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HR update August, 5, 2020

To keep communication as clear as possible, and archive it for later use, the Office of Human Resources will be sending out updates using this format.

If you have information that you would like to disseminate to all employees, please send that to brittnidegreve@augustana.edu and we will coordinate adding the information to a future HR update.

For now, we would ask that you limit any mass communications to avoid confusion.

Academic Year Employees Return to Campus

Those employees who work an academic year schedule will return to work on August 24th.  An email and phone call have taken place to alert all returning employees about new protocols and necessary changes.  Changes to the start date that are budget neutral can be undertaken by individual departments.

Faculty and All-Campus Retreats

Please mark your calendar for the All-Campus Retreat on Monday, August 24th and Faculty Retreat on Tuesday, August 25th. Both will have options to join remotely. Full agendas will be sent in the coming weeks.   

International and High Risk Area Travel

Employees who have traveled internationally or to areas of the country designated as high risk by the CDC and are planning a return to on-campus work should contact the Office of Human Resources for further instructions.  
 

Message from Academic Affairs

Academic Affairs is aware that student questions originate in many different contexts across campus and would like to clarify an important detail about Fall semester courses. Faculty have participated in extensive professional development over the summer to prepare courses that are equally engaging for remote learners and students who are physically on campus.

All Fall semester courses can accommodate remote learners. Students participating remotely will NOT need to change their schedules to find online courses, although there will be an opportunity for students to modify their schedules before classes begin if they so desire. Please contact academicaffiars@augustana.edu if you have questions.

Coming Soon - Email changes

A group of employees has been working to address the issue of mass and campus-wide emails.  Last fall the BALI Leadership Group launched a survey that was sent to all faculty and staff gathering information and recommendations for limiting the amount of email. Feedback from this survey identified the following barriers to student and employee productivity due to unmanaged email communication:

  • Too many emails
  • Unlimited senders of emails
  • Unlimited access to Google groups
  • Lack of knowledge on how to use Google groups
  • No centralized location for promoting campus events; internal events, external events, public events
  • No centralized source (sender) for official college business/announcements
  • Few, if any, Policies, Procedures, or Restrictions nor methods for accountability
  • Few people are aware of Training and Education for Email system, Google Groups, and General communication etiquette

A small group including members of HR, ITS, Academic Affairs and the BALI Institute have formed a working group to implement changes. Based on our research and the information gathered the group is moving toward implementation of the following steps to address and eliminate most of the issues identified as barriers to productivity.

  1. Policies, procedures, and restrictions that are well-communicated and easily located
  2. Centralized online source for all events
  3. Centralized, physical location for lost and found
  4. Regular electronic newsletters
  5. All job postings and career and professional development events posted through Handshake
  6. Appropriate and informed use of Google groups

Over the next few weeks the group members will be working on clarifying each item, reaching out to members of specific populations for input, and putting processes into place.  We hope to roll out preliminary policies, procedures, and restrictions by the end of August with ongoing implementation this fall.  We realize that some of these changes will require a shift in access and control which may seem contrary to current culture.  We ask for your understanding as we move to make email management effective and productive for all.  
 

Process for workplace modifications of location or schedule - Non Faculty

Overview

The college’s commitment to a strong campus culture has not altered and we believe we are at our best when our community is working together.  The COVID 19 pandemic has required flexibility and rethinking many of our current practices to keep our employees as safe as possible while delivering on our mission to students and our campus community.  Since March of 2020, as many employees as practical have worked remotely.  As the college welcomes students back to campus for on-campus learning, we will need to again alter our approach to ensure we are making good on our promise for a robust return to campus.

As such we hope the guidelines and processes outlined below will provide a framework for consistent decision making within individual areas of campus.

College Priorities

  • Compliance with state and federal regulations and guidance regarding COVID 19.  Our actions to date have been made based on the best expert information available.  As requirements or guidance changes, we will change our practices accordingly.
  • Providing a high quality on-campus experience for students.  The Augustana experience is best when delivered in person and on-campus.  To the extent possible, we will continue to provide this experience for those students who can safely participate while also providing options for those students who are not able to attend on-campus during the fall semester.
  • Working together to create a working environment that implements additional safety protocols so that Augustana employees may return to work and enable the on-going mission of the college.  We have made changes to our on-campus work environments and practices but also have plans to be flexible and make temporary modifications to respond to individual situations.

Fall Semester Expectations for Employees and Offices

  • Offices will be open as normal.  For most offices this would be 8 a.m. -  4:30 p.m.  Lights will be on and staff will be present.
  • Most one-on-one and group meetings will occur virtually, but from a campus office.  For instance, a student may schedule a google meeting with an employee and the employee and the student will both be on-campus in different locations.
  • Employees will follow campus guidelines for safety including mask wearing, social distancing, hygiene practices, as well as department specific guidelines.
  • Important outcomes from each office will continue and the same high quality service to both students and internal customers will be maintained.
  • Any modifications, as described below, must be evaluated to ensure the modification will not impact the work products and expectations for productivity.  For many roles, employees will be asked to complete different and/or additional tasks. In short, the fall semester is likely to be much busier and more challenging than ever, so in granting flexibility we can not reduce expectations or workload.

Modifications and options for employees 

  • Requests regarding concerns about increased risk:  Temporary workplace modifications are available for those who believe they have health conditions that leave them at increased risk or who have family members who they believe to be at increased risk.  All modification requests must be made and approved through the Provost’s Office for faculty and the Office of Human Resources for non-faculty.  These modifications include changes to the on-campus workplace location, changes in schedule to low-population work hours including evenings and weekends, moving to a reduced status, a leave of absence or partial or full remote work.  
    • The decision on which of these options works best should be made in conjunction with meeting the outlined expectations. Employees may be asked to provide advice from their healthcare provider about necessary modifications to aid in decision making.  Any modifications will be temporary and may be ended as conditions change. Faculty request should be made to the Provost, non-faculty requests should be made using this form:  Request for a Temporary Workplace Modification
  • Requests regarding school scheduling and daycare:  
    • Schedule changes.  A temporary modification may be available for employees whose schedules are disrupted due to changes in school hours or daycare hours.  Schedule adjustments may be considered that would allow for on-campus work at non-traditional hours including earlier start times, later departure times, split shifts, as well as evening and weekend work.  This should ideally be a schedule that will ensure service to customers and students and assist the employee in meeting personal concerns.
    • Remote work options.  Providing partial or full remote work options for those with day care or other personal issues related to alternate school schedules may be considered.  Care should be taken that remote work can be accomplished given caregiver expectations during the normal work day.  For example, if an employee has small children or a student needing assistance with on-line learning, it would be difficult for this to happen along with fulfilling  full-time work responsibilities.  A reduced schedule may be appropriate combined with usage of time off options.
  • Requests related to general de-densification of the workplace. Decreasing the number of employees who report to work also plays an important role in decreasing transmission of COVID 19.   Approval of work modifications noted above will contribute to our de-densification efforts.  Additionally,  offices with employees in close proximity where spreading out work areas is not possible may consider schedule changes or where possible,  remote work options as described above. 

 

Next Steps

1. Modifications regarding increased risk are currently being processed by the Provost and Office of Human Resources.  As requests are received, employees will be notified as decisions are made.  There are many positions that simply require presence on campus to do the work effectively.  For these individuals, remote work as a modification is not typically available.

2. Modifications related to child care, school hours, or general de-densification should be made directly to your supervisor or department chair for non-faculty employees.  Employees should be prepared to submit a plan for how continuing responsibilities, high quality service, and how productivity can be measured with any granted modifications. 

Supervisors and department chairs have been asked to make decisions that will ensure that workplace goals and objectives are met.  Usage of PTO should be discussed as one potential solution.  Unused COVID hours provided to non-faculty may also be used and will remain available for the fall semester.

3. It’s important to note that any modifications granted are a temporary measure and modifications will not be permanent.  Employees may be asked to return to campus work or a more standard schedule as needed with short notice.  Service levels will be monitored and if issues emerge, changes will be required to serve our students and internal customers with excellence.

4. Leaders are asked to submit a report that includes any modifications in their area that have been granted by August 31, 2020 to their VP and the Office of Human Resources.

5. Prepare for on-going change.  As the pandemic evolves, the college is relying on you to be ready to adapt to changes to ensure our community delivers on the mission of the college. It is also important to remember that what was approved in Spring 2020 may not be appropriate or approved for Fall 2020.  

 

Changes to Time Off Benefits

Last week we shared changes to the Time Off policies and benefits at Augustana.  You can find this summary and our FAQ document on the Office of Human Resources website.  As additional information becomes available, it will be shared with the campus community and also housed on the website.  Department and other group meetings are being scheduled which will be a great opportunity for questions and answers as well.  

Guidelines for Mask Wearing at Augustana

As we all get used to wearing masks on campus, please see these mask guidelines.

Our Residential Life team and their groups of CA’s are happy to share a video they’ve created to assist us all in holding each other accountable.  Thanks to these student leaders!  
 

Labor Day Holiday Changes

As you may be aware, our Academic Calendar has changed for the fall semester and this fall we will have classes on Monday, September 7 which is Labor Day.  As a result, Labor Day has been removed as a holiday and instead, all eligible employees will have a floating holiday to use (with supervisory approval) any time during the 20-21 academic year.  This floating holiday CAN be used on Labor Day if the office has adequate staffing.  Those working on Labor Day will receive regular pay for that day.  
 
We will re-evaluate this policy as the 21-22 calendar is finalized.  Questions?  Please reach out to any member of the Office of Human Resources.

August TIAA Webinars

The TIAA August 2020 live webinars are listed below.  These webinars are offered without charge to the Augustana community.  For those interested, please register

Social Security for Married Couples

Tuesday, August 11 at 12 p.m. (ET)

Married couples can take advantage of strategies that may help to increase lifetime Social Security benefits. You can learn the basics about spousal benefits, understand the many variables involved in claiming strategies and how married couples can boost their benefits by coordinating the timing of their claims.

2020 Investment outlook – post corona-virus recovery

Tuesday, August 11 at 3 p.m. (ET)

Join us for a special webinar during which Robert C. Doll, Nuveen Senior Portfolio Manager and Chief Equity Strategist, discusses how the corona-virus health crisis has effected the investment landscape and economic recovery.

Doll’s comprehensive insights into the trends and issues he believes are positioned to meaningfully shape the economy and markets have served as a thoughtful guide to investors as they work to build strong long-term investment portfolios.

Money at Work 2: Sharpening investment skills

Wednesday, August 12 at 12 p.m. (ET)

We all know how important it is to save for retirement. This presentation brings all of the risks to light so you have a better understanding of what you may be facing and what you can do about it, especially in this new environment.

Retiring in the New Normal

Wednesday, August 12 at 3 p.m. (ET)

We all know how important it is to save for retirement. This presentation brings all of the risks to light so you have a better understanding of what you may be facing and what you can do about it, especially in this new environment.

Financial housekeeping for now and later

Thursday, August 13 at 12 p.m. (ET)

For many, the current health crisis has resulted in unique financial challenges. From dealing with reduced income to trying to figure out what to do with money you usually spend on gas or a vacation, this webinar will explore ways to help deal with a new personal financial landscape.

W2W: Postcards from the future

Thursday, August 13 at 3 p.m. (ET)

Fewer years in the workforce. Longer life spans. Women saving for retirement face unique challenges. You can learn what it takes to overcome these challenges and help make your retirement dreams come true on schedule.

Office of Human Resources
639 38th St.
Rock Island, Ill., 61201

humanresources@augustana.edu

Phone: 309-794-7352

Fax: 309-794-8962