Adapting to our changed way of working
We are all having to adapt rapidly to new ways of working, whilst also all feeling anxious and concerned about coronavirus. It is really important that we look out for each other and support each other. Managers need to be there to support each member of staff with this change. Please do check in with your team regularly and encourage them all to check in with each other.
Getting started - management checklist for managing remote working
- set up a Microsoft TEAMS account?
- gathered personal phone numbers from the staff you manage?
- provided your personal phone number to your team?
- checked if your team have suitable devices (smart phone, laptops, computers) to be able to carry out their work remotely?
- checked that your staff know how to use the technological tools for remote working?
- ensured that staff have undertaken a DSE assessment of their remote work location?
- made a record of any staff member who will not have access to technology to carry out the core duties but will be working remotely? Have you allocated these staff members alternative appropriate work that they can carry out whilst working remotely?
Planning for your staff to work remotely
- As we move to remote working, there is a possibility of reduced service capacity and capability. To mitigate this, managers should consider which business needs are to be prioritised and reasonably carried out from home by their staff.
- It is important for managers to identify which members of their staff will be responsible for specific projects and tasks. Then communicate this to their teams so that every team member is aware of who is doing what particularly as this may be different to the tasks that staff would normally undertake.
- As managers, you should advise your staff how they will be kept up to date with overall work plans and of any changing priorities whilst they are working remotely.
- In preparing for your staff to work remotely for an unknown period of time, it is important to take into account and show compassion, empathy and support for staff who may have challenges at home which are exacerbated during this current climate, e.g. dependants, pre-existing health conditions, isolation, mental health.
Managing staff remotely
Managing staff remotely requires normal good management practice but perhaps applying this even more consciously will be required. It is important that you:
- Set clear and meaningful expectations in terms of work outputs/outcomes and are clear with your staff members about how these will be measured from the outset. Encourage staff to clarify any aspects they are unsure about.
- When communicating outcome objectives ensure that they are SMART:
Specific – clear what the required outcome is.
Measurable – know what success looks like, so you can both track progress. Consider quantity as well as quality.
Achievable – it should be stretching sometimes member but be possible.
Relevant – to your Department, the University
Time bound – a deadline or how often the task will be done. If it’s a long- term task consider breaking it down into smaller chunks and have milestone dates.
- Agree up front on how you will keep up to date on the progress of work
- Check in with staff outside of a scheduled 1:1 meeting to see how they are getting on with their work, e.g. in the same way that you would casually ask if you were in the office.
- As managers, you have a duty of care to all your employees. In managing staff remotely, it is even more important to ensure that you are aware of your staff’s welfare. Should you have any concerns about a member of staff’s welfare please contact your HR Adviser for further advice.
Managing your team’s working hours
- You should encourage staff to maintain the same working hours as when working on campus as far as practically possible. This will enable the day-to-day office collaborations to continue and is a way for managers to check in on staff’s welfare.
- If start and finishing times need to be adjusted when working remotely, this should be supported to enable work output.
- Agreed existing flexible working arrangements are still applicable with working remotely.
Staying in touch
- Keeping in touch with your staff is important, for maintaining your social interactions and professional collaborations. Discuss the regularity and types of contact you expect to have with your staff and that they want with you.
- Be mindful of those members within your teams who may benefit from increased contact over and above your normal 1:1 meetings and team meetings. Discuss these needs with relevant team members so that measures can be put in place.
- Staying in touch regularly is also important for keeping your staff informed about your Department’s and the University’s business.
- Microsoft TEAMS is a great way to be able to stay in touch whilst working off-site. Managers should ensure that all of their staff have a basic practical awareness of how to use Microsoft TEAMS when undertaking remote working as this will be key to being able to stay in touch undertake work. To download click here
- Set up your staff as a team on TEAMS you can then live chat with each other. This is useful for sharing ideas and engaging in discussions.
- You can also have one to one and team meetings by using the video conferencing features.
- You can make phone calls to colleagues through TEAMS to save you from using your personal mobiles or domestic house phones.
- Microsoft Outlook remains a familiar tool which can be used sending work emails to colleagues throughout the University whilst working remotely. It will also be one the main communication tools for keep you updated by the Principal whilst you are working away from campus.
Step-by-step guides and further information for using TEAMS:
Technology to support remote working and file storage
It is important that that you ensure that your staff are aware of the following to enable remote working.
- Accessing Queen Mary applications when working remotely - You can find information on this here
- Prior to working remotely, staff should copy all essential files that they may need to access remotely from their G:drive (home drive) onto their OneDrive. Files from the J: drive (shared drive) can also be copied across if necessary. Staff with a managed Queen Mary laptop will retain access to the J and G drive remotely, so will not need to copy their files, but may still choose to do so.
- OneDrive is a Microsoft cloud service (part of Office 365) which provides storage for your individual files and is accessible on and off campus. Copying your files will mean you are able to access them remotely and if needed, from home. You can find a step-by-step guide on how to use OneDrive below.
- Please note that individual research participant data and other sensitive data should not be transferred to Teams, OneDrive, or SharePoint. Always follow Queen Mary Data Governance Policy guide.
Step-by-step guides and further information for OneDrive:
Support for staff
- Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) – is a free, confidential and independent resource available to staff and their families to help balance work, family and personal life. Available anytime, any day, by phone, email or online, the service provides information, resources, referrals and counselling on any issue that matters to you, such as work-life balance, relationships, debt, childcare, anxiety and depression, bereavement and loss.
Please bring the EAP service to your staff’s attention should they wish to seek confidential support
- Coaching - An opportunity to talk to one of our trained coaches one-to-one. Please book a date via our booking system. Following this our OPD team will reach out to confirm your time slot.
- Peer IT Coaches – Due to the swift introduction of the new IT tools it is likely that staff will adjust and be comfortable with using the new tools at different rates of adjustment.
Ask staff members who have high levels of competency and knowledge to act as coaches to other staff member who are still becoming familiar the tools.
Key Tip: Encourage your staff to use instant messenger within TEAMS to ask colleagues questions.
- Team meetings – Schedule these in advance and communicate the dates to your staff to prevent staff from feeling isolated when working remotely.
Key Tip: Think about how you will keep in touch with any staff member who does not have access to technology? How will you keep them updated with work and events within your area?
- Well being – For information on how you can promote your own well-being. We will be updating these pages with more online options. Also see our recent article on “How to promote positive mental health”.
- The HR Department – will be in operation. HR staff will also be working remotely but are still available to support managers and staff. For queries in the following areas please contact:
The Partnering team for all Employee Relation matters, please look up you HR Partner contact here
The HR Administration Team by emailing: email@example.com
The HR Pensions Team by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
The HR Payroll Team by emailing: email@example.com
The Organisational Professional Development Team: http://hr.qmul.ac.uk/contact/whoswho/
The Equality, Inclusion and Diversity Team: http://hr.qmul.ac.uk/contact/whoswho/
- Mental Health First Aiders - Queen Mary has developed a network of Mental Health First Aiders who can provide broad thinking help and advice for colleagues; they can also refer colleagues to places (internal and /or external) for additional help, advice and support.
To find out more including your list of Mental Health First Aiders in respective Schools, Institutes and for Professional Services, see here.
- Encourage your staff to have a look at these free courses on working remotely. These can be useful support tools.
- More generally, if work is quieter than normal this could be a good time for professional development, perhaps suggested reading, sharing knowledge with colleagues, or e-learning have a look at what OPD offer here.
All employment policies will still apply unless you are notified of a variation. That includes
Managing staff sickness absence whilst they are working remotely
- Staff should continue to report their sickness absence to you as they currently do.
- Sick pay will be paid to all staff in line with their Contracts of Employment.
Annual leave and remote working
- Staff are entitled to take annual leave whilst working remotely and are encouraged to do so, in line with normal arrangements for the booking of leave.
- Annual leave should be booked in the usual way through MyHR