Effective March 1, 2020
Units will ensure that coverage is provided during university Standard Operating Hours. While best practice is for offices to remain open, with a physical presence during Standard Operating Hours, it is recognized that external conditions necessitate a change in how we provide service.
Reason for Policy
The intent of this policy is to clarify the College of Arts and Sciences’ expectations regarding office coverage, and to allow individual business units/departments to assess and determine the necessary operational level (coverage) during periods of reduced operations. This policy supports a culture which allows departments the agency to best meet the needs of its constituents while providing flexibility for office coverage. Additionally, this policy allows for more proactive office coverage planning and resource utilization, expanded departmental service offerings, and resources for incoming departmental leadership (staff, faculty and Chairs/Directors) to proactively assess and support office coverage.
The College of Arts and Sciences leadership recognizes that employees are able to respond to student and departmental needs and maintain business continuity through multifaceted communication methods (phone, email, interactive technology such as zoom, websites, etc.).
Units within the College of Arts and Sciences shall now utilize this policy to ensure consistency with regard to office coverage for periods of reduced operations. Overall, it is the expectation of the College of Arts and Sciences that units shall post Standard Operating Hours and any deviations to include coverage changes. Any and all changes to a unit’s Standard Operating Hours shall be published via websites, bulletin boards, etc., and communicated by email, etc., with satisfactory advanced notice. See Appendix A and B.
Departmental personnel (Chair/Director, faculty, and staff) will participate in the process of assessing and implementing office coverage guidelines in support of faculty, staff, and students, which also fosters trust and respect.
Department Chairs, Directors, and Unit Supervisors shall consult with their staff to determine the necessary standard office coverage for their unit based on university Standard Operating Hours.
Department Chairs, Directors, and Unit Supervisors shall consult with their staff to determine the necessary office coverage for their unit during periods when physical presence during core business hours is not essential to the operation of the office. This will enable staff to close office(s) in order to engage in professional development opportunities, as well as under circumstances such as periods of reduced operations (university breaks) and inclement weather, etc.
Planned Long-Term Coverage
Planned Short-Term Coverage
Unplanned Short Term Coverage
Below are a range of resources which may help to communicate office coverage. Departmental leaders are encouraged to work within their unit as well as between units (within the same building, functional areas, academic divisions, etc.) in order to best utilize resources to support coverage within and between departments.
Prior to office closure email example:
“This email is to inform you that the (department name) office will be closed starting (starting date/time) through (end date/time). You will need to contact staff before (starting date) if you need assistance during this period.
During this time, our departmental email at (department email address) shall remain available if you have any queries. We will respond as soon as possible.”
Individual staff member email auto-response example
“I will be out of the office starting (starting date/time) through (end date/time), returning (date of return). If you need immediate assistance during this time, please contact our departmental email at (department email address).
Department email auto-response example
“Thank you for your email. Your message is important to (department name). We will respond as soon as possible. Please contact (resource/department) if you have an urgent need.
Department signage example
“The (department name)'s office will be closed (date and time) for (event name).
Staff will return (date and time). In an emergency, contact (resource/department)."
Here are some examples of resources which may help to communicate office coverage: