Support for leaders

Implementing RWA with your team

If you are considering remote work arrangements for the first time, these resources will help you determine criteria for RWAs in your area, work with your team to manage the change, and address some of the logistical considerations of implementing remote work arrangements.

Returning to campus reintegration guide

Most UVic workplaces returned to the office or hybrid work environments through fall 2021. Regardless of where you are at in the process, the Workplace re-integration resource guide will support leaders through an intentional process of reconnection, transition, clarifying team norms and future planning.

Implementing Remote Work Arrangements

Getting started with RWA: Review the Working Remotely Package, including program information, forms, checklists, conversation guides, and FAQs to familiarize yourself with the program.

RWA implementation guide: An Implementation Guide for Supervisors may be useful for leaders considering remote work arrangements for the first time.

Providing appropriate technology: It is the department’s responsibility to provide appropriate computer equipment and peripherals.   Employees must utilize UVic standard computers provided through the Technology Solutions Centre that are managed by appropriate UVic personnel (e.g. University Systems Desktop Support Services). Employees may not use their own computers to work remotely.

Optimizing remote workspaces: Ensure your employee has access to the resources they need to optimize a remote work space.

Regular review of RWA

Identify regular review periods to discuss the effectiveness of remote work arrangements with employees and your team.  The RWA Review Guide provides resources and sample questions for individual employee conversations and joint team conversations to ensure RWAs continue to meet the principles of the program.

Supporting a remote or hybrid team

Leaders play a vital role in bringing people together, feeling safe, communicating well, and trusting each other to re-design collaborative processes to carry out your work.  It may seem odd to need to come back to the basics of team building, when your team members may not have changed.  However, the ways you have been working together lately, whether everyone is working remotely or you have a blended workspace model, has significantly impacted the norms, social patterns and behaviours through which people relate to each other.  Here are some articles, activities and tools which can help you and your team revitalize.

Leading and engaging remote and hybrid teams

There are several ways you can prepare for, and choose to lead, through the various iterations and nuances of team members working from home, navigating distanced working relationships and coordinating efforts to move back and forth between home and on-campus workspaces. The following are articles and ideas to consider as you foster engagement and positive work cultures for hybrid, home and on campus workspaces.

  • Norms are protocols and commitments developed by each team to guide members in working together. Norms help team members to clarify expectations regarding how they will work together to achieve their shared goals.
    Team Norms

Plan for and hold Great Meetings

Well designed meetings are one of the most important ways to keep your team connected, performing well and working in coordination.  They can also be a barrier to team effectiveness if done poorly.  Check the following articles, tools and resources to build positive communication practices into your plan and hold Great meetings with people online, in person and in hybrid formats.

Here's a quick checklist to help you plan for inclusive and engaging meetings:

  • Plan for equity, diversity and inclusion
  • Slow down
  • Begin with human connection
  • Ensure technology works
  • Build participation and engagement through interaction
  • Encourage peer to peer dialogue
  • Include breaks
  • Embrace silence
  • Repeat. Re-iterate. Re-phrase.
  • Expect change and imperfection

Is Your Team Only Partially Remote? Here’s How to Run Effective Hybrid Meetings  

What it takes to run a great hybrid meeting

Access the Zoom Learning Centre  and sign in using SSO (using your UVic Netlink ID) for videos on how to effectively use zoom functionality to create engaging meetings

Leading with Mental Health in Mind

The following strategies and resources are things for you to consider for your team and yourself as you manage working remotely, returning to campus, or a blended model.

ACCESS help and resouces through UVic's Employee and Family Assistance Plan.

Look after you first

“Most leaders are prone to action, so when we're anxious, we act more.” – Steve Cuss

Leaders are often the last to know that they are stressed. Taking care of yourself is the way you grow your capacity to effectively lead others. It may seem counterintuitive, but during times of stress it is more important than ever that you attend to your personal wellness before trying to lead others. It’s the airplane oxygen mask principle: you can’t give to others what you don’t have yourself. The added benefit to looking after yourself first is that you model the way for others to practice self-care. Be sure to set aside time for your own mental health and leadership practice.

Part of taking care of yourself is setting boundaries between home and work even when the two overlap. Be intentional about creating times and physical spaces that are designated for work and for home life. Notice how certain activities, sights, smells and sounds trigger you into work mode or home mode and purposefully build them into your rituals to start and end the day. Try using you preferred task-tracking method to open and close the day so that your mind is not distracted on unnecessary detail in your off time.

Share mental health resources with your team

When you notice that you or someone on your team is experiencing overwhelm it is helpful to know what support options are available. UVic already has some great mental health resources you can refer employees to, but it may also be handy to have some context-specific options that normalize the current reality. The following are resources you can use or share as needed.

Maintain resilience by holding uncertainty

Our current context includes multiple sources of optimism, anxiety and grief at the same time. Reintegrating our campus will be its own cause of stress, excitement and concern to which you and your team members will likely respond differently.

Be kind to yourself as you grow your empathy leadership. Your team doesn't need you to be perfect, but rather to hold space for uncertainty with your attention, presence, and active listening skills. Invite your team to be open about their current experience and what they need from you and their team members to move forward effectively.

  • REVIEW Returning Safely to Campus Guidelines and Resources (UVic OHSE)
  • Revisit other learning you may have done as team around personality and communication (Lumina, MBTI, Insights, DISC, True Colours, Strengths Finder, Team Agreement) and decide what is relevant for you during this context.
  • READ Psychological Resilience in Disasters (JIBC)
  • WATCH Leading with Empathy (Simon Sinek – 14 mins)
  • WATCH The Power of Vulnerability (Brené Brown – 20 mins)
  • ENROLL IN Developing Personal Resilience Course with Dr. Rick Cotton
    In this 1-hour asynchronous online course, Dr. Rick Cotton explains how you can leverage and develop psychological capital in order to become more change resilient. This session is divided into two parts. In Part One, you will be  provided an overview of resilience and how you can develop resilience to thrive in your personal life. In Part Two, Dr. Cotton will provide you with key strategies to enhance your capacity to effectively manage change in your work life.


Exceptional COVID-19 Circumstances

As a leader, you may be contacted by your employee regarding exceptional circumstances as a result of COVID-19. Here are some resources to support you during these conversations.

Family Status Accommodation

Return to Campus Hesitancy Guidance for Leaders

Clarifying expectations, setting goals and giving feedback

Whether your employees are continuing to work at home or are gradually returning to the workplace, leading virtual or mixed teams creates a new context for clarifying work expectations and monitoring performance.  For employees who have always worked independently and set their own goals, things might not be very different when working remotely. For teams where work assignments and priorities have typically been set by the supervisor, or collaboratively within teams, working remotely may require more intentional communication, new systems, and increased trust.  When employees start returning to the workplace, previous systems for setting goals, assigning work and reviewing progress may not revert to the old ways.

Tips for setting goals and expectations for remote or mixed teams

  • Determine the appropriate level of oversight for the work, employee, and situation.  As a leader your role is to balance the provision of clear expectations with trust that employees know what to do.  Not enough direction?  Employees can feel unsure or confused about where to focus time and energy, which can impact productivity.  Too much direction?  Employees can feel micro-managed and undervalued, which can impact engagement.   One way to strike a balance is the process Mark Colgate calls Tight Lose Tight.  Click the link to find out more.

  • Review existing work plans and goals to determine what needs to be slowed, stopped, or can continue at pace given the rapidly changing context.  Gather feedback from your team so they can provide input about what might need to be adjusted as priorities change.

  • Clarify methods for communicating about work progress.  Be clear up-front about what information you want to be kept informed about, and discuss with employees ways to communicate that works for both you and them. Set regular check-ins to review both progress and systems for communication.

  • Communicate working norms so you and your team know what to expect.  Your team may need to work more flexible hours when working remotely. When these norms are not communicated, some people may misinterpret an alternate work schedule as a performance issue. During this time, it is helpful to focus on work outcomes rather than work schedules, provided the expectations for availability and attendance at meetings, remotely or in person, are clear.

  • Be patient with your team; if an employee is struggling to work remotely or to adjust to a changed working environment back on campus, check in with them to see what they need.  Does the employee need more assistance from you?  Do they need coaching? Do you need to restate and clarify your expectations? If an employee is struggling to meet performance expectations, please connect with your Human Resources Consultant.  

The Performance and Development Cycle in remote or hybrid work environment

Consider the following shifts in your normal Performance and Development Cycle process in a hybrid or remote work environment:  Adapted from Queens IRC webinar: Performance Management in Virtual world by Ian Cullwick and Ross Roxburgh

  • Accountability – while accountability has always been an important part of performance, the shift to remote working, and hybrid teams has increased the emphasis on personal accountability for work prioritization, quality and quantity of work. Here are some tips for creating a culture of accountability on virtual teams.
  • Goals and objectives – review PDC Step 1 goals and metrics based on the current context. Consider how objectives and priorities might need to be adjusted for your team to successfully meet the anticipated needs of it’s stakeholders in the coming year. The Setting Key Goals handout helps you to think about three different types of goals: those that are related to the job, the individual or to UVic. 

  • Measuring Success – as the realities of post secondary education evolve, the way we measure success may shift as well. Quantitative metrics may be a less reliable indicator of performance and productivity when the future is uncertain.  Consider using more qualitative measures of success such as adaptability, communication, collaboration with others, and reflecting UVic values.  See the UVic Competency model for other examples.

  • Learning and Career Plans – pre-pandemic career planning activities may be gradually resumed. Learning plans may shift to include timely and relevant topics such as the use of collaboration technology, improving communication skills, or diversity and inclusivity.  Learning plans are also a good way to reinforce your commitment to your team’s mental health and wellbeing by including learning activities that support employee wellness, safety and recovery from the effects of COVID.

  • Engagement and Coaching – Your role as a direct supervisor can have a huge impact on employee's level of engagement. Increase your focus on employee engagement and coaching by checking in regularly, and make efforts to connect employees to your unit’s priorities and to each other.  Simple questions include:
    • What’s working well for you at the moment?
    • How have your priorities shifted due to the changes of the past several months?
    • Where are you feeling stuck, and how can I help? Who else can help?
    • What are you doing to maintain your mental health and wellbeing as we adapt to new ways of working?

Additional Resources

Here is a short article from Gallup with 5 tips to manage remote employees:  Individualize.  Define expectations.  Build trust. Believe in talent.  Strive to lead well. 
How to Manage Remote Employees.

Here is a Harvard Business Review article on managing direct reports remotely:
How to Manage Remote Direct Reports

This article is a great reminder of inherent biases in performance reviews:
Performance Reviews: Overcoming 5 common biases