Tips for Administrators, Managers & Supervisors

Considering new ways of managing employees and structuring work can be intimidating. It can also be uncomfortable for an employee to request a discussion with their supervisor on the topic. The resources available here are intended to help Administrators/Managers/Supervisors be well informed about the intricacies and how to manage accordingly.

Consult

Administrators/Managers/Supervisors are encouraged to seek assistance from Human Resources when they are unsure of policies, process, and best practices. Human Resources Directory

Focus on results

Administrators/Managers/Supervisors who successfully manage employee performance through a results-oriented approach often find the transition to managing flexible work arrangements to be less dramatic than anticipated.  Administrators/Managers/Supervisors who are a part of a work culture that emphasizes, “Being present – face to face” may be more challenged by this shift in management style.

Make a decision

Administrators/Managers/Supervisors need to make sure that the work of their unit is being accomplished in a timely manner that align with business objectives.  Supervisors need to determine whether the work that is being done can be accomplished in just an as effective (or more effective) manner by utilization of a flexible schedule arrangement. They should take performance evaluations into consideration, as well as reliability and work styles.

Plan and communicate

Consider the potential improvement of business/department needs when assessing flexible schedule proposals from employees. Develop systems and structures that allow employees to respond to ever-changing work demands, such as having a back-up plan for coverage and communication. Communicate consistently about standards for accountability, quality, and timeliness.

Include employees

Make sure to include employees in the development and improvement of the department’s flexibility offerings. When arrangements are made, clearly communicate them with all employees, so that they fully understand their role and how their work lives will be impacted, as well as the flexible work options available.

Assess success

Administrators/Managers/Supervisors should consider redefining staffing success by job design and outcomes; hours, visibility (face-time), process, and location are not measures of success. Business outcomes, employee productivity and engagement are what make a difference in the work environment.

Create a supportive environment

Administrators/Managers/Supervisors should find creative ways to promote an environment in which all employees feel supported during alternative work arrangements.

Recognize

Administrators/Managers/Supervisors may acknowledge, reward and recognize employees for exemplary performance.  Recognition reinforces particular behaviors, practices, or activities that result in positive work outcomes. When employees are valued they are motivated to maintain their good work.  Administrators/Managers/Supervisors may recognize employees via the following programs People Are Everything  and Recurring/Additional Payments.

Frequently asked questions

As a supervisor, you may have questions about what you can ask employees about their health during the COVID-19 pandemic, what information about possible coronavirus exposures you can share with other employees, and what actions as a supervisor you can take to help keep the campus safe for staff, faculty, students and others. This information has been created to assist you with those questions.

Can supervisors ask employees if they have coronavirus?
No. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, supervisors cannot ask employees about specific health conditions. 

Can supervisors take employees’ temperatures to check for fevers?
No.  You may not take your employees’ temperatures. As noted   below, you may require an employee with visible signs of respiratory illness to leave campus.  Supervisors should consult with HR about any uncertainty regarding an employee’s health and appropriate measures that may be taken. 

Can supervisors require employees to leave the worksite if they appear to be ill?
Yes, if employees are clearly exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness, supervisors may require them to leave campus.  Supervisors should have already made arrangements for any employee who can to work remotely.  Because supervisors cannot ask employees about specific health conditions and should not engage in conversations that lead to specifics; the following is suggested wording from a supervisor to an employee: “If you are ill, I’d like you to use your leave options.”  If there is non-compliance, the employee should be directed to leave the workplace. Employees may report back to work once they obtain a medical release to return to work. 

What should supervisors do if employees (regardless of worksite location) say they have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?
Supervisors must require employees who have been exposed or have tested positive to leave campus or not return to campus and discuss alternative work arrangements and paid leave options. Employees may report back to work once they obtain a medical release to return to work.

The supervisor will be given instructions regarding when they may tell other employees that they may have been exposed to coronavirus as long as the supervisor does not share which employee(s) may have been the source of the exposure. Upon instruction, supervisors may also need to share information about shifting work assignments among other employees during the affected employee’s absence, while not disclosing the reason for the employee’s absence.

Can supervisors tell other employees any information about an employee who is absent due to COVID-19?
No. Supervisors must not share information about employees’ medical conditions.  Appropriate wording to use for anyone who needs to know about the absence includes “Your co-worker will be absent (or working remotely) until further notice.  Let’s discuss our operational needs going forward.” 

How can supervisors express concern about employees’ well-being and the well-being of employees’ family members?
Supervisors can ask how employees and their family members are feeling, generally. However, care should be taken not to ask for information about specific medical conditions.

Resources

Additional Resources from Gallup: