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will remain in place once QBPO employees return to the office. Staff are required to wear masks at all times while indoors, regardless of vaccination status, while adhering to social distancing practices. 

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