As a supervisor, you must help coordinate and plan the work with your unit so that your employees are able to take their unpaid days and not be called upon to perform work. As people submit their preferred days off, consider how best to accommodate their wishes while still keeping continuity in your department. There may need to be some discussion and adjustment as you work out the schedule.
A few ways you can manage your group’s workload and coverage include:
- ensuring that others who can perform the work are up to speed on tasks and responsibilities that may arise during a colleague’s day off;
- scheduling furlough days after reaching a project’s milestone or when things are usually quieter in your unit;
- having your direct reports give you what they are working on and who they are working with, so that you can handle situations that might arise on their days off;
- lengthening timelines on projects; and
- finding ways to streamline work so that staff can complete their work without becoming overburdened given the reduced workdays due to the furlough.
Don’t forget that you must also take the 5 unpaid days, so think ahead about how to prepare your team and your own supervisor, and who could be contacted while you are taking your furlough days.
Resources and team morale
This is a stressful time for everyone. As a supervisor who cares for your employees, we want to remind you to check in frequently on their workload and how they are doing and be ready to step in to help when necessary. If you feel someone is struggling with their workload and you’ve tried to adjust internally, but still need help, talk to your department head or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to dealing with unpaid days off, staff and faculty may also be caring for family members at home or feeling overwhelmed by world events. If you sense that an employee is stressed, AU has a number of resources to help them through the Faculty Staff Assistance Program, including virtual counseling services with our AU FSAP counselor and BHS, online resources, and an emergency loan program to assist faculty and staff who have urgent financial needs. You may want to remind employees that these resources are available to them, and that the counseling is free.
As a supervisor, you also have access to BHS’s team of performance consultants who are specifically trained to assist you with the challenges of managing people. BHS performance consultants support issues such as morale, work/life balance, conducting difficult employee discussions, employee coaching, expectations setting, and conflict resolution. Please contact BHS performance consulting at 800-327-2251, or through the MyBHSportal (username AU) for more information.
The Talent Strategies team in Human Resources has identified some resources for supervisors that may be helpful in managing your team during this time. These are available in AsuccessfulU, or you may click the links to Leading for Change and Avoiding Burnout directly.