Working Remotely

Many staff are continuing to work remotely. It is critical to maintain a low density of people on campus at this time to protect the health and safety of our community. Do not come to campus unless you have received prior approval to do so and have completed the required onboarding process.

Health and Safety

Even if you are not working on campus, you should follow all guidelines recommended by the CDC to keep you and your family safe. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

Resources for Working Remotely

Working remotely has its own unique set of challenges and many of us have had to adapt to a fully remote work environment very quickly. Human Resources has some tips and resources to help you work successfully from home. The resources below can also help you access the tools and technology you need.

Hours and Schedule

Be Flexible

We recommend that supervisors be flexible with staff in terms of working hours where possible. Many of us are caring for children or family members and may need a more flexible work schedule than what we normally work in the office. For some this may mean that you are working earlier in the morning or later in the evening. Be clear about your schedule with your supervisor by working with them to clarify your schedule.

Be Realistic

We also recognize that for many your home’s work environments may not be optimal and that we all have different stressors brought about by the current events. We are not expecting the same level of productivity as we might under normal circumstances; we do expect you to communicate clearly with your supervisor about your ability to complete tasks and conduct work.

Be Clear

We recommend setting up regular working hours so that your colleagues know when they can contact you or schedule meetings. Please remember that just because you are working from home does NOT mean that you are always available to work.

Report your time

If you are a bi-weekly employee, please use the guidance provided by HR in reporting your time. Contact your supervisor or HR if you have questions.

Working from Home

Try to set aside a space that is comfortable for you to work (recognizing that the ability to do this will vary for everyone).

Work schedule

Set a regular schedule for yourself when possible. Discuss this work schedule with your supervisor. Ensure the colleagues you work with most often are aware.

Tools & technologies

Make sure you have the right tools and technologies for you to work from home. Reach out for assistance:

Take regular breaks

It can be easy to sit for long stretches of time especially with video meetings. Get up and move around regularly.

Important reminder!

Again, just because you are working from home does NOT mean that you are or should feel like you are always available. Make sure to turn off email, Zoom, etc. when you are not working.

General Communication Guidelines

Clarify communication channels

Supervisors should work with staff to be clear on what channels they can reliably contact staff. Everyone should communicate with those colleagues they regularly work with on what communication platforms they can be reliably found on. For cross-departmental work assume that email is the best communication tool. Consider including information in your email signature around what communication methods you can be reliably reached on.

Forwarding calls and voicemail

Either forward your phones to an appropriate number (if you are comfortable, for example, receiving calls on your cell phone) OR provide alternate contact information on your voicemail (your email address for example).

Voicemail Setup
Features Activation (Call Forwarding)

Automatic replies

Do NOT use auto-reply functions on your email if you are working from home. Likewise, do not block your calendar if you are working from home. Please only use these tactics if you are not working (i.e., sick, vacation, etc.).

Socializing at a Distance

So much of our day is communicating in person — it isn’t until we are working remotely that we realize this. Some of your colleagues may be more isolated than others during this difficult time.

Consider open office hours

You can set up open office hours as a Zoom session to hold office hours, for example, in order to allow people to drop in virtually to ask questions. This can be helpful for managers.

Guidance on Productivity Tools

Emory University uses a variety of productivity tools that can help make remote work easier. Below are tips for using a handful of the most helpful tools.

Emory Phone Tips

Outlook Calendar Tips

Many of us have different ways of managing our calendars, but now more than ever, a clear understanding of when we are available will help us communicate at a distance.

Accept or Decline Calendar Invites

If you are invited to a meeting, remember to accept or decline the calendar invite. This allows your colleagues to know whether or not you will be attending the meeting AND it will ensure that your calendar reflects that you are busy (or free).

Block your time if you aren’t working

Normal business hours are between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you will not be working for some portion of normal business hours, remember to block that portion of the day on your calendar. This will ensure that staff do not schedule meetings you can’t attend. Remember, do not block your calendar just because you are working from home; people attempting to schedule meetings with you will assume you are in a meeting.

Respect people’s calendars

If you are scheduling a meeting, be sure to look at the Scheduling Assistant in Outlook or the Outlook Web Application (OWA) to see meeting attendees’ free and busy times. Do your best to find a time all meeting attendees are free.

Add a Zoom connection

If you’re scheduling a meeting, remember to add a Zoom connection. More information about Zoom can be found below.

Zoom Tips

Many meetings will be conducted on Zoom; having face-to-face contact via video conferencing helps in communication and maintaining connection to our colleagues. For many of us, this amount of videoconferencing will be new. Below is some documentation and tips on accessing and using Zoom.

Do use a headset

It can help with sound (both for you and those who are listening to you) and minimize some of the ambient noise.

Do mute your microphone

If you aren’t speaking, mute yourself. This will minimize background noise and help people trying to speak or listen.

Do turn on video if you can

As stated above, having face-to-face contact can help with communication and connection.

Do watch out for backlighting

Backlighting can make it difficult for people to see you on video (for example, a window that is behind you). This can mean that your face is hard to see.

We’re all human

We will all probably have some embarrassing moments on Zoom especially with children, partners, pets, and others also at home—that's okay!

Teams Tips

Microsoft Teams is a great way to communicate and collaborate within groups or departments. It adds Instant Messaging, Audio, Video, and integration capabilities to help a group's workflow. Teams is most comparable to a competitive product, Slack. Microsoft Teams will eventually be replacing Skype for Business (TBD date).

Microsoft Teams sits on top of an Office 365 Group

As a reminder, Office 365 Groups offer a Distribution List, shared mailbox archive, shared calendar, Planner, OneDrive storage, Team SharePoint site, and Flow/Forms integration.