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Guidance for Employees


Change is a challenge that all of us face on a day-to-day basis. Most of us will agree that experience has taught us well through lessons from the past. However, the recent coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19) has upped the ante and the anxiety with a new challenge that most of us have never experienced. That is, being part of a workforce that is working from home. This may, or may not be new for you, but it’s certainly new for the UMass Chan workforce.

The following information is intended to assist you through the change of working from home and to ensure you are focused and productive. We offer this practical advice as a guideline to assist you.

Guidelines for All Employees

Organize Your Workspace

Employees function best when they have a place to work that is organized and clear from clutter. Dedicate a space in your home where you can focus with minimal distractions. Select an area where you know you will be able to walk away from your work at the end of the day and not have a visual work reminder during your personal time. Keep your UMass Chan documents secure and protected. Reach out to your supervisor if you have requests for supplies and resources to help you do your work remotely.

Continue Your Work Routine

Keep your daily routines by starting and ending your workday at regular business hours. Get dressed rather than working in your pajamas. Prepare for the day just as you would if you were working onsite. Take breaks, get outside and enjoy a brisk walk, or plan to connect virtually for lunch with colleagues and friends. At the end of the day, walk away from your workspace. Protect your personal time and relax with family and friends.

Overcome Procrastination

Work closely with your supervisor to establish a workplan. Create a daily check list of work priorities to ensure you are focused on work goals. Set short time frames to maintain focus and review your intended outcomes before you start.

Dealing With Distractions

We recognize that our employees have families. Working remotely in a quiet home or apartment is very different from working remotely while caring for children, an elderly parent, or pets. In this case, we recommend you set work hours that correspond with your energy levels and needs of your family. Be upfront with your supervisor and colleagues during virtual calls to inform them of possible interruptions such as a barking dog, or a child or loved one who may need your attention. Use the mute button when necessary to listen in during virtual team meetings. Create a ‘do not disturb’ sign to let family members know when you are unavailable and need focus time to work. Finally, it can be tempting to turn on the television, or to finish a home project. This can be a slippery slope that quickly turns into a habit. Pretend you are not at home. Ask yourself if this is a good use of your time. Schedule short breaks with an allotted amount of time. Limit television time to your personal time projects that are best done on the weekends. If you have questions, or need support while working remotely, reach out to your supervisor or contact the UMass Chan Human Resources department 508-856-5260.


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