September 19, 2020

Flexible Workplace: Support for K-12 Parents

A message from the Office of Human Resources. 

Dear Colleagues,

COVID-19 has presented challenges for the workforce since early spring; UMW staff and faculty have kept the university running without missing a beat, and that has taken enormous effort and dedication. The past months have required all of us to be creative and flexible in our approach to how work gets done, and we’ve learned a lot so far! Everyone has done an outstanding job of adapting to telework or hybrid arrangements. We continue to be challenged to find new ways of working and communicating.

Now that the new school year has begun, there is an even greater need for flexibility in the workplace. K-12 schools have resumed in a primarily virtual format, which means many parents and caregivers will be required to supervise their children’s schooling while also performing their own job duties. UMW values its workforce and we recognize how challenging it is for families to ensure their children’s needs are met while also striving to meet the demands of their jobs.

It’s important to support those in our workforce who are serving the dual role of UMW employee and school teacher for children at home. With this in mind, we encourage you and your manager to collaborate and think flexibly about how your work is best performed, how the job is structured, how the work of the team is organized, and what kind of changes may be made to support you and your colleagues at this time, while maintaining effective departmental operations.

Some options may include:

  • Use of Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) and personal leave for either initial positioning of your children for learning success (first few weeks of the school year), or daily support of your children’s learning
  • Schedule changes to days worked, including, as applicable, evening and weekend work
  • Schedule changes to hours worked, for example, working from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., and then from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Restructured jobs to support telework or weekend hours
  • Reorganized team operations and work schedules
  • School Assistance and Volunteer Service Leave (SCSL) may be used by employees with students engaging in virtual learning this fall. The policy permits up to 16 hours per leave year for employees to assist in the education of their child, step-child, or child for which the employee has legal custody. Any SCSL hours already used since January 10th must be deducted from the 16 hour allotment

If you need help coping with the additional stress of home-based schooling, the EAP can help – it’s confidential, free and available 24/7.

Managers and supervisors are encouraged to contact Human Resources with questions or for additional guidance.

Listed below are links to telework resources for employees and supervisors; many of these may already be familiar as they were distributed several months ago, but I encourage you to revisit the links of interest to you.

 

Telework Resources for Supervisors:

Teleworking: Guidance and Assistance for Supervisors and Managers
Tips:  Managing Remote Employees
Teleworking Learning Tools – March 31, 2020
Leading Virtual Meetings– Microcourse from DDI and  Dr. Steven G. Rogelberg
COVID-19 Has My Teams Working Remotely: A Guide for Leaders– Gallup
15 Questions About Remote Work, Answered – Harvard Business Review

Telework Resources for Employees:

15 Questions About Remote Work, Answered– Harvard Business Review
Telework Fundamentals – Employee Training  
Teleworking Learning Tools – March 31, 2020
DHRM-WC – Safety Tips for Teleworkers – COV Learning Center course to help educate teleworkers on typical safety hazards encountered while working from an alternative work location.

 

Thank you,

Beth Williams
Executive Director for Human Resources
University of Mary Washington
540-654-1294
bwilli22@umw.edu