Choose a dedicated space that provides the environment and tools you need to complete your work efficiently, including minimal distractions and background noise, a reliable internet connection for conferencing tools, ample desk space and lighting, a comfortable chair, and more.
Ensure everyone home with you understands that you are to focus on Student Affairs work and that you are not home to provide primary care for children and/or adults or attend to other non-Student Affairs work.
You should be logged in during the agreed upon work hours.
Check your Teams icon regularly throughout the day for alerts or enable notifications on high-priority channels.
In the Microsoft Teams “Chat” section, select “Contacts” and create a list of “Favorites” or contact groups and include teams and individuals you regularly communicate with. This effort will help you view a colleague’s availability and streamline communication with the individual in Teams
Know that students are a part of the Microsoft Teams platform. Consider setting a permanent status message directing to students to other channels for help.
Make yourself visible. Overcommunicate your “presence” online whenever possible, utilize statuses in teams, and consider dropping a note in your team chat (or via email) for unscheduled periods away from your workspace (lunch, breaks, etc.).
Participate in collaborative forums and respond to communications as if you are in the office.
Answer phone calls with your office greeting, or update your voicemail to reflect your status.
Respond as quickly as possible to text messages, Teams messages, and phone calls.
If in a meeting, you may defer responses to phone calls and Teams messages unless they appear urgent
Update your office phone settings. If you receive a cell phone stipend, your office phone number must be forwarded to your cell phone during work hours. There are three options for updating your calls.
WebEx is recommended for meetings that include members from outside the Northwestern community
Set-up meetings with the options to allow participants to join without the host and to begin with sound muted for participants
Log on 5 minutes prior to the start time to ensure that technology is working correctly
Use a headset if available
Mute your microphone when you are not speaking
Utilize text messaging or chat within the software to pose non-urgent questions
Adjust the lighting in your room so that your face is clear. If a window is behind you, close the window dressings.
Don’t check out. It will be easy for your team to see if you are not paying attention. Behaviors such as fiddling a pen, reading emails, or dozing off can be signs of disinterest.
Stay Engaged & Healthy
Plan your day and stick to it. Make a schedule to help you get your work done. Build in time for interruptions and breaks. It is easy to stay plugged-in all day. However, this can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed or burned-out. Create boundaries between work and life.
Get dressed. This means you will be ready to at a moment’s notice for meetings. Looking good boosts self-esteem even if you are the only one to see it. Being too comfy can lead to being unproductive.
When possible, switch up your workplace. Move to a different location within your home or your yard. Don’t feel like you have to be stationed at your desk all day every day.
Freshen up your skills. You will be using email and video conferencing almost exclusively. Take time to learn about the special features within the software you will be using.
Seek and provide clarity. If you are not sure what you are supposed to be doing, ask. Make sure projects have defined responsibilities and clearly stated desired outcomes.
Be social. Schedule time to interact with others and chill. This could be at the beginning or end of a meeting or s separate “coffee break”.
Focus on your health. Stay hydrated. Eat healthy meals. Celebrate wins.