Employee Workplace Guidelines and Telecommuting
Dear Manhattan College Community,
On March 18th we began a trial period of telecommuting for Administrators and/or Staff. Generally things have gone well. Employees who were authorized to work remotely began the pilot program, which was originally scheduled to expire March 29th. Today, we are extending the program, and authorized employees will continue to work remotely until at least April 30th, as we continue to reevaluate circumstances and needs. Not all members of our community will be able to participate in telecommuting; this will be decided by the Vice President and Department Head of each division.
If you (Administrators and/or Staff) have not completed the Telecommuting Provision Request Form, you must do so now: Telecommuting Provision Request Form
All employees (Faculty, Administrators and/or Staff) who are asking for an accommodation, you are required to complete: COVID-19 Employee Accommodation Request
In addition, we want to make sure we have everyone’s (Faculty, Administrators, and Staff) up-to-date information. If you have not done so already, you are requiredto complete: Contact Form
As always we want to hear from you. Please let us know, and let your Supervisor or Department Head as well, if you are encountering any problems and/or in need of any help.
In the next few weeks we hope to schedule a “virtual town hall.” We would like to hear your questions and concerns and we will do our best to address and answer them.
Please take care of yourself and your families and be safe. Let us hope we can all be back together soon.
We will continue to keep you updated and as always, thank you for all you do and continue to do for Manhattan College during these difficult times.
HR Update - March 23, 2020
We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has turned our lives upside down and affects each of us personally as we face important decisions about the care of our families and ourselves. Manhattan College continues to place the highest priority on the health, safety and wellbeing of its faculty, staff and students, as well as the wider community. Every day seems to bring more changes and we will keep you updated as these changes occur.
Beginning Monday, March 23rd, New York State has made the decision that only essential personnel may be on campus.
- Essential personnel are those employees who have been designated as “essential” and whose presence is required on campus to provide health and safety services for students and other residing on campus, maintenance of animals and research subjects/projects, remote learning, security and physical maintenance of buildings. This includes certain employees in Facilities, Physical Plant, Public Safety, Residence Life, IT and others as designated by Human Resources. Employees with these designations have been notified by their supervisor/managers.
- Essential personnel working on campus should maintain physical distance from each other of at least 6 feet.
- Essential personnel with an underlying health condition or who are unable to fulfill their duties should contact their Supervisor or Department Head and must complete the COVID-19 Employee Accommodation Form: COVID-19 Employee Accommodation Request
- If you are unsure of whether or not you should be on campus, please contact your immediate Supervisor and/or Department Head.
- All non-essential employees will continue to work remotely wherever possible. You are required to read the Employee Workplace Guidelines and Telecommuting as well as completing the Telecommuting Provisions Request Form if you have not done so already.
- All employees, whether working on campus or remotely, are expected to be available during assigned work hours in order to perform their duties. As always, employees who are ill, or who are caring for family members or other dependents who are ill, should reach out to Human Resources for guidance on available leave types.
- Supervisors and Department Heads should continue to have regular communications with their employees. We encourage you to have daily meetings with employees who are working remotely. It will lessen the feeling of isolation and will allow everyone to feel they are still part of the team.
- So long as employees continue working, whether on site or remotely, our standard pay practices will continue.
- Employees who do not have direct deposit: you will have your payroll checks mailed to the address you currently have on file with the Payroll Department.
- Hourly employees (including student workers) must continue to submit time entries reflecting their regularly scheduled weekly hours. (We will send out a separate communication regarding student employment later this week re: work-study, student employment, graduate assistants.)
- Supervisors must continue to approve time submissions in line with normal deadlines and practices.
- Employees who are available to work but not able to do so because of building closures or other limitations should speak with their supervisors, who will be working with Human Resources and other administrators to temporarily reassign employees as we are able. At this time, Manhattan College is committed to continue to pay all of our administrators and staff without a work assignment, both full time and part time, through April 30th. The College is exploring ways to continue your salary after April 30th, including, but not limited to reassignment, sick, vacation and other leave. We know this is a stressful time for all of our employees and we will be communicating with you regularly over the course of the coming weeks as we move to put some of these structures in place.
- If you are unable to work due to a non-related COVID-19 illness and/or disability, you are required to contact your immediate Supervisor and/or Department Head so that your attendance records are recorded and tracked. In addition, you must also contact Eileen Armstrong, Director for Benefits & Compensation at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will send you the appropriate paperwork that you are required to complete.
- If you are self-quarantined but are not sick, you do not have to use sick time and will continue being paid through April 30th. You must contact your Supervisor or Department Head as well as completing the Employee Accommodation Form: COVID-19 Employee Accommodation Request
- If you are not working due to childcare or caring for an elderly relative, your pay will continue being paid through April 30th and you do not have to record sick time. You must contact your Supervisor or Department Head as well as completing the Employee Accommodation Form: COVID-19 Employee Accommodation Request
Future Announcements and Contact Information
Please refer to the MC COVID-19 website for previously announced guidelines and announcements as well as ongoing updates and announcements:
The Human Resources Department is available for any questions or concerns you may have. Please email us and we will answer you as soon as possible:
- Barbara Fabé/VP-Human Resources: email@example.com
- Vicki Cowan/AVP/Affirmative Action: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Eileen Armstrong/Director for Benefits & Comp.: email@example.com
- Patricia Stone/Human Resources Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hopefully you have already completed the mandatory employee contact form so we can reach out to you to discuss other options. If you have not done so, please fill out this form immediately: Contact Form
Let’s continue to remain a strong caring community and continue to support each other, and take care of our families and ourselves.
As always thank you for all you do especially during these difficult and challenging times.
HR Update - March 16, 2020
As the College continues to monitor the local, national and worldwide incidence of the coronavirus and the illness it causes, faculty and staff members are asked to review the following workplace guidelines. It is likely this information will change as the situation evolves and more becomes known.
We urge you to check the coronavirus updates on the College website daily.
With all guidelines instituted in response to COVID-19, our goals are to:
- Maintain a safe and healthy workplace, including minimizing the transmission of contagious disease;
- Sustain academic programs and operational continuity;
- Encourage fairness, open communications and concern for the wellbeing of our faculty and staff, and their families.
Essential Employees: As a 24/7 residential college, Manhattan College rarely closes. Many employees must work on campus to provide services that are essential to residential life, campus health and safety.
Paid Sick Time: Manhattan College provides paid sick time to all benefits-eligible faculty, administration and staff.
Reporting Sick Time: Staff members who are out sick are asked to report sick time to their Department Head.
Returning from College or Personal Travel to Affected Areas: Please refer to the Manhattan College website for up-to-date recommendations about return from travel to affected areas and other topics. There, you will find information on whether and how to self-report using the confidential health form and any isolation that may be required.
Workers at Higher Risk: Employees who are at increased risk for complications from COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions are urged to consult their physician about steps they can take to protect their health.
Beginning Wednesday, March 18th, administrators, managers, and supervisors will lead efforts to manage short and long term departmental operational plans for telecommuting options. Employees, who have been authorized to do so, pursuant to the temporary telecommuting policy, can begin to work remotely.
Read the full temporary telecommuting policy in response to COVID-19.
At this time, any authorized work from home is temporary and will expire on Sunday, March 29, 2020, unless extended by the College. This pilot is an opportunity to learn what remote work would mean for many different activities; to identify issues and questions, gaps in resources, and other barriers to working remotely, should that be adopted. Department administrators will receive additional guidance from HR and ITS.
Please recognize that not all members of our community will be able to participate in this pilot. It will be a decision that is made by the Vice President and Department Head of each Division. A departmental plan must be submitted to Human Resources by Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
How to Request Telecommuting Provisions
To make a request for a Telecommuting Provisions, the covered employee and their supervisor shall complete the Telecommuting Provisions Request Form and submit it to their Dean, Department Head, or VP. The supervisor, together with the Dean, Department Head, or VP, will make a determination, in accordance with the guidelines set forth herein, and respond to the covered employee accordingly. Approved request forms are to be filed with HR, and the details of the Telecommuting Provisions should be communicated to appropriate colleagues.
We also ask that you update your employee contact information when possible.
Telecommuting (Teleworking) Checklist during COVID-19
Manhattan College’s commitment to safely and effectively meet the public health challenge presented by COVID-19 extends to encouraging that college employees can work from home or another remote location whenever necessary in the coming weeks. These arrangements must be approved by your supervisor, VP, and Human Resources, and may be modified at any time.
This guidance is for supervisors, employees and departments and is designed to help set up temporary remote work arrangements quickly and successfully.
- What is teleworking and how does it differ from other forms of remote work?
Telework is a work arrangement in which some or all of the work is performed from home or another off-site location. In general, regular office hours are worked and deviations from that schedule require supervisor approval.
- Which factors should departments/units consider when determining if telework is possible?
- Operational requirements
- Security of work data
- Technological capabilities and equipment necessary to perform job duties
- Which jobs are suited for teleworking?
Teleworking is easiest to implement for jobs or tasks that require reading, writing, research, working with data and talking on the phone. In general, and at management’s discretion, a job is suited to teleworking if the job or some components of it can be done off-site without disruption to the flow of work and communication.
- Which jobs are not as well suited for teleworking?
It is not uncommon to require employees in positions needing in-person contact/customer service or that rely upon specific equipment or supplies to work on site. Some jobs that may not seem appropriate at first may be modified so that employees can telework.
- What’s most important to starting a productive teleworking arrangement?
Clearly outlined and executed teleworking arrangements can prove beneficial to employees and managers alike. Managers should articulate clear procedures regarding check-in times and hours of availability. With proper planning, communications problems can be minimized.
Supervisor checklist for supporting teleworking
Telework works best when employees and supervisors communicate clearly about expectations. The following checklist will help you establish a foundation for effective teamwork, continued productivity, and service to the community.
- Review technology needs and resources.
Identify technology tools staff use in their daily work and determine whether the resources will be accessible when working from home. Also, ensure employees know how to access the appropriate technical support should they need assistance.
- Confirm that employees know how to set up call forwarding and how to access their voicemail from home. For instructions on accessing voicemail from home, or setting up the voicemail-to-email option, visit this page.
- Determine which platform(s) you will use to communicate as a team, clarify expectations for online availability and confirm everyone has access to the technology tool(s) and support resources
- Review work schedules.
Telework can be confused with flex work. Be clear about your expectations with employees for maintaining their current work schedule or if you are open to flexible scheduling based on employee needs.
- Draft a work plan.
Review the questions below with staff and work through answers together.
- What routine responsibilities/tasks cannot be fulfilled while working remotely and how will it impact operations or other people? What are ways to reduce the impacts?
- What routine responsibilities/tasks require regular communication and collaboration with others? Proactively contact each other to confirm how you will communicate while everyone is working remotely.
- Many times employees experience fewer interruptions while teleworking. Are there any special projects or tasks that you can advance while working remotely?
- What events or meetings are scheduled during the time in which the temporary telework arrangement is in place? Will they be postponed or canceled, or will they take place using technology? What follow-up needs to occur due to postponements or cancellations?
- Make a communication and accountability plan.
Supervisors should tell employees how often they should send updates on work plan progress and what those updates should include. Supervisors should also communicate how quickly they expect the employee to respond while teleworking and the best ways for the employee to contact the supervisor while working remotely. Current performance standards are expected to be maintained by employees.
- Maintain team meetings and one-to-one check-ins, altering the schedule if needed to accommodate any alternative schedules that have been approved.
- Conduct regular check-ins. Start each workday with a phone, video or instant message chat. Your employees will be eager for connection and information during the disruption and the structure will help everyone create a positive routine. Every other day or weekly may be fine, so long as you are in contact frequently enough that your employees are in sync with you and/or with one another.
- Be positive.
A positive attitude toward teleworking and a willingness to trust employees to telework effectively is key to making such arrangements successful and productive. Teleworking presents an opportunity for managers to become better supervisors. Instead of focusing on how many hours your employees are working, re-emphasize a focus on measuring results and reaching objectives—regardless of work arrangement. The employee’s completed work product is the indicator of success, rather than direct observation. By focusing on the employee’s work product, tele managers will improve their organizational abilities and their own skill in managing by objectives.
Teleworking tips for employees
Employees who telework often learn that working remotely is different than they expected and that it requires specific skills and habits. The following tips will help you get to work while at home.
- Define your workspace.
Experienced teleworkers will tell you that it’s often difficult to stay focused at home. We are creatures of habit and most of us are used to our normal home routines. Establishing a workspace, even if it is your kitchen table, gives your brain a cue that it is time for work. You should remain capable of reporting to work if your presence is requested by your supervisor.
- Master the basics.
- Set up call forwarding and how to access your voicemail from home.
- 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.
- Set daily goals, track them and share your progress.
You may be surprised by how differently the workday passes without the comings and goings of an office to break things up or influence what you do next. Start each day of telework 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. Communicate with your supervisor and/or colleagues if you think your telework plan needs to be adjusted.
- Continue to employ security best practices.
Situations like this are prime phishing opportunities. Remain vigilant for security concerns and be sure to report suspicious emails to IT.
- It should be noted that caution needs to be taken when dealing with personal health information (“PHI”) and HIPAA matters while working from home or another off-site location. If you have questions, contact Human Resources.
- Stay connected.
Many people say they do not call or instant message colleagues who are working remotely because they don’t want to bother them. Remember, they are working, not vacationing at home! You should feel confident about calling or messaging an employee who is teleworking anytime you would walk to their office or call them if you were working on-site.
Tips for teleworking among widespread networks
With many teams moving to telework quickly, departments may want to adapt the following suggestions:
- Consider designating a telework task force.
Depending on the size of your unit, consider implementing a task force to manage telework protocols and procedures for your department.
- Engage your team.
Setting up a group to work remotely is different than setting up an individual employee to telework. Effective remote teamwork requires entire units to embrace technology and proactive communication in ways that may be new and challenging to traditional ways of working.
- Support the success of your team by:
- Scheduling a conversation about what it may look like for your team to work remotely.
- Identify needs and tool preferences of team members for remote work.
- Document and share telework practices/plans.
- Enable and encourage ongoing communication.
Ongoing communication is the most important part of effective remote teamwork. Working online can be isolating without regular contact with supervisors and colleagues. By creating the expectation that an entire team will communicate regularly with one another, members will feel connected regardless of where they are.
- What is teleworking and how does it differ from other forms of remote work?