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During remote work or telecommuting, employees perform essentially the same work that they would on campus in accordance with their same performance expectations and other agreed-upon terms.  

Expectations and Guidelines

Information Security

Employees must safeguard university information used or accessed while telecommuting, in accordance with the electronic use policy and other technology policies. Please review Information Security Awareness responsibilities.

Set Expectations

Telecommuting can present challenges and it’s important that Supervisors and employees  establish mutual expectations, including the work schedule, “office hours”, progress reporting and communication plans for the whole team.  

The total number of hours and days that telecommuting employees are expected to work will not change, regardless of work location.  Hourly employees, who are not exempt from overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act will be required to record all hours worked in ADP as would normally occur.  All other leave codes should be used as normal for recording time off, with the exception of a new leave code “COVID-19”.  This code should be used to record any hours not worked due to illness or care for others related to the Covid-19 virus.  

Resources for Working Remotely

Information Services has shared this information to assist employees:

Communication Planning

Email is the primary communication medium for the majority of employees.  However, if your team plans to use other mediums, ensure all members are trained and have the software and equipment to use all methods.  

Forward office phones to a cell phone or landline where you will be working and update your voicemail.  Review information about Phone and Voicemail settings on the IT Resources for Working Remotely site. 

Equipment

Discuss with your supervisor if you need to take equipment with you.  Include any equipment on loan in the agreement document. Employees are responsible for protecting university-owned equipment from theft, damage and unauthorized use.  

Tips for Working Remotely

  1. Define your workspace. Establishing a workspace, even if it is your kitchen table, gives your brain a cue that it is time for work and not play. Plan for video calls/meetings by making sure you know how to turn on your computer’s camera and microphone and being aware that your colleagues may be able to see the background behind you, and what you’re wearing.

  2. Set daily goals, track them and share your progress.  Start each day by writing down what you need to achieve and then track your progress. Pay attention to how long tasks take you and start adjusting your daily goals to match your current rhythm. Report progress on work tasks to your supervisor and colleagues as requested or necessary.

  3. Eliminate distractions.

  4. Prioritize privacy. This includes the information those nearby can hear (e.g., when talking on the phone) or see (e.g., if working around housemates), as well as your personal privacy (e.g., anything in the background during a teleconference).

  5. Stay connected. You’re working, as are your colleagues. Feel confident about reaching out to colleagues just as if you would on site.

  6. Dress for work. Dressing casually is definitely a perk of working at home but getting “ready for work” is a daily ritual that helps keep you on task.

Getting Connected

Some engagement signals are lost when working together virtually. Some best practices to consider when working as remote teammates:

  • Scheduling a meeting that works for everyone is a challenge. Some teammates may be more remote than others.  Add different time zones to your calendar and be mindful of these before trying to connect.

  • Make sure remote employees have current virtual meeting information by adding the details to the calendar invitation.

  • Utilize Information Services Resources such as Google Meet is a video conferencing tool that enables you to hold online meetings, telephone conference calls, virtual face to face discussions, and small group work

  • Identify times for collaboration and other projects that need team input and protect that time

  • Be flexible when hosting a recurring meeting.

Being Connected

Meetings as a remote team are challenging. It is imperative to intentionally ensure all employees are valued in discussion by creating an environment that encourages team members to participate.

Below are tips to help make these meetings more engaging and inclusive:

  • Share materials and agenda prior to the start of the meeting.

  • Use video (when possible) during meetings so body language and facial expressions aren’t lost. 

  • Rotate hosting responsibilities amongst all participants.

  • Remain engaged and active during meetings. Speak up when there is a technical challenge or other distractions which are impacting the ability to participate or listen. 

Staying connected

Written communication in email loses emotional context and can be construed in a negative way by the receiver. It is important not to inadvertently associate negative feelings/emotion with written communication. Asking for clarification or having rapport with your team can develop a stronger understanding of what the message conveys before jumping to conclusions. 

Roles

Role

Best Practice

Remote Employee

Look for ways to improve your own distributed work experience, from building strong social connections to working around common logistical (time and technical) challenges. Find a remote partner that can share best practices with how they stay connected and interact with colleagues.

Leader of Remote Employee

It’s important for leaders  to remember they set the tone and best practices when it comes to how employees approach working remotely. Be mindful to not only communicate the investment in distributed work, but also follow through and demonstrate support for those impacted. Small things matter and may include defining expectations of work hours, being respectful of time zones, sending encouraging notes of recognition, and adjusting meeting schedules. 

In order for your work-from-home policy to be effective, supervisors need to trust their direct reports to uphold expectations and adhere to the rules. If employees fail to do so, supervisors should respond accordingly, whether that means adjusting the policy or addressing employees individually. 

Ensuring the success of a remote work arrangement has to be a collective effort. While team members act on time management and productivity tips, team leaders have to understand how to manage virtual teams and ensure that team members are engaged.

If you have questions or need additional support, please contact Human Resources at 765-658-4181 or email at hr@depauw.edu