Tips for working remotely

Many organizations are shifting to remote work arrangements in response to COVID-19, including setting up co-op students and other student employees to work from home.

We recognize that working remotely is new for many students and that you might not know what to expect. We've put together some tips to support you. Employers can see tips for supporting students working remotely.

1) Make sure you have the necessary tools to do your job from home

Check with your employer to make sure you have the proper technology to do your daily work. This will include:

  • appropriate computer hardware
  • appropriate software
  • VPN access to the appropriate shared servers - and how to set this up
  • Setting up and testing teleconference and videoconference tools that your organization is using to stay in touch

In addition, make sure that you have:

  • strong, reliable WiFi – connect with your employer about your WiFi to ensure it will allow your to connect with your team
  • access to appropriate policy or training documents
  • an understanding of your organization's security protocols around accessing/sharing files

Resources to support this:

2) Be clear about your organization's work-from-home expectations

Working from home presents unique challenges. You are likely to be sharing the space with friends or family members and may not have a private office space. Remote work can impact work flow and productivity so be clear about what's expected, including:

  • your regular work hours with your supervisor
  • if and how you should track your hours
  • how your supervisor will communicate with you, including what tools to use (email, teleconference or videoconference tools, phone, etc.) and the expected response rate
  • how productivity may be affected
  • your work goals and deadlines
  • expectations around availability
  • how review and approval process may have been adjusted during this time
  • how you should report on your progress and share information with the team

Resources to support this:

3) Re-prioritize projects based on what can be done remotely

If you're shifting suddenly to a remote work setup, connect with your supervisor to review your current task list and identify what projects can be done remotely.

Adjust projects that can't be done remotely. This could be an opportunity to tackle a research project, to compile training documents, to take advantage of online training opportunities, or to tackle other projects that have been lower on the priority list.

This might also mean re-evaluating your organization's expectations about what can been done in a certain period - deadlines might need to shift with this new work setup.

4) Shift into a work-from-home routine

Working out of your home can be challenging, especially if you’re working alongside friends or family members. Here are some tips to help you work from home effectively:

  • set up a space in your home where you can shift into ‘work mode’, and then close it down at the end of the day
  • remove distractions, where possible
  • get changed out of your pyjamas and into work clothes to mentally get ready to be at work
  • organize a desk space, even if you’re working at your kitchen table
  • take scheduled coffee and lunch breaks – get some fresh air, connect with friends remotely and make time for yourself
  • connect with your co-workers regularly by email and other means
  • resist the temptation to work beyond set business hours so that you have boundaries between your work day and personal time
  • use project management skills to keep on top of your tasks
  • break big projects into smaller, achievable goals
  • at the end of the day, create a to-do list for the next day of work

Resources to support this:

5) Communicate clearly and regularly with your supervisor

As organizations continue to adapt in response to COVID-19, it's important to keep in touch with your team. Ask your supervisor to share information about:

  • changing protocols, processes and guidelines
  • relevant updates from your organization
  • what is expected of you during this time
  • who you should contact if you have questions or need support

Resources to support this:

6) Stay connected

Working remotely during COVID-19 can be isolating, especially if you live alone. Here are a few ways to stay connected:

  • Ask your supervisor to schedule short daily video conference check-ins. These check-ins can be both social and productive and are a great way to boost morale.
  • Set up daily check-ins with other co-op students working at your organization through video conference or chat
  • Create a Slack channel with fellow students
  • Follow along on updates from other UVic students on the MyUVicLife blog
  • Access online resources

Resources to support this:

Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada) has also put together some helpful resources for students, including:

  • Tips for working at home (PDF or JPG)

Planning for future work?

Co-op work terms

If you’re looking for a summer work term and need support, you can set up a virtual meeting with your co-op coordinator to discuss next steps.

Career opportunities, part-time, full-time and other work

If you’re looking for other types of work and need support, you can set up a virtual meeting with your career educator.

Job search resources