December 14, 2018

Office Sustainability Tip of the Week

With December and the holidays upon us, hopefully we’re all getting into the spirit of the season a little bit.  Even though this often proves to be a very stressful time of year, it’s also a time when people come together to help those in need.  Throughout the entire year, organizations on campus such as COAR organize charitable events that benefit the local community.  Most recently, the Staff Advisory Committee organized a Thanksgiving Food Drive, as did Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), the national Education honor society at UMW.  Hopefully we’re all doing a little something this month to help others and those in need.  While the “Office Sustainability Tip of the Week” usually focuses on environmental concerns, we’re taking the opportunity this week to think about how to go about sustaining social relationships in the workplace.

If you’re like me and many other people, you often feel as if you spend more time with your co-workers during the week than you do with your own family.  So it’s crucial to establish good relationships with everyone that you work with.  We’re often quick to shoot off the most minor of emails to co-workers to ask a question or pass along some information, but what about picking up the phone to speak to the individual or walking over to their area/office to discuss things in person?  Even doing this just once or twice a month might make that connection you have with individuals a little more personal.  Some organizations/institutions have “no email Fridays,” which encourages employees to pick up the phone or speak to individuals face-to-face as opposed to sending an email.  Is a policy like this always going to be practical?  Perhaps not, but it’s something to think about. Moreover, how often do we misinterpret tone or intent through email? How often is it hard to even comprehend what is trying to be communicated to you through email? The choice to speak with someone over the phone or in person may not only improve social relationships in the workplace, but it may also improve communication, problem-solving, and productivity.

What about other ways to improve interpersonal relationships in the workplace?  If you’re a supervisor, are you taking the time to praise employees for a job well done?  If there’s that one individual in your office who NEVER leaves their office except for lunch, are you reminding them to take a few minutes every now and then for a quick walk around campus, to grab a cup of coffee, or to even just get up and stretch a little bit?  (Yes, I did just propose that you encourage your employees to get up and stretch.  It’s an excellent way to maintain a healthy workplace. Read more about that by going to https://tinyurl.com/y9fnsfan). Maybe the answer for improving social relationships with your co-workers lies outside the office. Does your office have a weekly happy hour or get together for lunch or dinner? What about a Book Club or Movie Night among those you work with?  If not, maybe it’s time for you to initiate this idea among your co-workers.  The holiday season is also a great opportunity to have a Pot Luck Office Luncheon or a fun Cookie Exchange.

If you have any suggestions for things we can all do differently each day to create more sustainable office environments–whether ecological or social–please feel free to leave a comment or email Kevin Caffrey (kcaffrey@umw.edu) with ideas for other Sustainability Tip of the Week articles.

Kevin Caffrey is the Senior Associate Registrar at UMW and serves as Staff Co-Chair of the President’s Council on Sustainability.  Formed in the fall of 2009, the PCS consists of faculty, staff, and students and reports both to the Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance and the Provost, serving a critical role in shaping administrative goals and objectives relating to campus sustainability.  Their next meeting is Wednesday Dec. 5  at 4:30 p.m. in the University Center, 2nd Floor Jamba Juice/Qdoba dining area. Meetings generally last one hour and are open to employees, students, and the public. 

Office Sustainability Tip of the Week

This week’s “Office Sustainability Tip of the Week” focuses on how you can “go green” with meetings.  Over the past few years at UMW I’ve seen a lot of departments make great strides in going green when it comes to their meetings, but there’s always room for improvement.  Here are some suggestions you may want to consider in terms of sustainability when organizing (or attending) a meeting:

Agendas/Meeting Documents:  When it comes to distributing agendas, think of ways other than printing out copies to hand out to each attendee the day of the meeting.  Do you use SharePoint?  Does your office have a Shared Drive?  Have you considered using Canvas for your meetings to upload Agendas and other documents?  Any of these methods lend themselves to saving paper.  Sending an email out to attendees with the Agenda before a meeting would leave it up to the attendee to determine if they want to print out a copy.  I bet in many circumstances, if attendees saw the agendas of meetings beforehand, they would decide they need not print them out.  In your email, let everyone know they do not have to print them out because they’ll be available at the meeting.  Then on the day of the meeting, you can decide to use a classroom or office whiteboard to jot down the Agenda or use an overhead projector as opposed to handing out printed copies.  There are lots of different ways to reduce the use of paper when it comes to agendas.  As for documents that need to be distributed during meetings, it again comes down to discretion.  What is necessary to print out, and what could serve the same purpose in electronic form?  And if printing documents is necessary, print on both sides of the paper.  Another big tip – avoid printing out Power Point slides!

Teleconference: Is it possible that one or more of the attendees could telecommute to the meeting by calling in?  We have three campuses.  If you’re holding a meeting at the Fredericksburg campus with ten people, and one of the attendees works at the Dahlgren or Stafford campus, would it be possible for that individual to call in to the meeting?  Less cars being driven to and from places means less emissions.  Additionally, that individual would save money on gasoline as well as wear & tear on their vehicle.  Calling in to a meeting as opposed to physically attending may not always be an option, but for that next meeting you hold, take a moment to consider the idea.  Also – don’t forget about carpooling!  If you are attending a meeting at another campus or Eagle Village where one or more other individuals will also be attending, reach out to them to discuss carpooling to the meeting.

Catering: If you’re having your meeting catered, avoid ordering bottled water and provide pitchers of cold tap water with ice instead.  Think about encouraging attendees to bring their own travel mugs for coffee.  Avoid coffee stirrers.  Do you still use them?  If you think about it, you really don’t need to.  Put your milk and sugar/sugar substitute in your cup first, then add the coffee—no stirrer or spoon required!  Little trick I learned from working at a restaurant when I was a teenager (thank you Friendly’s in Levittown, NY).  Furthermore, consider serving finger size food that requires no silverware.  (Note to anyone inviting me to a future meeting: I like mini powdered donuts).  Our catering service has “green” options too.  They are slightly more expensive, but they provide sustainable plates, utensils, etc.

Recycling:  Does the space you’re holding your meeting in have a recycling bin?  When exiting a meeting, attendees are often looking for somewhere to dispose of their water or soda bottles, or maybe a newspaper that they have been carrying around with them all day and now need to toss it.  Having a recycling bin in the space where you  hold your  meeting may just prevent someone from throwing a recyclable item into a garbage can.

Energy Conservation: Don’t forget to turn off the lights and any projectors or computers in your meeting room when not in use!

Hopefully you’re already doing some of the above when organizing meetings.  If not, consider if you can put any of these tips into practice.  If you have any suggestions for things we can all do differently each day to create more sustainable office environments, please feel free to leave a comment or email me the idea to be featured in a future Tip of the Week.

Kevin Caffrey is the Senior Associate Registrar at UMW and serves as Staff Co-Chair of the President’s Council on Sustainability.  Formed in the fall of 2009, the PCS consists of faculty, staff, and students and reports both to the Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance and the Provost, serving a critical role in shaping administrative goals and objectives relating to campus sustainability.  Their next meeting is Friday October 5th at 12 Noon in HCC 307.  Meetings generally last one hour and are open to employees, students, and the public.  No agendas are ever printed out.

Office Sustainability Tip of the Week

With everyone now back on campus and getting a handle on their schedule for the fall, we thought it would be a good time to remind faculty and staff about conserving energy in and around your work space.

Whether you work in an office with a lot of people or just a few, chances are there’s that one room or area where the lights are probably kept on even when not in use.  Is it a copy room that might have a few people going in and out every hour, but the lights are turned on in the morning and kept on until the last person leaves for the day?  What about your office kitchen?  It probably sees the most traffic early in the morning and between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., but are the lights left on all day?

We don’t want to be working by candlelight or microwaving our Smart Ones Chicken Fettuccines in the dark, but take a moment to consider those spaces and other areas in your office where lights are left on for extended periods of time when clearly the space is not in use.

Consider your own personal office space as well.  My office has two light switches.  Flipping just one on in the morning does the trick.   Do you have windows in your office?  (Lucky!)  Consider the feasibility of using the natural light your office receives as opposed to the overhead fluorescent lighting.  Also, if you’re attending a short meeting, walking across campus, going to lunch – do you turn off the lights in your office?   Do you turn off your monitors? It’s in the best interest of maintaining a green office to do so.

Another tip in conserving energy is turning off your computer, printer, monitors, etc. when you leave for the day.  Even reducing the brightness of your laptop screen or computer monitor reduces energy use.

Hopefully you’re already doing some if not all of these little things that help to conserve energy.  If not, there’s no better time than now to start making these small changes.  And while you’re at it, take the opportunity to set an example for your co-workers by posting reminders and having these types of discussions during staff meetings or office gatherings.

If you have any suggestions for things we can all do differently each day to create more sustainable office environments, please feel free to leave a comment or email me the suggestion to be featured in a future Sustainability Tip of the Week.

Kevin Caffrey is the Senior Associate Registrar at UMW and serves as Staff Co-Chair of the President’s Council on Sustainability.  Formed in the fall of 2009, the PCS consists of faculty, staff, and students and reports both to the Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance and the Provost, serving a critical role in shaping administrative goals and objectives relating to campus sustainability.  Their first meeting of the fall semester will be held this Monday September 10th at 4:30PM in HCC 307.  Meetings generally last one hour and are open to employees, students, and the public .

Caffrey to perform at DMC Performing Arts Festival

Senior Associate Registrar Kevin Caffrey will be performing a short acoustic set of songs from his two most recent CDs (2017’s Downshifter & 2013’s Medium Talent) on Thursday July 12th at the Fred Theater in downtown Fredericksburg as part of the Dance Matrix & Company’s 2018 Performing Arts Festival.  The festival is a 4-day event featuring a wide range of individual artists & groups scheduled to perform and teach community workshops.  For tickets and more event information, go to http://www.dancematrixcompany.com/.  Fred Theater is located at 810 Caroline Street above Jabberwocky Books.

SAC News

Thanks for Voting!  Thank you to everyone who took the time to elect and vote for our new SAC members!  New members will be contacted and announced soon!

Excellent Eagle Employee Program: Nominate your co-workers, supervisor or employees for the Excellent Eagle Employee award. It’s easy! Just complete the Excellent Eagle Employee nomination form on our website. Take some time to nominate someone today! Winners get reserved parking on campus for the month.

#1 F.A.N. (Fantastic Action Noticed) In addition to the Excellent Eagle program, you can also recognize a colleague using HR’s #1 F.A.N. program. Did you experience exceptional customer service or awesome collaboration? If so, nominate the person or people involved in that experience. Complete the #1 F.A.N. form on the HR website, and your colleague will be able to choose a UMW spirit item as a token of appreciation.​

December SAC Meeting – Our December meeting will be held Tuesday 12/12 1-3PM in Lee Hall 412.  Tiffany Oldfield, Title IX Coordinator, will be our guest speaker.  SAC meeting are open for all to attend.  Hope to see you there!

Staff Evaluation in Careers Reminder – The deadlines for Performance Evaluations are fast approaching.

Due Dates:

  • Classified Performance Evaluations are due no later than December 5, 2017.  (Performance period being evaluated:  October 25, 2016 – October 24, 2017)
  • A/P Performance Evaluations are due no later than December 15, 2017.(Performance period being evaluated:  June 25, 2016 – June 24, 2017)

Confirm Payroll Record Info!  Please take a few moments before December 4, 2017 to verify and, if needed, update your mailing address and legal name as they appear in Human Resources and Payroll records. This information must  be correct for the University’s year-end Employer Reporting, your W-2 statements, and the commonwealth’s  Affordable Care Act reporting.  Errors may result in federal penalties for the University.

November 17th Blood Drive – The UMW Red Cross Student Organization welcomes faculty and staff donors at our monthly blood drives on the Fredericksburg campus! This upcoming drive is the LAST chance to donate in the fall semester!  The drive will take place on November 17th at the Hurley Convergence Center Digital Auditorium Date from 11am-5pm.  Walk-ins are welcome but please be aware that appointments take priority and we’ve had almost completely full appointment lists this semester!  Please email umw.redcrossclub@gmail.com with any questions or comments.

Thanksgiving Time Off – Remember that UMW will be closed for the Thanksgiving Break at Wednesday November 22nd 12 Noon, Thursday November 23rd and Friday November 24th.   

Here Comes Santa Claus – Now’s the time to reserve your slot with Santa at Brompton Saturday December 9 from 1-4PM .  RSVP at http://umweagleeye.wpengine.com/2017/11/13/here-come-santa-claus/.

November Visit from Giant Food Nutritionist – Lindsay Pugliese, the in-store nutritionist at Giant grocery store, will be on campus on Thursday November 30rd from 11am to 12 noon (Lee Hall, Room 412) to speak about Nutrition for Fitness Lovers.  She will have a food tasting, coupons and recipes to give out to her audience!  Open to all UMW students & staff.  Also — Eagle Village Giant Food grocery store is offering a 5% discount to UMW staff and students. You must present your Eagle One ID card and it is valid at the Eagle Village location only.

 

SAC News

July 2017 SAC Meeting – Our July meeting will take place on Thursday July 20th at the Stafford Campus and there will be ice cream!  The meeting will be at 1:00pm in the South Building Room 208.  All are welcome to attend.  Our guest speaker will be Melissa Yakabouski, Director of Undergraduate Admissions.  In addition to discussing the incoming class profile, Melissa will also share information about new initiatives in the Admissions area.  The SAC will also be voting for a new SAC Vice President. That person will be SAC President next year.  We also have upcoming fall activities and event to discuss.  For planning purposes, if you plan on attending, please RSVP to Pam Lowery (plowery@umw.edu).

Joni Wilson Article – There is a great article in The Free Lance-Star about longtime Director of Landscape & Grounds Joni Wilson, who is retiring after 30+ years of service.  The article can be viewed online by going to https://t.co/U2FnKbCft5

Faculty & Staff Calendar Items – Faculty and staff who want to submit calendar items for the upcoming academic year, please visit https://at.umw.edu/ and post your events.

UMW FY 18 Salary Increase – Be sure to read through Sabrina Johnson’s 6/13 email regarding the UMW FY 18 Salary Increase.  You can contact Paula Wilder, pwilder@umw.edu  in the Office of Human Resources with any questions you may have.

Excellent Eagle Employee Program: Nominate your co-workers, supervisor or employees for the Excellent Eagle Employee award. It’s easy! Just complete the Excellent Eagle Employee nomination form on our website. Take some time to nominate someone today! Winners get reserved parking on campus for the month.

#1 F.A.N. (Fantastic Action Noticed) In addition to the Excellent Eagle program, you can also recognize a colleague using HR’s #1 F.A.N. program. Did you experience exceptional customer service or awesome collaboration? If so, nominate the person or people involved in that experience. Complete the #1 F.A.N. form on the HR website, and your colleague will be able to choose a UMW spirit item as a token of appreciation.