Best Practices for Managers & Supervisors

Managers have a responsibility to achieve their unit’s goals and to provide the guidance, support, training, and organization for their staff to ensure success. As long as you provide the right tools (i.e., Slack, Google Chat, Zoom and the like to keep everyone connected) and guidance (as well as consequences if someone isn't meeting expectations), then everyone in the team can be successful.

Know the Policy and Procedure Regarding Remote Work

Managers should familiarize themselves and their employees with University policy, including applicable collective bargaining agreements, to ensure compliance with eligibility requirements. 

Determine Employee Eligibility

Generally, departments have the discretion to determine remote work eligibility criteria for their employees. Individual managers should assess who in their workgroup is or is not eligible to participate in remote work based on these eligibility guidelines and any applicable collective bargaining agreements.

Departments should review the positions in their department and determine which (if any) are suited for remote work. Without this step, there is a risk that decisions to approve FWAs may be seen as arbitrary. The primary criterion for determining if a position is eligible for an FWA is if it meets the business needs of the department. The arrangement must align with the office or department’s goals, including productivity, cost-effectiveness, and service to internal and external customers. Eligibility may vary for different types of arrangements as some options may not be appropriate for: 

  • Jobs that require a physical presence on campus to perform the job duties.
  • Employees whose documented performance has not demonstrated the skills and qualities necessary to succeed in the proposed FWA.

Ensure IT Requirements Can Be Met

Departments with employees eligible for remote work must ensure employees are able to work in a secure data environment. All departments must follow standards on information systems and technology security, and managers must ensure their equipment choices comply with these policies.  Information security includes protecting sensitive "hard-copy" files and documents. Work with the IT professionals in your department to ensure you are able to follow the appropriate IT security standards.  

UCSB uses the services of both Google and Box for email, calendaring, and for storage, and many groups have moved toward the use of online Google Apps rather than traditional desktop applications. We use many web-based applications, like UCPath and electronic timekeeping, in our day-to-day course of business. All of these function well with nothing more than a web browser.

You may use your personal computing device to conduct business so long as the data remains in the cloud. You may not download personally identifiable information, sensitive FERPA information, or health information to your personal device. You may not email this information. You may load software required to use the campus virtual private network (VPN) if you need to do so to access applications only available to on-campus addresses.

Visit the Campus Information Security web page for additional resources.

Maintain Continuity of Access to Records and Ensure Records Responsibilities Can Be Met

Continuity of Access

Ensure you are able to maintain continuity of access to records by asking for employee consent to access university records. Access to Electronic Communications (including electronic resources) falls under the systemwide UC Electronic Communications Policy (UCECP) and our local Implementation of the Electronic Communications Policy (IECP). Designed to protect the privacy of the members of the UC community, the IECP also ensures continuity of access to records when an employee is absent – unexpectedly or otherwise.

Departments may ensure continuity of access to records by seeking consent from employees to access business records. Per policy, consent is not always required to obtain University records, however. Please see section III.F of the IECP for more information regarding access without consent. If you need to access an employee’s electronic resources without consent, please fill out the Access Without Consent Form and return to the campus privacy officer prior to access. If you have any questions about the UCECP, the IECP, or access requests, please contact the campus privacy officer.

Records Management

Be mindful of records management requirements – particularly when using hardware, systems, software, or programs you may not regularly use when working on campus. If it is a record, it belongs to the university and we need to ensure it is maintained and accessible for the appropriate retention. Be mindful of how you will manage electronic communications as records (See also: FAQs on electronic messages).

Ensure You Maintain and Appropriately Adapt Internal Controls

Maintaining internal controls is a continuing process. Internal control is affected not only by policy manuals and forms but by people functioning at every level of the institution. Internal control can be expected to provide only reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of operational, financial reporting, and compliance objectives.
 
Managers and leaders at all levels of the University are responsible for ensuring that an appropriate and effective control environment is in place in their areas of responsibility. Although management is responsible for establishing specific internal control policies and procedures, everyone at the University shares responsibility for internal control.

All employees play an important role in the achievement of the University's goals and objectives. Everyone is responsible for implementing and maintaining control practices to ensure the achievement of these goals. It is impossible to eliminate all negative consequences, which are an inherent part of setting and meeting objectives. It is, however, possible and necessary to reduce the negative consequences to an acceptable level by implementing control practices.

Please review Understanding Internal Controls when considering the remote work environment.  

Establish Clear Performance Goals

  • Provide clear expectations and goals for all employees, including achievable milestones that guide their work.
  • Establish a process to check-in regularly regarding progress toward goal attainment and to modify as needed.
  • When a goal or deliverable has been missed or you identify an opportunity to provide constructive feedback, do so promptly — timely feedback assists in correcting to keep the employee on course.
  • Measure results instead of measuring the time spent at work.

Be Fair and Equitable

Managers should avoid distributing work based on "availability" as measured by physical presence. It is also critical that managers avoid the pitfall of assuming that someone who is present and looks busy is actually accomplishing more work than someone who is not on site. Good performance management practices are essential for telework to work effectively and equitably.

Address Safety and Security Responsibilities

Although individual employees are responsible for complying with information security requirements, managers should work with employees to ensure they fully understand the relevant policies and procedures.

Make Sound Decisions About Equipment

Ultimately, decisions about ways in which employees should be equipped and the telecommunication services that will be provided are made by the department and/or individual managers. As such, managers should familiarize themselves with these guidelines and also with their departments/division's policy on equipment. Within those constraints, the challenge for managers is finding the right balance of budget, security, and effectiveness. Factors to consider include technology needs based on the work of the employee, department and university security requirements, and budget constraints.

Set Ground Rules for Communication

  • Make the most out of the communication tools available (Google Chat, Zoom, Slack, etc.), and choose the right tool for the situation.
  • Set a regular 1:1 meeting with each of your direct reports as well as regular team meetings.
  • Create a shared calendar so that everyone can see when others are working remotely or are out of the office.
  • Practice virtual meeting etiquette (see “Running an Effective Teleconference or Virtual Meeting” for further details).
  • Follow up with employees to ensure that important information is both received and understood.
  • Consider all virtual meetings rather than having a mix of remote participants and others together in a room.
  • Maintain meeting continuity by adding an alternative host and co-host to your Zoom meetings.

Participate in Remote Work and Lead by Example

Managers and supervisors must be committed to using remote work to the fullest extent possible if remote workers are to be successful. The success of a department's remote work program depends on regular, routine use by employees at all levels. Experience is the only way to enable managers, employees, IT support, and other stakeholders to work through any technology, equipment, communications, workflow, and associated issues that may inhibit the transparency of remote work. 

Individuals who are expected or anticipated to work remotely in an emergency situation, including managers and supervisors, should be encouraged to work remotely with some frequency under non-emergency circumstances. Managers and supervisors should make it a point to regularly participate in remote work in order to lead by example and be comfortable in dealing with the dynamics of managing in a remote work environment.