COVID-19 Advice for the JCU Community - Last updated: 19 October 2021, 8am (AEST)

COVID-19 Advice Working from home

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Working from home

Please contact your direct supervisor if you require more information regarding essential work or workspace allocations.

A range of resources and online training materials have been provided to assist staff and managers with the challenges that working from home may bring.These resources range from articles for short bite-sized tips, to more in-depth online training courses.

This content will continue to be refined and updated as the situation with COVID-19 progresses so  if there are any specific topics you would like to see more of, please raise a HR Service Now request.

Adjusting to your new work environment
(LifeWorks login: Username: jcu Password: jcu)

Your remote working day

Setting work-life boundaries when you work from home

Virtual meetings don’t have to be a bore

Introduction to working remotely (20 min video by LifeWorks)

I need to work from home / take my JCU work equipment home, where do I start?

If you are working from home, these are the things you need to do to ensure you are prepared and can continue to your role remotely.

If you are taking home a new computer make sure you log in while on campus and connected to the JCU network. Then unplug from the network and try logging in again to make sure it works.

IT are here to help. If you're not confident you do not have to pack up your computer by yourself, to request assistance:

  • Log a ServiceNow request or contact the IT HelpDesk to get help packing up your JCU computer so you can take it home safely.

If you have an existing internet plan, check with your provider about your ability to increase your speed or download limit, and associated costs. Discuss this and your needs with your manager as additional costs will need to be funded by your college or directorate.

If you don’t have an internet connection, discuss your requirement with your manager, and notify the IT HelpDesk to seek further guidance.

There is a limit on how many telephone calls can be diverted at the same time from JCU phones, so we strongly encourage you to not to divert your phone unless you have no other option. Instead, update your voicemail with your new contact details (an alternate phone number or ask people to contact you via email, Teams or Zoom) on your desk phone or Softphone.

For information about technical support while working from home please refer to computer problems at home.

JCU computers will be fully supported during this time (on or off campus). If you experience a technical issue with a JCU owned computer while working from home, please log a job via ServiceNow to request assistance.

Staff using personal machines will be offered support limited to simple queries only e.g. logging into O365 or VPN. Staff using personal computers who are experiencing issues related to connectivity or hardware, will need to contact their internet provider or computer manufacturer for support.

Zoom - Zoom is our preferred corporate conferencing app - use Zoom for formally scheduled meetings with JCU staff, business partners, students and the wider community.

Microsoft Teams - Teams is our collaboration platform, used for: file-sharing, shared OneNote notebooks, chats, informal meetings with your own Microsoft Team members or impromptu conversations with other JCU staff.

Are you accessing, viewing or altering JCU information at home?  If you are working remotely you will need to be aware of the University’s acceptable use policy to ensure confidential/private information is accessed and managed accordingly, and University records are only stored in University-managed locations or systems e.g. do not store University data in your personal Dropbox or your home computer.

Additionally heightened cyber caution is advised, and expanding your awareness about confidentiality and privacy is highly recommended.

What I need to know when working from home

If you have a computer or mobile device (e.g. iPad or Android Tablet) you can work from home accessing JCU files, software and services that you use at work, including email, LearnJCU, My HR Online and eStudent.

If you need to access documents on JCU shared drives (the file shares mapped on your work JCU computer) you must use a VPN connection on your JCU computer. To download the JCU VPN launch the Software Center app from your desktop, search for FortiClient VPN and install it.

Full set-up instructions are available for Windows, Mac and mobile devices.

The Australian Taxation Office has information to assist with claiming deductions for additional running expenses incurred whilst working from home due to COVID-19. Further information can also be found in the ATO Practical Compliance Guideline PCG2020/3.

It is important to consider how these relate to your personal circumstances, as (depending on which way you claim) you may be required to keep a diary, receipts or utility accounts.

Generally, JCU’s Work Cover insurance will cover you for a work-related injury, even whilst working remotely. This insurance does not extend to circumstances where you are involved in activities you would not normally be undertaking whilst in work time.

Staff members should be putting on their ‘work hat’ during work times, and not be undertaking behaviours that increases risks to their health and safety.

Supervisors are being encouraged to allow for greater flexibility during the COVID-19 situation, and give consideration to a staff member’s request for flexibility where it is possible operationally.

Staff members may elect to work part-time and supplement this with annual and or long service leave to maintain their full time salary, or they may elect to move from full-time work to part-time work.

Staff members who cannot undertake their usual working hours (or start and finish times) should discuss with their supervisor what hours they can work.

It is important that any arrangements be documented correctly. HR Consultants and Business Partners are there to help you and your supervisor do this.

Working from home can be a big transition. You might feel any combination of lonely, isolated, stressed, frustrated, anxious, unmotivated, or on the other hand, relieved, relaxed, energized, or productive. It's all ok and normal. Any transition takes time to get used to, so try to be easy on yourself.

This guide provides some useful tips on how to work effectively in the home: 23 Essential Tips for Working Productively from Home.

Working from home may be an unfamiliar experience for some, and trying to set up a home office environment isn’t always easy. The Work Health and Safety Team are now able to assist you via Zoom. These short 1:1 video calls will provide you with guidance on optimal ergonomic set up, provide information to assist with injury prevention and management, and will enable early identification and reporting of musculoskeletal pain or discomfort.

Book a 1:1 Zoom meeting.

Before you connect:

  • Review the Home Workstation Safety Guideline
  • Prepare a list of any specific concerns you wish to discuss
  • We recommend you connect through a mobile device if possible, in order to show the Work Health Safety Team your workstation set up area. Download Zoom for mobile.
  • Allow 30 minutes of uninterrupted time

The JCU Work Health and Safety Unit have prepared a Workplace Health and Safety aspects of Home Workstations guide which will assist you in considering what you will need at home.

When you’re suddenly taken away from your regular routines and connection with other people, some people may struggle and need extra help. When you see signs, for example, fewer emails or more inhibition in group conversations, keep the communication lines open and call or message the person regularly.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure, speak up and seek assistance. This is unchartered territory and we are in it together.

Worries about COVID-19 can cause some people to experience stress and anxiety. If you are struggling, find support by calling our Employee Assistance Program provider LifeWorks on 1800 604 640.

The following articles may also help (the links will take you to LifeWorks login, where you will be required to input username: jcu and password: jcu)

You can also help yourself and those around you stay positive during stressful times by building your resilience and focusing on positive thinking:

Both supervisors and staff members need to be aware that due to the COVID-19 situation their ‘usual work day’ may involve different duties to what they usually perform.

For supervisors – they should be meeting regularly with their Head of Work Unit/Deans/Directors to discuss forecast work levels.  Considerations around strategic work and many of the tasks that often get pushed back due to everyday work should be considered.  This work should be meaningful work.

We encourage supervisors to be flexible in their thinking and work with their teams to develop work tasks.  Example – due to a government directive to stay home a gardener cannot perform their usual duties at the University. The Gardener may be able to assist to update the safety risks, policies and procedures for particular tasks.

Staff members – need to be open and flexible to different types of work, as they may have transferable skills that can be used to assist other areas. Staff members may be required to assist in duties that they may not view as their ‘usual duties’.

Communication is key. Ideally, you are involving staff in the planning and understanding from their perspective what they feel they might need during that time. Start to think about how regularly you can touch base, how that will occur, if you have the contact numbers required, agreed platforms to meet etc.

Communicating and maintaining connections are especially important when working remotely. Communication needs to be frequent and directed to both groups and individuals. Staff will need to feel like they still have access to you, even though they can’t see you. Make yourself accessible and available to everyone equally, and when you run your group meetings, aim for inclusion and balance so everyone feels seen and heard. Additionally, keep staff updated on organisational and industry news so they still feel connected to the University as a whole.

Speak to the team about the frequency of meetings and the method in which people want to communicate. Videoconferencing tools like Zoom are encouraged to promote virtual ‘face to face’ contact.  Conduct group meetings with your team at least once a week, if not more. At the commencement of these meetings, allow time for team members to connect and encourage active participation and avoid multitasking like checking emails or taking phone calls. Some suggested approaches to communication are summarised below.

Audience

Approach

Tools

Frequency

Duration

Feedback loop

Individual team member

1:1 catch up

1:1 template, Zoom, Skype, phone

Minimum weekly

1 hour

Update 1:1 template

Team (Project teams)

Huddle

Huddle template, Zoom, Skype, phone

Minimum weekly

15-30 minutes

Summary email

Team

Team meeting

Team meeting template, Zoom, Skype, phone

Minimum fortnightly

1 hour

Team meeting minutes

Encourage fun interactive activities or schedule Zoom meetings specifically for social interaction e.g. have a virtual coffee together. Set up a Microsoft Teams platform or a group in Yammer. These social media platforms can be used to replace ‘water cooler conversations’ where fun and non-work related things can be discussed.

Managing remote teams resources

Eight ways to manage your team while social distancing

A guide to managing your (newly) remote workers

Leading at a Distance (LinkedIn course) Time: 37 mins Overview: Making the jump from in-person to virtual leadership can be challenging. This course lays out how to lead effectively from a distance and dives into the basics of remote leadership, such as how working remotely changes interpersonal dynamics. It also includes tips for getting results at a distance—including how to provide remote coaching and feedback—as well as how to build trust, set reasonable boundaries as a long-distance leader, and more.

Leading Virtual Meetings (LinkedIn course) Time: 33 mins Overview: Leading virtual meetings is a critical competency for leaders who manage a remote or blended team. This course identifies the challenges to holding a productive meeting online, and shares tactics for making these meetings successful. Learn about how to choose the right platform, set expectations for conduct, clarify roles, create a great agenda, and more.

Yes, this is where Meaningful Work should be set out.  The employee’s Performance and Development Plan (PDP) along with the Position Classification Descriptors for Professional and Technical Staff and the Classification Standards for Academic Staff are key resources to assist in providing clarity on deliverables. It is important to note that during this pandemic, childcare or other caring requirements may require flexibility, and should be managed on a case-by-case basis. Supervisors will need to accept that the situation for some Staff Members will be fluid. The key is ensuring clarity of deliverables, timeframes, hours of work and expectations regarding communication.

Follow up your meetings with written communication to ensure people have understood you and what outcomes have been reached.  Use the 1-on-1 Guide to Remote Work to keep track of individual objectives with your Staff Members.

Starting from the 6 April, Collaborate and Mediasite will extend our open office hours to the following:

Basics - Open Office Hours

  • Daily from 9am - 12pm (midday) (AEST)
  • Student Digital Assistants will be available to assist with basic Collaborate and Mediasite questions.
  • Virtual Room

Mediasite Advanced - Open Office Hours

  • Daily from 1pm – 2pm (AEST)
  • A Learning Environments Support Officer will be available to answer specific questions regarding Mediasite.
  • Virtual Room

Collaborate Advanced - Open Office Hours

  • Daily from 2pm – 3pm (AEST)
  • A Learning Environments Support Officer will be available to answer specific questions regarding Collaborate.
  • Virtual Room

Before you attend

Review, Practice and then Ask. These screencasts will help you.

We know that current conditions requiring people to stay at home, or isolate, or quarantine raise important questions of safety for anyone who is subjected to, or at risk of, violence from the people they live with. JCU campus is open to any staff member to work or study from, where safety in the home or place of residence is an issue.  More information is available from your supervisor or HR.

Support services are available and are responding to the increased contacts from women at this time.  Dial 000 in an emergency, or connect with Police by phoning 131 444 or visiting the website.

Please be aware that JCU has a Domestic Violence Policy, Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, and online reporting options to support staff with these issues regardless of whether impacted on campus, at home, or online.

Where to find more information

Support for Staff

IT help

We are here to assist you. Please continue to log all support requests via ServiceNow or by emailing the IT HelpDesk.

HR support

Please log a HR ticket via Service Now.

Health and wellbeing

Actively managing health and wellbeing is vitally important to help stay physically and mentally healthy during this time of disruption to normal routines. The Employee Assistance Program page has been updated to include practical information and resources to help support staff manage their health and wellbeing, and that of their families and households.

LinkedIn LearningLinkedIn Learning provides over 15,000 free online courses facilitated by industry experts across a variety of business, technology and creative topics. JCU staff can access LinkedIn Learning for free by signing in with their JCU email address and JCU log-in credentials. With courses ranging from using computer software, to improving your communication, to managing teams, there is something for everyone. Here are some examples: Leading at a Distance and Leading Virtual Meetings