Below is guidance and resources to help supervisors manage their teams remotely.

We understand that there might be a learning curve for supervisors, as they not only adjust to doing their own work remotely, but also shift to a remote management scheme.  Please be kind to yourself and know that there might be some growing pains.  Essentially, though, the same principles apply to managing remotely as managing on-site.  The difference is the how not the what.  We expect our managers to make sure their employees have the tools they need to do their work remotely, communicate clear expectations to their employees in terms of what their job duties and responsibilities are during this time of 100% telework, discuss with employees how you will measure their performance, and to be available to communicate with your employees (via Skype for Business, Phone, Email, WebEx, etc.).

Managing employee performance requires supervisors to answer three main questions:

  • • What expectations do I have for the employee while teleworking?
  • • How will I determine if the employee is meeting expectations?
  • • How will I provide feedback to the employee?

In setting expectations for employees who are teleworking, follow the same approach you would in any other supervisory situation. Ensure that the standards are clear, specific, measurable, realistic, and accepted by both you and the employee. Supervisors and managers should look at the duties/responsibilities outlined in the employee’s Employee Work Profile (EWP) or Position Description (PD) and note the work that can be conducted via telework and the work that cannot.  Where gaps are identified, the employee and supervisor should outline other work that will ensure the employee is able to have a full day’s work on which to focus.

 

An example of a modified performance standard for an employee who is teleworking:

Current standard:

Oversees the production of the divisional newsletter. Ensures timely and efficient production schedules.

Revised Standard:

Oversees the production of the divisional newsletter. Schedules a phone conference with appropriate parties to ensure tasks are clarified and on schedule. Ensures timely and efficient production schedules. 

  • • The required number of work hours will not change due to the use of telework and employees are responsible for adhering to university and state attendance policies.
  • • While generally, employees must perform the duties outlined in their EWP or PD that are appropriate for telework, under these unusual circumstances, employees may be asked to complete duties that are not specifically outlined in their EWP or PD as a part of their emergency telework agreements.
  • • The employee remains responsible for accurate and timely completion of his/her timesheet utilizing the same method of time reporting as when not on a flexible work agreement (e.g. PatriotWeb, departmental time, etc.).
  • • The supervisor and employee will agree on the manner and timing of communication between the telework/remote work site and the central work site. The employee will be reachable via telephone and/or e-mail or other agreed-upon methods during core hours of accessibility. The employee and supervisor will agree on how to handle telephone messages, and will designate what persons will be given the employee’s alternate worksite phone number.

After you discuss your expectations with your employee, you should memorialize those expectations in writing, particularly if they are in any way different than those of the employee’s onsite role.  You can capture your expectations either in the employee’s temporary Flexible Work Agreement or in an email.  Once you have made clear what the employee is responsible for during this time, you should hold them accountable to those standards.  You should continue to have regular meetings (via Webex, Skype for Business, or phone) with your employees and if possible, keep to the same schedule. Make sure that you are giving performance feedback at least as regularly as you did when you managed on-site.

In addition to the day-to-day activities of your employees, you may also assign to them learning activities in MasonLEAPS.  Please view this job aid to learn how to assign training to your employees. This is a great way for you to strengthen your employees’ skills in key areas (including telework-centric areas) and to keep them on track to meet their particular development goals.  As we shift to providing virtual services, we have highlighted course content that may be of value to you and your team in MasonLEAPS. For support with supervising remotely, please see the Remote Work Resources for Supervisors playlist in MasonLEAPS. Please see this job aid to learn how to view playlists in MasonLEAPS.

This is an unusual and stressful time for all of us, and we are asking our workforce to carry on with their roles while many things beyond our control are in flux.  We are asking everyone to be cognizant of that, to be patient, to be kind, to check in on one another, to stay engaged and help motivate your colleagues to stay engaged as well.  Resources to help you do that (and to help others do the same) can be found in these toolkits and in MasonLEAPS. The Creativity, Adaptability, and Working Differently playlist in MasonLEAPS can help get you started with working and collaborating in new ways. Please see this job aid to learn how to view playlists in MasonLEAPS.

The Employee Relations team is available to discuss any performance management concerns you have to ensure that you and your team are well-positioned for success.  If you have specific questions, please email Employee Relations for assistance.

 

Telework Checklist 

  • • Discuss telework expectations and assignments
  • • Confirm that the employee has the necessary tools
  • • Employee completes Flexible Work Agreement when they are able
  • • Highlight the telework expectations in the “Additional Comments” section of the Flexible Work Agreement or in a separate email

 

Resources

Employee Relations Emprel@gmu.edu