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Remote Work During COVID-19: Guidelines for Lehigh Staff

Date: 3/16/2020 Last update: 3/17/2020

LTS has developed the following guidelines to help staff adapt to a remote work arrangement. These guidelines are supplements to the Business Continuity Guidelines and the Human Resources Communication on this topic. As a reminder, we are all acting quickly but always with the goals of  (1) promoting the health and well being of our students, staff, faculty, families, and community; and (2) maintaining the academic and business continuity of our university. Please bear in mind that the many changes we are making across the university are temporary, made in response to a quickly evolving situation. We will revisit these guidelines as circumstances change. Always check with your supervisor to learn how these guidelines are being put into practice for your team. 

  1. Work Space - If possible, dedicate a space in your home for work. Doing this will help make it more clear--both to yourself and to others--when you are at work and when you are not. If you live with others and cannot create a dedicated space, establish some way of signaling that you are at work. Doing this can reduce confusion for others and reduce stress for yourself.  If your work includes confidential information, your workspace should be laid out to protect this information. 
  2. Work Schedule - In conversations with your supervisor, create your work schedule and define the nature of your work. You may need to be fully focused on work at specific times (e.g., to be in a virtual meeting, to respond to a phone call, etc), while at other times you might be engaged in more project-based work that is spread out over time. You and your supervisor should agree on a work schedule that meets the requirements of your job while accommodating unique personal needs as much as possible. This schedule you determine should be communicated to others on your team and also, if applicable, to other members of your household. 
  3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate - Clarify communication protocols and expectations with your supervisor. Everyone on your team should have a clear understanding about how they will communicate with others on the team, with your supervisor, and (if applicable) with clients. Included in that plan should be clear expectations about how promptly you are expected to reply to communications.
  4. Adapt - Your daily job duties may shift significantly during this time in accordance with your team, stem, or broader university needs. For example, if you generally work on tasks that involve physically being on campus but you cannot be, your supervisor may assign appropriate alternate work duties.
  5. Know and Follow Lehigh’s Remote Work Guidelines and Best Practices: Follow these general Remote Work Guidelines. If you use Zoom, follow these best practices and Zoom etiquette during meetings.
  6. Time-away Reporting.  If you are unable to work (due to sickness or other reasons), inform your supervisor. Vacation, medical leave requests, etc. should go to your supervisor as usual.

While not formally part of these remote work guidelines, we care about you and hope you will also

  • Know and follow current health recommendations from federal, state, and local agencies.
  • Maintain healthy eating, sleeping, and exercise schedules.
  • Make time for virtual socializing with colleagues.
  • Establish boundaries between work and home. 
  • Create a space that is well organized, with limited distractions.
  • Surround yourself with things that make you comfortable and that raise your spirits.