Illinois State University is complying with Gov. JB Pritzker's extended statewide stay at home directive for COVID-19. The state directive will remain in effect through the end of May. Continuing to be in line with the Governor's Restore Illinois plan, as the University moves into the Redbird Return Plan, resources will update below and on the University's collective COVID-19 response page. This page includes a Return to Work Toolkit. While more 'general' information and resources are available below, the Return to Work Toolkit and University Response pages will offer up to date information as news and situations change.
Work-at-home (from University Policy 3.1.31) is defined as a situation where circumstances are deemed appropriate for an employee of the University to be compensated for performing assigned responsibilities in a non-campus, non-University affiliated environment, typically their place of residence.
Expert telework professionals will stress the importance of having a designated work-space or location from which they do their work. It is easy to blend your work into your regular environment, but also important to have some separation where possible to establish and continue to foster a healthy work-life balance.
If you have a reason to be off-work during this time, communicate this with your supervisor. Employees needing to use vacation, sick or personal time (as appropriate) should do so and request and report this as you normally would while working on site.
Health Promotion and Wellness offers some excellent opportunities to remain healthy and active (and manage stress) during this time. Illinois State University has combined some offerings for students and faculty/staff with ongoing virtual workshops also available here. CMS (Central Managed Services) offers resources on financial wellness, coping with isolation, and compassion fatigue to all employees at this site. Employees who are eligible for CMS benefits can also utilize the confidential services of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Magellan Ascend. The EAP is available 24/7 at 866-659-3848.
Wifi, bandwidth, Zoom, Jabber, Office 365, call forwarding and using Microsoft Teams are just some of the ways you might be working and thinking differently during this time of telework. Become familiar with a variety of tools and tips on how to use them through Administrative Technologies and IT Help. In addition, they have published the most requested tips and advice on technology.
If you have a need for equipment during this time at home, or you have equipment you have brought home for work reasons, you should make your manager/supervisor aware so they can complete the appropriate paperwork for property control.
Working at home may allow you to see some tasks performed much more quickly than when performed on-site and others that take a little longer to complete. Be sure you are having regular communication with your supervisor and teammates so that you are accomplishing what is expected and able to continue to feel pride in your work. A brief description of the work to be accomplished at home should be prepared and regularly revisited as necessary.
You should assess daily if you feel you will be able to achieve your daily goals; and then review your progress at the end of your shift/day. This will help you identify where you are clearly succeeding and where you may need to adjust your focus.
It is important during this time, as members of your team and University community are not able to walk down the hall and knock on your door, to be available at a regular number and your computer/device. Your team and your supervisor should know your availability and the best communication channel for reaching you. A telephone number where the employee can be reached during the work schedule is essential; as is watching email regularly. This will assist with checking in and receiving new assignments as needed.
“Regular feedback and communication should occur with the employee” is written directly into Work At Home Policy (3.1.31).
“Regular feedback and communication should occur with the employee” is written directly into Work At Home Policy (3.1.31). Check in with Zoom, phone, Microsoft Teams, email, or other communication channel as needed. Administrative Technologies has many pieces of advice and tools available for regular communication while working remotely. By policy and with best practice you should have a phone number where the employee can be reached during the work schedule, and know their work schedule/routine/tasks in order to keep current with activity.
If you were having regular team meetings on campus, you should try to keep this schedule as much as possible while you are working remotely. This will allow team members to express what is going well, what challenges are being faced, and allow you to make decisions as appropriate for distributing tasks.
Make sure you have communicated general expectations regarding productivity/volume of work, quality of work, and timelines. Written expectations will allow for a point of reference for both you and your employees during this time. A brief description of the work to be accomplished at home should be prepared and regularly revisited as necessary.
If you are expecting professional development, research on recommended procedure/policy, documentation of procedures and/or work to be done during this time, be sure to have that conversation with your team and/or employee.
Sometimes when communication is handled only digitally, it can be easy to misinterpret. If you feel like digital communication is causing unnecessary conflict, this might be a time to phone or video chat to clarify the written word and intent.
Regular expectation check-ins and regular team meetings might also help also ensure issues that are rising to the level of conflict are brought forth and discussed before becoming a burden on team performance, relationships, and productivity.
Maintaining civility and respect (one of Illinois State University’s core values) is essential during this time. The circumstances that brought on this stay at home directive are beyond the control of the employee, the supervisor, and even the entire unit/college/department. Remember that many things are happening during this time, including stress and concern over health, family, and finances. Students could be displaced during this time and regular life routine will be adjusting during this time as well.
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