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COVID-19: Guidance and Resources for Telecommuting - March 20, 2020

Steve Zuromski, Acting Vice President, IT & CIO
Keri A. Powers, HRTM

Subject: COVID-19:Telecommuting & Staffing

This message is to provide further guidance to BSU Administrators and Staff regarding telecommuting and staffing.  As you know, the University has established Telecommuting Guidelines and a Workplan Template Form to assist department directors and supervisors as they draft these plans with their employees.  HRTM staff has been conducting outreach and will continue to do so in an effort to provide support to department directors and supervisors and answer any questions they may have.  For those employees requiring technological resources to support their ability to telecommute, please contact the IT Service Center at 508-531-2555 or  

Telecommuting is available to all APA and Non-Unit Professional employees.  Telecommuting is also available to AFSCME employees during this interim period for those positions for which it would appropriately apply.  For all employee categories, a Telecommuting Workplan should be completed and submitted to HRTM via

Telecommuting for temporary/hourly employees is being reviewed on a case by case basis.  Departments seeking to request telecommuting for a temporary/hourly employee should provide justification of the critical business function being supported via email to Doug Shropshire, Vice President for Finance, and Keri Powers, Vice President for HRTM.  If approved, guidance regarding the completion of a Telecommuting Workplan will be provided.

During this interim period of telecommuting, it is important that administrators and staff engage in best practices to form positive telecommuting habits.  When telecommuting, administrators and staff may want to consider the following suggestions to start off on the right foot:

  • Stay Focused
    • Employ self-motivation techniques – think positively and set clear goals
    • Minimize distractions
    • Reward yourself
    • Control social media
    • Know your Goals
  • Create a Workspace that Works
    • Make it a place where you will enjoy spending time
    • Give your space a few “office” touches, but also personalize your space
    • Sit comfortably
    • Find a space with a door so you can remove potential distractions
  • Get Organized
    • Adequate size desk or table
    • Files, supplies, equipment is within easy reach
    • Utilize a task or project management system to stay on track
    • Keep your workspace tidy
  • Manage Your Time
    • Organize & prioritize key tasks 

To further assist you, the IT division has created a Telecommuting Resources page to provide employees with steps for success, strategies, and other resources to help make the shift to working remotely.  Many common telecommuting questions can be answered by visiting the new Employee FAQ located on the main BSU COVID-19 site.  This website is the best source for the most current information.

For those offices that will have staff physically present on campus, we recommend that you consider establishing the following best practices to ensure the health and safety of all employees and campus community members:  

  • Practice social distancing – maintain 6 feet between yourself and others
  • Establish minimal staffing in the office, which can support the social distancing practice.  
  • Use your own office equipment.  Do not share office equipment.
  •  Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects, surfaces, and shared office equipment.
  • In lieu of in-person meetings, schedule phone calls or use Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams for on-line meetings.  
  • Offices servicing students and the public should schedule appointments for service.  If appointments are not virtual, staff should ensure adequate space for social distancing.  
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue; throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.  Stay home when you are sick.
  • It is not too late to get a flu shot.

Both the IT and HRTM divisions are ready and available to support your success and well-being whether on campus or via a remote location.  During this interim period, we will continue to communicate with you on best practices to ensure you are productive, well, and engaged in the University community.