Yes, your supervisor has the authority to cancel any pre-approved leave request, especially in circumstances where there are serious staffing shortages as a result of illness.
What is remote work?
Remote work 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 jobs are suited for remote work?
Remote work 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 leadership’s discretion, a job is suited to remote working 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 remote work?
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. Management and/or supervisory roles may be excluded from consideration for remote working arrangements unless a department finds such an arrangement practical in meeting job responsibilities. Some jobs that may not seem appropriate at first may be modified, with your college or division HR lead’s approval so that employees can work remotely.
As a supervisor, how can I make sure I'm managing remote employees effectively?
Remote work works best when employees and supervisors communicate clearly about expectations. The following checklist will help you establish a foundation for effective remote working, continued productivity, and service to the University community.
1. Review technology needs and resources.
Identify technology tools employees 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, if available. The UCF Cell Phone Policy may apply.
- 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). UCF employees have free access to Skype for Business, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and your department may have additional tools or resources.
- Ensure alternative worksite safety.
2. Review work schedules.
Remote working 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.
- For employees who are eligible for overtime, certain activities — such as travel to and from required meetings that occur during scheduled work time — are included as hours worked.
- OPS employees should continue to work, as long as there is work available, as agreed to by department/college head and HR lead. Timesheets or LAPERS will be managed through email as attachments to ensure employees will be paid for their remote work leave and hours worked. Submit LAPERs and timesheets to your supervisor and payroll processor.
3. Draft a work plan.
Review the questions below with employees 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 any identified impacts?
- Are there cross-training opportunities to identify backup employees who can do critical work within or between departments? Plan for employee absences.
- What key processes have been identified for each area/or department? Will there be specific platform access necessary to fulfill these processes?
- 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.
- Are there critical work activities that are vulnerable to the absence of a small number of key employees?
- Identify which teams or individuals have limited or no experience with remote work.
- What training will be necessary for remote work tools and technology?
- Identify and agree on strategic priorities during this time.
- Implement a test exercise to test your plan.
- Oftentimes employees experience fewer interruptions while working remotely. Are there any special projects, tasks, or online training that you can advance while working remotely?
- What events or meetings are scheduled during the time in which the temporary remote working arrangement is in place? Will they be postponed or canceled, or will they take place using technology?
- What follow-up should occur due to postponements or cancellations? What circumstances require on-site attendance?
- Identify employees who may need special requirements or currently have work accommodations, and plan accordingly.
- Identify employees who will have access to the building, labs, or facilities.
- Provide resources or the process for technical support.
4. 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 and the best ways for the employee to contact the supervisor while working remotely. Current performance standards are expected to be maintained by employees.
- If you normally make daily rounds to visit employees at their desks, you can give them a call during this period. 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. Consider starting 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 check-ins 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.
- Prepare an emergency communication plan. Identify key contacts (with backups), chains of communications for tracking business and employee statuses.
5. Be positive.
A positive attitude and a willingness to trust employees to effectively work remotely is key to making such arrangements successful and productive. Working remotely presents an opportunity for supervisors to become better managers. 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, supervisors will improve their organizational abilities and their own skill in managing by objectives.
6. Debrief after normal operations resume.
Employees and supervisors should review work plans when work returns to normal, assess progress on the employee’s work plan and prioritize any unresolved or new work that resulted from temporary operational disruption.
Which factors should departments/units consider when determining if remote work is possible?
- Operational requirements
- Security of work data
- Technological capabilities and equipment necessary to perform job duties
- Accuracy of records reflecting time worked by non-exempt employees
What assistance is available to me to help me cope with COVID-19 or other life events?
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is UCF’s mental health resource for students. You can visit CAPS’ website for information about and resources for coping during this time. Students can also schedule phone or virtual consultation with CAPS by calling 407-823-2811 or visiting their website.
Student Care Services continues to work remotely with anyone who needs additional academic or personal support during this time.
UCF offers our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to all non-student employees. This program provides resources to help employees and their dependents cope with these types of life events. The EAP, administered by Health Advocate, provides confidential, short-term counseling at no cost to the employee.
Health Advocate Toll-Free Number: 877-240-6863
Health Advocate Website: HealthAdvocate.com/members
What’s most important to starting a productive remote work arrangement?
Clearly outlined and executed remote work arrangements can prove beneficial to employees and supervisors alike. Supervisors should articulate clear procedures regarding check-in times and hours of availability. With proper planning, communication problems can be minimized.
Are high-risk employees required to report to work?
Employees who can continue to work remotely should, especially those at high risk of complications from COVID-19. Continued physical distancing and proper safety precautions remain critical, and this may mean a blend of remote and in-person work for some employees.
Supervisors should consider the individual needs and circumstances of their employees and are advised to remain flexible and understanding, knowing that some employees do not need to work from campus, may not feel comfortable doing so at this time, or have special circumstances that would hinder them from working on campus. Employees should work with their supervisors on their work schedule and arrangements.
Special circumstances include having a higher health risk according to CDC guidelines, being restricted by a medical isolation order or having dependent-care responsibilities.
Can I utilize my Short Term Disability benefits during the COVID-19 emergency period?
Employees covered by a UCF Short Term Disability (STD) plan may be eligible for benefits if they are diagnosed with the illness and are sick and unable to perform the major duties of their job due to the sickness. Contact information for the STD carriers are listed below:
Colonial Life: 888-756-6701 or www.visityouville.com/stateoffl
The Gabor Agency: 800-330-6115 or http://www.gaboragency.com/your-benefits/university-central-florida/group-disability/disability-insurance
I have become ill and must stay home. I don’t have enough leave to cover my absence from work due to my illness. How can I afford to stay home until I am completely well before returning to work?
To minimize the potential exposure to others, it is very important that you stay home while you have any contagious illness. If your illness qualifies under the federal Families First Act, you may be eligible for emergency leave pay. Alternatively, the following options may be available to you, although not all options will be available in all situations depending upon the nature of the job responsibilities and the extent of the illness.
- Make up the work on an hour-for-hour basis during the same workweek for non-exempt (hourly paid) employees with supervisory approval. UCF’s workweek begins at 12:00 a.m. on Friday and ends at 11:59 p.m. on the following Thursday.
- Exempt employees may make-up the work on an hour-for-hour basis during the same pay period with supervisory approval.
- Request a Leave Without Pay for up to ten days with supervisory approval. If an employee is out more than 10 days, the employee will need to request a Medical Leave of Absence. The Medical Request Leave Form is located at https://hr.ucf.edu/files/MedicalLeaveRequestForm.pdf
- Use a combination of the options above.
If I am placed on part-time work, and my regular work hours are decreased, can I file for reemployment assistance benefits?
Per the Department of Economic Opportunity, if your employer reduces your hours, you may be eligible for partial benefits. If you are earning less than $275 in gross earnings per week, you can file a claim to determine if you would be eligible to receive partial payments. More information is available at: connect.myflorida.com/Claimant/Core/Login.ASPX
Is there remote access to the university’s applicant tracking system, PageUp?
Yes, PageUp can be accessed via mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop utilizing single sign-on credentials.
My child’s school or day care is closed due to COVID-19 and my child is not sick. I have no other childcare arrangements. Can I bring my child to work?
No. Bringing a child to work is not permitted under a stay-at-home order. The only persons allowed on campus are employees who have been approved by their dean or vice president as being critical to the university’s continued operation. These employees include: first responders, healthcare professionals, supply chain personnel, critical infrastructure support personnel, approved researchers and instructors, and certain contractors. If you are not able to work remotely, the following options are available, although not all options will be available in all situations depending upon the nature of your job responsibilities:
- Use accrued sick or annual leave, due to the threat of exposure to illness.
- Make up the work on an hour-for-hour basis during the same workweek for non-exempt (hourly paid)
employees with supervisory approval. UCF’s workweek begins at 12:00 a.m. on Friday and ends at 11:59 p.m. on
the following Thursday.
- Exempt employees may make-up the work on an hour-for-hour basis during the same pay period with
supervisory approval, or if absent for a full workday, may use accrued leave.
- Request a Leave of Absence (annual leave usage for pay) or Leave of Absence (without pay) if you will be out
more than 10 days.
- Use a combination of the options above.
Please note that on March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law and became effective on April 1, 2020. University leadership is now working to understand how this new law may apply to UCF employees. More information will be provided when it becomes available, so please check back for details in the coming days.
What are the COVID-19 qualifying reasons for emergency paid sick leave?
The following are COVID-19 qualifying reasons for emergency paid sick leave:
- The employee is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
- The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;
- The employee is caring for a son or daughter because the child’s school or place of care has been closed or the child’s childcare is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions;
- The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of the HHS in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.
For more information, visit https://hr.ucf.edu/families-first-coronavirus-response-act/.