FAS offers new remote and flexible work resources

Financial and Administrative Services (FAS) staff and managers can find the latest resources for flexible and remote work under the Flexible and Remote Work tab on the Human Resources Support Services (HRSS) website. New and existing materials under the tab support workers and managers in assessing and establishing workplace options that support success for both staff and the business of the unit.

The website offers flexible work arrangements information and resources for employees and managers. It features a toolkit for remote workers that, among other resources, includes guidelines for working remotely, inventory forms, IT security guidance and learning opportunities. A manager toolkit for remote and flexible workers contains what managers need for assessing and managing, on- and off-boarding and preparing offer letters, plus learning tools.

HRSS Director Angie Schoolar says that as a result of the pandemic, many FAS organizations have pivoted to working remotely.

“We have seen an increase in updated flexible work arrangements,” said Schoolar. “We realized quickly that workers and managers needed more guidance and tools to adapt to remote work.”

A Remote Guidelines Working Group was formed by Assistant Vice President for FAS Business Services Tatiana Calliham that brought together human resources, information technology, business, tax, inventory and administrative perspectives and expertise.

In addition to Calliham and Schoolar the working group includes:

  • Associate Vice President for Enterprise Business Information Technology Solutions Dana Chapman
  • Associate Vice President for Human Resources Adrienne Howarth-Moore
  • Executive Director for Accounting and Financial Management Lori Peterson
  • Senior Administrative Associate Mary Kemp.

Schoolar says the group met every other week starting this past summer to plan how best to assist workers and managers in ways that would support FAS business needs. They also took a look at the challenges of rethinking ways that we currently handle new hires, onboarding and offboarding and how we would support future FAS business needs as more departments embrace working remotely.

According to Calliham, the working group identified employee needs by responding to requests from staff, evaluating feedback given by supervisors and Human Resources Support Services staff, and issues identified at peer institutions.

“Issues we considered were updating existing internal procedures, best practices and guidelines for remote work and providing resources to staff and supervisors,” Calliham said. “The new information provided online will give all members of FAS tools to make remote and flexible work arrangements more successful.”

Calliham notes that during COVID-19, remote work is especially critical. The toolkits for workers and managers are intended to help make remote work productive, engaging and safe.

“It’s important for FAS to focus on the well-being of staff, not just their work,” Calliham said.

Starting with materials already on UT sites, Calliham and Schoolar also reviewed materials on other large university websites and in private industry to formulate their plan.

 “We identified resources for today and opened our minds to the possibilities of the future,” Schoolar said.

Schoolar stresses that keeping lines of communication open between workers and their supervisors and setting clear expectations are more important than ever when it comes to managing remote work.

“With open conversation and realistic expectations, a lot of work can be done remotely,” Schoolar said. “These resources are all about workers and supervisors staying engaged.”

Looking to the future, Schoolar sees flexible work arrangements and remote work as a positive recruiting tool for FAS units to stay competitive. The balance of work with other aspects of a worker’s life can attract potential hires.

“Our hope is that FAS units who implement flexible and remote work arrangements for their employees will see the benefits of work-life balance,” Schoolar said. “Instead of sitting in traffic or running from meeting to meeting, employees can use that time to incorporate exercise and other ways to stay healthy.”

Remote work can be a strategy for inclusion as well, Schoolar notes.  

“Because interviews, hiring and work can be done without candidates physically coming to campus, FAS can be a more global community,” Schoolar said. “We open doors for bringing the best quality candidates from around the country to our organization.”

With so many FAS units having already shifted to remote work and flexible work arrangements successfully since March 2020 due to the pandemic, Schoolar believes that valuable lessons have been learned.

The guidelines, resources and tools will continue to evolve as the working group identifies more areas of need to support remote work, Schoolar says. Her team of employee relations specialists are also available to help with questions and consultations about managing remote work.

According to Calliham, the working group will continue to research what staff are interested in receiving, as well as connect with our colleagues at other institutions to see what they have found successful.

“We’re going to come out on the other side of COVID, and now we know we can work smarter, better and attract the best workers,” Schoolar said.