Hiring during COVID-19

As workplaces around the world shift their practices to respond to COVID 19, we understand that much is changing for employers and that co-op students continue to actively search for work.

We've put together resources to help you:

Learn about options for upcoming work terms

Employers located outside Canada

As an international employer, you may continue to hire UVic co-op students to complete co-op work terms through a remote setup.

University-sanctioned international travel, including to the US, continues to be suspended, following guidance by British Columbia's provincial health officer. This includes travel related to co-op work terms.

UVic students who have returned home to countries outside of Canada may complete co-op work terms in these countries, depending on those countries’ regulations around COVID-19.

Set up students for productive remote work

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

We recognize that working remotely is new for many employers as well as students, so we've put together some tips to support you.

1) Provide students with the necessary tools to do their job

Make sure students have the proper technology to do their daily work. This will include:

  • appropriate computer hardware
  • appropriate software
  • VPN access to the appropriate shared servers - and how to set this up
  • tele/videoconferencing software that your organization is using keep in touch (e.g., Outlook, Skype for Business or Skype, Zoom, Slack, WebEx, etc) - and how to set this up

In addition, make sure that students have:

  • strong, reliable WiFi - chat with the student about their WiFi setup to ensure it will allow them to connect with your team (note: students may not have WiFi at home - if this is the case, your organization may wish to explore supporting this during the work-from-home period)
  • access to appropriate policy or training documents
  • an understanding of your organization's security protocols around accessing/sharing files
  • necessary tools and office supplies (if students have to purchase these directly, be clear on how they can claim these expenses)

Resources to support this:

2) Communicate clearly and regularly

As organizations continue to adapt in response to COVID-19, it's important to keep all staff, including co-op students, in the loop. This can include:

  • being clear about changing protocols, processes and guidelines
  • sharing relevant updates from your organization
  • making sure students understand what is expected of them
  • designating a contact person that students can contact if they have questions or need support

Resources to support this:

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

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

  • whether students should be working their regular hours, or if there is flexibility
  • how, and if, students should track their hours
  • students' goals and deadlines
  • who students can ask for support
  • how review and approval process may have been adjusted during this time
  • how students should report on their progress and share information with the team
  • expectations for students' availability and productivity

Resources to support this:

4) Stay connected

Working remotely during COVID-19 can be isolating, especially if the student lives alone. Make sure to keep students informed and connected to the team. Include students on relevant email updates and check-ins from your organization so that they stay in the loop.

Students' supervisors are also encouraged to schedule short daily video conference check-ins with the student. These check-ins can be both social and productive and are a great way to boost morale.

Other ways for organizations to stay connected include:

  • use video conferencing whenever possible, in addition to email
  • include students on larger team update meetings
  • assign a buddy or mentor who is not the student's supervisor to check in once a week
  • share updates whenever possible

Resources to support this:

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

If you're shifting suddenly to a remote work setup, review the student's current task list and identify what projects can be done remotely.

Adjust projects that can't be done remotely, and assign new tasks as necessary. This could be an opportunity to have the student 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.

Download COVID-19 resources

These resources will help you prepare for a successful work term during COVID-19.

UVic resources - remote work onboarding and more

Here are the resources that UVic has put together for employers during this time:

UVic's Gustavson School of Business is hosting a webinar series called "Uncharted waters" in response to COVID-19 to cover topics that you may find useful in your business and personal efforts.

WorkSafe BC resources related to COVID-19

Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada) resources

  • Tips for working at home (PDF or JPG)
  • Tips for onboarding students remotely (PDF or JPG)
  • Tips for supervising students remotely (PDF or JPG)

Health and safety related to COVID-19

Changes to the work setup in response to COVID-19

If you are temporarily shutting down your workplace but are asking staff to continue to work from home, explore options to enable the co-op student(s) to work remotely. Let the co-op student know how this change could affect their schedule, and loop in the co-op coordinator.

See the resources above to support co-op students who are working remotely.


Workplace closure due to COVID-19

If your workplace is shutting down but not asking employees to work remotely, contact your co-op coordinator—we'll work with you to find the best possible solution. Let the co-op student know how a closure could affect their pay and schedule. 

Supporting co-op students who become ill

If the co-op student(s) working for your organization becomes sick, please inform the student(s) about your organization’s sick leave policies around COVID-19, and let their co-op coordinator know. Make sure the co-op student(s) has the appropriate resources and support from your organization.

Advise students to monitor themselves and those close to them for symptoms similar to the flu or common cold such as coughing, sneezing, sore throat, fever or difficulty breathing. If any symptoms arise, they should connect with their primary health care provider, local public heath office or call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 . The HealthLinkBC 8-1-1 service is available in several languages, including Mandarin and Cantonese.

COVID-19 cases in the workplace

If there is a presumed or confirmed case of COVID-19 in your workplace, let the co-op student(s) about this development and give them information about next steps for your organization. Keep your co-op coordinator updated.

Please reach out and contact your co-op coordinator if you have questions.