Guide to Our Return to Normal Operations
These past 14 months have been challenging for everyone at UCF and beyond. We are thankful for how our employees have supported our students and upheld our core mission of teaching, research and service.
On June 23, UCF will begin operating more closely to the way we did before the pandemic. All staff members are expected to return to their pre-COVID schedules and on-campus workspaces by that date, or by then have in place an approved alternative work arrangement that follows UCF’s Remote Work Arrangements policy. Supervisors and employees should begin to discuss the return to campus as soon as possible.
We are still learning lessons about working virtually, and we know that flexibility and remote work can help our employees achieve better work-life balance. However, decisions about remote work arrangements must consider the effectiveness of the individual to perform their work assignments remotely and the impact it has on their team and the institution.
Review the resources below for more information. We welcome your input at email@example.com.
Documents and Forms | UCF Campus Resources | Supervisor and Manager Resources | Key Takeaways for Employees | Your Remote Worksite | Employee Resources |
UCF Campus Resources
Supervisors and Manager Resources
LinkedIn Learning Courses
- Leading at a Distance: Tactics and strategies for empowering remote teams and team members, as well as teams that consist of remote and in-person employees
- Leading Virtual Meetings: Explore the challenges and benefits associated with online meetings and discover strategies for leading an effective meeting from a
- Managing Remote Teams – Setting Expectations, Behaviors, and Habits: Best practices on how to provide employees with the trust, tools, and structure they need to be successful in a virtual environment
- Managing Skills for Remote Leaders: How to create a sense of community and build an inclusive culture that spans virtual workspaces and shares values, goodwill, and ideas
- Effectively Managing Remote Teams (Simon Sinek)
- 9 Tips for Managing Remote Employees (Mary Baker, Smarter with Gartner)
- 13 Tips for Leading and Managing Remote Teams (Brent Gleeson, Forbes)
- Top 15 Tips to Effectively Manage Remote Employees (Forbes Coaches Council)
- Checklist: How to Support Parents Returning to the Workplace (Maven Clinic)
For more learning courses and videos for supervisors, visit the Supervisors/Managers Resources page.
Supervisors’ Guide to Remote Work Arrangements (Downloadable PDF available)
When assessing an employee’s eligibility to participate in a remote work arrangement, consider the following characteristics.
Eligibility to participate in a remote work arrangement is conditional upon agreement from the employee that he or she will be able to establish a proper working environment and have the skills necessary to perform their tasks assigned independently. The employee:
- Must possess productive and organized work habits to successfully work independently
- Must have both strong verbal and written communication skills and open communication lines with supervisor and colleagues
- Must be able to adhere to assigned work hours and manage their own schedule
- Must comply fully with the university’s attendance and time recording procedures and will accurately report and record all working hours
Some positions require the employee to physically be on campus to perform essential job duties and to maintain continuity of operations, and therefore, may not be eligible for remote work; however, departments may consider flexible work schedules if appropriate. Some important items to consider include:
- Positions that require in-person interactions with students, visitors, customers, and fellow employees may not be suitable for remote work, or the remote work arrangement proposed allows the employee to fulfill their responsibilities with regard to such interactions
- Regardless of work location, an employee’s responsibility is to fulfill their job responsibilities, perform at expected levels, and follow all UCF regulations, policies, and standards pertaining to their job without disrupting the productivity of the unit
- Work performed remotely should produce the output needed to successfully perform the role efficiently and effectively in a self-directed manner
Employees must have a designated, quiet, distraction-free space available to perform work in a productive environment with an appropriate internet connection. Employees must verify with their supervisors that the remote workplace meets the safety checklist requirements listed on the Remote Work Request Form:
- Temperature, ventilation, lighting, and noise levels are adequate for maintaining a work location
- Electrical equipment is free of recognized hazards that could cause physical harm and electrical system allows for grounding of electrical equipment
- Remote workplace is free of any obstructions that could restrict visibility and movement
- The university may provide equipment such as computers, laptops, tablets, printers, communication devices, and software needed to perform the employees’ work assignments. The equipment must be protected against damage and unauthorized use
Remote Working Request Process
Step 1: Employee makes request for remote work arrangement. A safe and productive remote work arrangement needs “yes” on all the survey/checklist questions.
Step 2: Supervisor reviews the request and applies the Remote Work Arrangement Program Manual, Remote Work Arrangements Policy, and Supervisors Guide to Remote Work Arrangements. Discussion may be needed using the form and any other resources.
Step 3: Once the form is complete, the Supervisor or employee submits the request to the appropriate channels within the unit.
Step 4: The Dean, Director, Department Head, or Designee approves/denies request. Exception signature only necessary for remote work greater than 2 days/16 hours per week, out of state, or new employee with under 6 months service.
Step 5: DDDH notifies supervisor of approval and forwards paperwork to HR.
Step 6: HR addresses any error or omissions, and files agreement in the Employee Record.
Key Takeaways for Employees
Set Up Your Workspace
Find a space in your home where you can concentrate. Set up a workspace in a low-traffic area where you can put down your computer and spread out. A designated and uncluttered space will help you focus and physically separate your work life and home life. Refer to our guide on setting up your remote work site for more tips and ideas.
Stay Secure Online
The UCF Information Security Office recommends to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when accessing your office PC or data stored on the university system via remote desktop to create a secure connection between your home network and UCF. Learn more about what you can do to stay secure online.
Share your daily task lists, communicate information when collaborating with others, and speak to your team every day. There are several communication mediums at your disposal, the most common of which include emails, voice calls, video calls, and instant messages. Using Outlook calendars and out of office message are great ways to let people know you are not physically in the office that day. Also make sure to communicate if you will be away from your desk for a while.
Maintain Healthy Boundaries
Make sure to take breaks, stay hydrated, and give yourself opportunities to “clock out” from remote work at the end of the day. Consider setting a routine for your day as this will help you stay productive and help you maintain a proper work/life balance. It’s also important to move your body throughout the day. Best practices include standing up and stretching every 30 minutes, looking away from the computer screen regularly and using correct posture.
Remote work arrangements are privileges, not rights. It is neither an entitlement nor a university benefit. The arrangement must be in the best interests of the university. The university reserves the right to terminate or adjust the Remote Work Arrangement or workplace schedule at any time.
Your Remote Work Site
Setting Up Your Home Office
As a remote employee, a designated work space can help separate your work life from your home life. When choosing that location, keep these tips in mind:
A Separate Room or Low-Traffic Area
Do you have a room where you can close the door and work quietly? While not a deal-breaker, a door creates a physical boundary between you and distractions like family members and pets. If you don’t have a separate room, choose a location that’s as low-traffic as possible. In addition, be sure that the remote workspace is free of any obstructions that could restrict visibility and movement.
Lighting and Ventilation
Adequate lighting levels are critical to having a productive and comfortable work space. Consider positioning your work space near natural light exposure. Temperature and ventilation are additional factors to keep in mind. Ensuring your workspace is properly equipped provides a safe and effective work environment.
Space for a Proper Surface and Chair
Ideally, you’ll have space for a traditional desk where you can create an ergonomically correct workstation. Additionally, a comfortable chair is one of the most important components of any office.
Safety and Security
Monitor and/or Laptop
Place monitors at the right height and be sure it is free from glare. If you are using a laptop, adjust your chair and how you are working to minimize potential problems.
Position the keyboard directly in front of your body and adjust it so your wrists, elbows and shoulders are in a neutral position.
Make sure your chair is at the right height for you:
- Your feet should be flat on the floor.
- Your back should be supported.
- Your armrests should be adjusted so your shoulders are relaxed.
You can make a table, counter, or other flat surface work as a desk for your alternate work space. It’s up to you to figure our what desk arrangement works best for you.
Your work area should be adequately illuminated with lighting directed toward the side or behind the line of vision to avoid eye strain from squinting in lighting that makes your work difficult to read. TIP: Using a desk lamp can help prevent headaches.
Ensure your electrical equipment is free of recognized hazards that could cause physical harm and that your electrical system allows for grounding of electrical equipment. It’s also good practice to ensure a first aid kit, portable fire extinguisher and emergency phone numbers are easily accessible.
Securing University Information
Think about the University’s record-keeping requirements and government laws, such as the Sunshine Law and the Public Records Laws. These rules apply even if you are working on your own computer. Employees must follow security procedures established by the University to ensure the protection, security, and confidentiality of University information and data.
- When accessing your office PC or data stored on the university system via remote desktop, use a Virtual Private Network(VPN) to create a secure connection between your home network and UCF.
This article will provide steps on setting up your VPN connection.
- The computer you use should have up-to-date anti-malware software installed. Control access to your system and make sure you lock or log out of your computer whenever you are not using it.
- UCF Policy 4-008 outlines security requirements with regards to sensitive data. You must use a UCF-provided workstation or laptop to work with sensitive data (using remote desktop to access your work computer from a home computer will satisfy this requirement).
LinkedIn Learning Courses
- Remote Work Foundations: Best practices using cloud-based tools to stay productive, build culture, and work seamlessly with your team
- Time Management – Working from Home: Tips to stay productive and balanced when working from home part-time or full-time
- Tips for Working Remotely: How to create a productive work environment at home by structuring your day, dedicating a space to work, and avoiding distractions
- 3 Tips to Avoid WFH Burnout (Laura M. Girge and Venessa K. Bohns, HBR)
- How to Combat Zoom Fatigue (Liz Fosslien and Molly West Duffy, HBR)
- How to Transition Between Work Time and Personal Time (Elizabeth Grace Saunders, HBR)
- Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere (Tsedal Neeley)
- Working from Home: Making the New Normal Work for You (Karen Mangia)