This guide is intended to support supervisors in managing remote work when the university is open or closed (suspended operations).
If the University is in a suspended operations event, which we are NOT currently:
Per the Interim Suspended Operations Policy, POL-U5400.04 and the cancellation of the Telework policy U5415.01, all staff are expected to work remotely during Suspended Operations of 15 days or less. The information and checklist below provide guidance on navigating the expectations of supervisors and preparing for suspended operations.
Non-Essential staff may not report to the worksite during Suspended Operations. Supervisors are responsible to ensure remote work is available to employees. Telework Agreements are no longer required to work remotely.
Information specific to Coronavirus.
Supervising Remote Work
Printable checklist of all of the following content.
- Ensure you have a current phone number for each individual on your team and ensure the information is accessible to you remotely.
- Determine mode of communication between you and your staff (i.e.: e-mail, phone)
- Establish plan for team communication (e.g. connect at the beginning and end of the work day)
- Establish plan for communication with stakeholders
- Consider hosting meetings online rather than in-person even while on campus to prepare for possible remote work
Technology and Resources:
- Identify if your employees have the personal equipment and technology needed to work remotely. If not, identify if there is university equipment available for them to check out. Employees should check out equipment nightly in the event they are unable to return to campus. Employees should not come to campus to retrieve equipment or other resources if operations are suspended. If the employee will not have the option of connecting electronically during suspended operations, you should provide the employee with professional development materials before university operations are suspended. See note in red below.
- Review the checklist available from ATUS about working remotely
- Review the recommendations from EHS for setting up a safe, and ergonomic workspace
- Ensure your employees have the permissions and access needed to work remotely
- Identify and implement safeguards to protect University data and equipment from unauthorized disclosure or damage
- Ensure your staff have training on collaboration tools such as Skype, Zoom, VPN, etc., as needed
- If your employee is having difficulties connecting remotely, contact ATUS
Identify Telework opportunities:
- Review position descriptions to identify tasks that could be performed remotely; update position descriptions as needed
- Consider which tasks have high impact and prioritize accordingly
- Consider critical tasks that cannot be performed remotely and identify alternative work methods
- Identify long-term projects or tasks best accomplished when dedicated time is available
- Consider setting up Performance Evaluations as an option for remote work if normal work is disrupted
- Review and update professional or personal development plans to identify tasks and projects that could be accomplished remotely
- For example:
- Suspended Operations Diversity Equity and Inclusion Self-Study Training Options and remote work guidance
- Courses in the WWU Learning Library
- Training/development specific to industry/profession
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion training
- Western Reads book and exercises
- Speed of Trust book and exercises
- Ted Talks, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), and other professional development material available through various apps and online
- Conduct departmental or self-assessments on performance. Develop action plans or recommendations for improvement
Note: If your employee does not have access to connect remotely, supervisors are responsible for ensuring printed professional development materials are provided before university operations are suspended. Here is a list of printable and on-line training resources.
Productivity and Timekeeping:
- Ensure expectations on the prioritization of tasks while working remotely are clearly communicated
- Identify and establish methods for communicating required tasks, obtaining status on projects
- Establish time tracking methods to ensure accurate timekeeping
How to Manage Employees Working Remotely
Build a trusting environment
Trust is important every day, and even more so when our behaviors are not easily observed. Foster trust with your remote employees by establishing team norms in advance. Be honest with employees about the need to establish expectations for productivity while they are working remotely. While it, of course, benefits the department to ensure work continues; employees should also understand that continuous communication and goal setting is beneficial to them as well. Supervisors want to ensure that the goals set are reasonable and can be accomplished within an employees established work schedule, as many employees unintentionally work longer hours when dedicated time is available. Regular communication also mitigates against feelings of isolation when employees work remotely. Creating a communication and accountability plan in advance will support employees in feeling respected and trusted.
Communicate expectations and manage performance
Setting deadlines and work goals, establishing the type of work results expected for each task, and requiring ongoing communications with you and your team can help you to measure employee productivity over time. Rather than rigidly monitor your employees, provide them with ownership over their work tasks and the flexibility to schedule their own time. Time-tracking applications can assist some employees with monitoring the time spent on different tasks. Clearly communicate your expectations to your remote employees. Ensure they understand their work objectives and your performance measures, including measures related to the quality of their work, the quantity of work completed, their ability to meet deadlines, customer satisfaction, and completion of professional development training. The quality of their work while working remotely should be indistinguishable from the quality of their work in the office. Ensure you closely monitor work results and adjust the employee’s work tasks and duties as needed.
Monitor employee work standards
Hold your remote employees to the same work standards that they would be required to meet if they were physically at work. These include standards related to self-management, accountability, dependability, flexibility, working collaboratively, contributing to the team success, effective engagement, managing work and time, decision making, customer focus, and driving for results.
Stay connected and maintain accessibility
Keep in touch with your remote employees and ensure that they, the team, and yourself are just as accessible and responsive to each other as you would be if the remote employees were on campus. Have collaboration sessions or team meetings where you conference in your remote employees to ensure the entire team is focusing on the same goals. Use Zoom, Outlook, Skype, Teams, and other communication methods to ensure remote employees remain connected to the team.
Manage the Security of Data & Equipment
The employee will apply approved safeguards to protect University data and equipment from unauthorized disclosure or damage and will comply with the public recordkeeping requirements. Refer to the University’s IT and data security requirements for additional details on expectations. Work done at the alternate work location is considered official State business. All records, papers and correspondence must be safeguarded for their return to the employee’s University work location. Release or destruction of any records should only be done at the official location according to appropriate regulations. Electronic files and emails are considered official records and shall be similarly protected. Employees should not use University-issued technology for personal use.