Managing Stress

Managing Stress Image

At a recent Managers' Forum, 61% reported experiencing symptoms of burnout, including physical and mental exhaustion

Be Flexible

How can we all balance the commitment to our mission and all of the at-home responsibilities and challenges that have come with this pandemic? This is particularly true for those who have caregiving responsibilities. 

We are committed to a compassionate and flexible approach to working with all employees and encourage our supervisors to be as flexible as possible with employees' schedules.

OK, so what might a compassionate, flexible approach look like?

Faculty and staff are facing enormous challenges in their home lives, particularly as caregivers to other family members, including children, parents, etc. We acknowledge that this is an extraordinarily difficult time and a flexible approach is not only needed, but is critical to our success. 

The following guidance is directed especially to our supervisors:

  • You have a critical role to play in helping faculty and staff to feel valued and to be successful. Morale is most impacted by how employees are treated by their immediate supervisor. In our Principles of Community, we affirm the inherent dignity and value of every person. Supervisors, please talk to those you supervise to understand and appreciate their unique challenges. 
  • Our employees have children in just about every school district in the area. Those school districts may have different approaches that necessitate different caregiving. Have a conversation with your employees about their needs and how to develop a work schedule that assists with those needs and serves our shared mission. Keep checking in as the semester goes by. 
  • If your employee can successfully work remotely and does not need to work in-person to provide campus support, unit/department heads, please assist and continue to assist that employee in working remotely. This is the case even if the employee would have been on campus at this time in years past. Importantly, this approach helps the university de-densify its worksites - an important step in mitigating the current risks we face. Information Technology has excellent resources for Zoom connectivity and other remote work support. Reasonable department expenses related to COVID-19 and remote work may be reimbursed. Please check with your supervisor first, before incurring any expenses.
  • For employees whose duties require them to be physically present on campus, please make sure your department/unit has worked with campus operations to have supplies in place for cleaning workspaces. Make sure that your workspaces are set up to maintain social distancing. Limit person-to-person interactions and appointments by using email, telephone and videoconferencing to the extent possible for your area. If your employees bring concerns to you about these practices not being followed, please listen to them and follow up on their concerns.
  • Employees may have a need to use leave related to COVID-19. A new leave program, Families First Coronavirus Response Act, or FFCRA, may apply to employee's personal or family circumstances. Employees may also need to use other forms of leave. Your HR partner or the Employee & Labor Relations team can assist with questions.
  • With respect to schedules for employees working on campus and remotely, a flexible and compassionate approach may not adhere to a traditional 8-5 schedule. For some that may be just fine, for others maybe not. Please keep in mind that employees who are non-exempt do need to record all hours worked, but that doesn't mean those hours must happen between 8-5 or at the same time each day. Work together with your employees to develop the work schedule that makes the most sense, balancing mission and the needs of employees as much as possible. 

Additional Resources