In response to the national emergency created by the spread of the coronavirus, VISTA updated the teleservice policy to allow VISTA members to serve full-time remotely, including from home. The updated policy and additional details for VISTA sponsors and members may be found at www.nationalservice.gov/coronavirus/.
With this sudden schedule change, many VISTA sponsors have updated their VISTA Assignment Descriptions to allow members to serve full-time from home while their communities are under stay at home orders from government officials. Resources are provided below to support the design and management of full-time teleservice for VISTA members.
In general, effective management of members serving from home includes following organizational policies that cover remote working; confirming adequate resources available at home; establishing clear expectations with a telework agreement; writing a specific work plan that includes deliverables and incremental deadlines; and engaging in extensive and multiple forms of communication. VISTA sponsors may have existing organizational policies and procedures that address each management element. For those who do not, the resources below may be useful to create teleservice policies and procedures for VISTA members.
Examples of Organizational Policies
a.7 Things to Do When Creating an Emergency Work-From-Home Policy for COVID-19: https://www.uschamber.com/co/run/human-resources/emergency-work-from-home-policy
b. City of Baltimore, MD Telework Policy: https://ca.baltimorecity.gov/am/files/AM-200-13.pdf.
Planning for Remote Work
a. COVID-19 Has My Teams Working Remotely—A Guide for Leaders: https://www.gallup.com/workplace/288956/covid-teams-working-remotely-guide-leaders.aspx.
b. COVID-19 Pandemic: Supervisor Tips and Tools for Motivating Remote Staff to Stay Engaged and Productive: https://www.hr.pitt.edu/news/covid-19-pandemic-supervisor-tips-tools-motivating-remote-staff-stay-engaged-and-productive.
i.is site includes specific ideas for tasks that can be done remotely and may be very applicable to VISTA members’ service.
c. Get Your Remote Team Up and Running Fast—Eight Tips for Managers New to Working from Home: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2020/04/06/get-your-remote-team-up-and-running-fast-eight-tips-for-managers-new-to-working-from-home/#1fc336122332.
d. How to Actually Work…When You’re Working from Home: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqZiBugq4ts
e. Telecommuting—A Guide for Employees and Supervisors: https://worklife.msu.edu/workplace-assistance/flexible-work/telecommuting
f. The Ultimate Tipsheet for Working Remotely: https://usaidlearninglab.org/sites/default/files/resource/files/remote_working_tipsheet_final.pdf
Examples of Telecommute Agreements and Work Plans
a. County of San Mateo, CA Telework Guide: https://hr.smcgov.org/telework
b.Michigan State University Telecommuting Agreement: https://worklife.msu.edu/sites/default/files/sites/default/files/content/Telecommuting%20Agreement-Updated%202016.pdf
c. State of Maryland Telework Manual: https://dbm.maryland.gov/employees/Pages/telework/teleworkHome.aspx.
d. University of Washington—Teleworking During COVID-19: https://hr.uw.edu/coronavirus/teleworking/
Communication and Teamwork
a. 3 Ways to Manage Conflict When You Work Remotely: https://fortune.com/2020/04/06/remote-work-from-home-tips-tricks-advice-communication/.
b.10 Ways Remote Workers Can Improve Communication Skills: https://money.usnews.com/careers/articles/how-to-communicate-effectively-when-working-with-a-remote-team.
c. Ways to Lead a Productive and Inclusive Zoom Meeting: https://uit.stanford.edu/guide/telecommuting.
a. A Guide to Managing Your (Newly) Remote Workers: https://hbr.org/2020/03/a-guide-to-managing-your-newly-remote-workers
i.The Harvard Business Review has made all coronavirus-related content free; this includes learning remotely, managing remove workers, and managing stress.
b. New to Working Remotely? These Resources Can Help: https://learning.linkedin.com/blog/productivity-tips/new-to-working-remotely--these-resources-can-help.
i. i.LinkedIn Learning has a learning path of 16 free online courses that address remote working. Topics include time management, building resilience, leading at a distance, and MS Teams tips and tricks.
c. U.S. Office of Personnel Management Telework Resources for Managers: https://www.telework.gov/training-resources/telework-faqs/managers/