Guidelines and Tips for Working Remotely

After considering the essential duties and the department's operational requirements, many employees have had conversations with their supervisors and determined that they are able to work remotely. Some employees must report to campus to provide services essential to campus health and safety and the continuation of academic learning and research.

Working remotely requires a different approach to supervision to ensure that employees understand the expectations of their remote work situations. It is important to note that employees will be paid for their standard hours in remote work arrangements, even if they cannot perform all of their normal duties.

Here are some steps everyone can take.

Clarify Expectations

Make sure that you understand the expectations of remote work, including expectations for productivity, schedule, and time management.

  • What can you do to create the environment you need to have to do your work?
  • What routine responsibilities/tasks can or cannot be fulfilled while working remotely and how will this impact operations or other people? What are ways to reduce the impacts?
  • What critical tasks might require an occasional visit to the office (for example, processing receipts, sorting postal mail)? Can employees rotate those tasks to minimize any one person's exposure?
  • We understand that many of you may be working at home with children. What flexibility is there in your working hours? What hours will you be available to work?
  • What routine responsibilities/tasks require regular communication and collaboration with others? Proactively contact each of those colleagues to confirm how you will communicate with each other while working remotely.
  • What events or meetings are scheduled during remote work? Will they be postponed or canceled? Or will they take place over the phone or through videoconferencing? What kind of follow-up might be required, because of any postponements or cancellations?
  • Employees sometimes find that their work responsibilities have changed due to not being on campus. Can you take advantage of such opportunities to work on special projects or tasks?
  • If you find yourself with free time, it can be a great opportunity to do some professional development. Check out linkedinlearning and other available online learning through your associations.

Communication

Work with your supervisor and others on your team to create a plan for regular communication and accountability.

  • Establish more frequent check-ins than normal. Set up a schedule so the entire staff can be available for team check-ins.
  • Maintain regular meetings virtually, by phone or videoconferencing such a Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
  • Establish how often you should send updates on work progress, and what those updates should include.
  • Develop a shared understanding of expected response times while working remotely.
  • Determine the best ways to contact your supervisor and which tools to use: email, call, text, videoconference, etc.

Technology

  • Make sure you have all the files you need in Box so work can be shared.
  • Please visit the ITS webpage for further guidance on working remotely.

Remote Workplace Wellness and Compliance

Double-check that your remote workspace is safe and free from any safety hazards so that you can have the most productive and healthy experience.

  • If working at home, try to establish a private, separate space, supplied with everything you need. We know this will be a challenge for those of you whose children are home from school, or who have other complicated arrangements.
  • Take supplies of pens, a notebook, few sticky notes, and other supplies needed to complete your work.
  • Take occasional breaks. Staying locked at your desk for hours at a time is unhealthy and actually erodes productivity. Pause periodically to stretch, take a walk, or talk to others. Develop a work routine and mindset that help you concentrate and successfully accomplish your tasks.
  • If you are a non-exempt (hourly) employee, make sure you report all worked hours. If you are exempt, you will only record vacation or sick time in ½ day increments.
  • If you are a non-exempt (hourly paid) employee, you should follow your assigned work schedule as if you were on campus, including lunch breaks.
  • Injuries sustained while working remotely will be covered by workers' compensation benefits as usual. Employees are responsible for notifying their supervisors of such injuries as soon as possible, and an incident report must be completed.
  • Please keep in mind that the college's insurance covers authorized college equipment, but not personal property that is being used for remote work. The university will not cover utilities or other standard expenses during remote work, such as heat, electricity, Internet or phone service, etc.

Additionally, the articles and links below include ideas and practical tips to assist you.

  1. Fifteen Tips to Effectively Manage Remote Employees
    This article includes practical ideas and techniques for maintaining connection with your remote staff and supporting them to be successful.
  2. Seven Common Reactions to Change and How to Respond to Them
    Adjusting to the rapidly changing situation at work and in the world today may be the biggest change we have faced as an institution. This article offers some helpful insights into how to respond to the many changes we are experiencing.