The following memo was distributed to Duke leaders and managers on Wednesday, March 11.
TO: Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors, Department Heads, and Managers
FROM: Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President, Administration, Emergency Coordinator
Rhonda Brandon, Chief HR Officer, Duke University Health System
SUBJECT: (Workplace) Resources and Options for Working Remotely
While Duke University and Duke Health remain open, we need to consider workplace adjustments to support social distancing measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
On Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper recommended that employers across the state allow employees to work remotely where possible to help limit the community spread of the illness and protect more vulnerable populations. Such arrangements can help reduce the density of faculty and staff in the workspace, which is a critical strategy to limiting the spread of COIVID-19.
To that end, we strongly encourage managers to allow staff to work remotely on a temporary basis if possible. If working remotely is not possible, staff should continue to come to work as usual, unless the situation changes. We are aware that not every job can be done remotely but encourage flexibility where possible to prioritize the health and safety of our staff, their family and the community.
Any alternative working arrangement must be approved by the direct supervisor, who should consider what aspects of a job can be performed remotely, how appropriate communication can be maintained, and what technology is required to ensure access to appropriate administrative systems. The terms of any remote working arrangement should be explicitly approved and agreed upon by the supervisor and staff member. Time should also be set aside for supervisors and staff to discuss and review the terms of the arrangement to determine its effectiveness and any changes that might be needed.
Duke has developed a “Quick Start Guide to Working Remotely” that includes information, resources and links to communication and productivity tools that can assist you and your staff in considering and setting up a remote working arrangement.
In addition, another way to support social distancing measures is to consider canceling or using technology to hold non-essential staff meetings or similar gatherings for the time being. Please work with staff to develop alternatives for conducting these meetings and use good judgment when determining which meetings are essential.
Thank you for your ongoing efforts, your innovative approaches to these challenges and your commitment to ensure continued operations in support our vital missions during these extraordinary times.