The experience of working remotely, particularly as part of a traditional, campus-based team, likely presents a new challenge for most Student Affairs staff. This is new ground…or space…for all of us. Clearly these are unprecedented times, and for staff at all levels, like students, it can feel overwhelming. For many of us, the foreseeable future will require exeedingly high levels of adaptability, understanding, and learning on the fly.
We hope you find this unofficial, informal guidance to be a great starting point as we work together to support each other, create new ideas, and tap into resources. Below you will find links to upcoming professional development opportunities and resources, as well as a few questions to consider as you transition from working remotely to returning to campus. As of August 10, all staff will have returned to campus so it is essential you familiarize yourself with the coronavirus.uga.edu website to stay up to date with University procedures.
For supervisors, we recognize the distance may have not helped with the balance of supporting your team and ensuring the best continuity for students. This resource is not intended to be a directive. Think of this as a starting point - a primer for your plan to support your team as you re-envision how leadership, mentorship, workflow, supervision, and interactions evolve to succeed in the online space.
We will continue to add resources, examples, and best practices in the coming days as we learn more. Feel free to share your ideas, examples, and questions with us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to seeing you on our next Zoom!
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Scheduled intermittently, staff will be able to participate in 30 to 60 minute Zoom professional development webinars. All staff are welcome to participate and are encouraged to attend, just make sure to register before the session so we know to expect you! To register, head over to the Staff Development calendar and click the "Regsiter" button. Have questions about a particular session? Want to present on some material? Contact James Crawford in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs via email at email@example.com.
Are you building out a digital "team retreat" to help welcome new hires to your department? Are you looking for someone to lead a discussion in your next Zoom staff meeting? Whether it is a quick Zoom chat or a half-day digital retreat, we would love to help support you!
Contact James Crawford in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs (firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule a time to review your preferred outcomes, expectations, and any considerations for the drop-in. From there, James will work in partnership with you to build and deliver material designed to meet outcomes and encourage the continual development of your team.
This section includes additional considerations and questions related to working remotely and the phased return to campus.
Along with faculty, students, and visitors, you are now required to wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities and buildings where six feet social distancing may not always be possible. You should have been supplied two face coverings and a digital thermometer by the university. On your return, please let your supervisor know if you have not received these.
It is critical that you follow guidelines issued by the GDPH, CDC, USG, and UGA to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Please educate yourself on best practices and the many safety precautions being taken by the university, as well as available resources provided. If you have questions or feel there are areas that need to be addressed further, please let us know.
Although it is likely that you know yourself, your team, and the team's working relationship(s) with each other pretty well, uncertainty and change can open up new doors. This is an opportunity to revisit past expectations with one another while also creating new expectations that support the transition to remote work. Your first step is to develop expectations with your staff and your supervisor. Below are some sample questions help you get started in your transition to work remotely. Remember, these are just examples and starter questions to help you and your team members establish realistic expectations for productivity and support.
Questions to consider asking your supervisor:
Questions to consider asking your team (group):
Questions to consider asking individual team members:
This is a great opportunity for you to revisit your own personal definition of productivity. Establish your own personal metrics for productivity. Does it vary from project-to-project? Does it tie into specific goals you have in mind? What feedback might your supervisor have? Working remotely requires us to, at times, re-wire how we feel productive in our work. Sometimes it is completing a tangible item like a project or report. Other times, it is all of the steps taken to have that 30-minute Zoom meeting go fluidly. It is all about accomplishment, not activity.
We recommend you follow the various University forms of social media and continue checking your email. Considering there are so many forms of communication going out, we recommend you establish some personal plans to reduce email fatigue. Most communication on behalf of the Division will come from the Administrative Team member or from a Leadership Team member. Now, more than ever, it is important to check in with your supervisor on a more frequent basis since information and solutions are ever evolving.
Our initial recommendation, if it is within your position responsibilities, is to connect with students you directly advise/supervise and to check in on them. Perhaps it is reminding them of big ideas they had when they first stepped into their job or leadership position. Maybe it is reminding them to sign up for academic advising appointments or register for classes.
Regardless of department size, social distancing can create, well, distance. Working remotely removes the opportunity for personal interactions. Moments of genuine connection and interaction can be difficult to replicate in the online space. Connect with your supervisor and your team to develop a communication plan that promotes productivity without losing the human element. Using these digital tools to maintain connection can be tricky because it is likely, for most of us, a glimpse into the work life and home life of our coworkers.
An ArchNews announcement sent on March 17, 2020 called for supervisors to be as flexible as possible with work from home assignments. How can you appropriately manage your teams from a distance? The shift from seeing each other five days a week to now seeing them from the other side of a screen can be quite a dramatic shift. Below are a few ways to help lead your team through this time of uncertainty and transition.
An added challenge for our "new normal" of working remotely is identifying remote work for student employees. Develop a list of projects and times for your to teach them on how to assist with the projects remotely. Develop a way to check in on them via a Zoom meeting. Consider using your meetings with them as small focus groups to gather their insight and feedback on how a new initiative or idea may work. Below are few ideas to help develop and maintain productivity with student staff. Continue to check back in at this page as we continue to learn new ways departments are engaging their student staff.
Perhaps you would like to hold a digital team retreat or examine how some department initiatives connect to the 2025 Strategic Plan. Whether you need a few minutes to bounce some ideas off of someone, need someone to build a digital retreat or workshop for your unit, or would like someone to lead a breakout session for your team, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs is here to support you. You can contact us at email@example.com.