Remote Work Guidance and Best Practices
The following recommended guidelines and best practices are provided to assist all of us in better navigating this new virtual work environment, provide a healthier workplace, and help us do the business of our University in a less stressful and more positive and productive way.
As a large and complex institution, there will be times when it is not feasible or appropriate to strictly follow this guidance, but please consider implementing them whenever possible.
- Video meetings should typically be scheduled for 50 minutes (traditionally 1-hour meetings) or 25 minutes (traditionally half-hour meetings) to allow some preparation/break time between meetings. When longer video meetings are needed, follow the same principle and end the meeting at a time that allows for a short break.
- When possible, video meetings should not be scheduled during the lunch hour (noon-1 p.m.).
- While normal business hours should be maintained, limit scheduling video meetings before 9 a.m., after 4 p.m., and on Friday afternoons when possible.
- Before scheduling a video meeting, consider the best modality for the purpose of the information exchange and size of the group involved. To reduce the number of video meetings, could an email exchange, chat thread (via MS Teams, Slack, Discord, etc.) or phone call accomplish the same goals?
- The meeting organizer should identify a clear purpose and have an agenda for the video meeting, including expectations for camera usage, the chat function, and recording. This will help keep video meetings (in fact, all meetings) more focused and efficient.
- In the absence of other guidance, in general cameras should be on during small meetings with participants actively engaged. (Note there may be circumstances when a small meeting participant working remotely will desire to turn their camera off.) In large meetings formatted as presentations, listeners may often have their cameras turned off. In such formats, consider turning your camera on when speaking or asking questions to engage with the presenter(s).
- For ease of access, embed the meeting URL in the calendar invitation to participants for the video meeting.
- The cognitive workload associated with video meetings is much higher than with in-person meetings. For video meetings in which you are an active participant, consider minimizing multitasking (like checking your email) which may distract you from actively listening to and engaging with other speakers in the meeting.
- Purdue faculty and staff need uninterrupted time during the day (away from digital influences) to work on critical tasks, eat, and recharge. Block some time on your calendar to work without interruption and consider disconnecting for the lunch hour to eat or participate in some physical activity (e.g., consider going for a walk). Be disciplined about sticking to your schedule.
- Limit when you answer your emails primarily to business hours. It is tempting to answer work emails at all hours of the day, including when you are supposed to be having downtime. Try to limit this window of answering emails to help preserve your downtime. (If you are working a flexible schedule, follow the same principle and create an appropriate window for responding to e-mail.)