UCSB’s commitment to safely and effectively meet the public health challenge presented by COVID-19 means that we need to minimize the number of people on campus as much as possible while maintaining critical University functions. The campus remains open, but only essential personnel have been reporting to work on-site since March 20, 2020 in accordance with University guidance first established on March 19, 2020.
Remote work (also known as telecommuting) arrangements are not new, but because they may be unfamiliar to some employees and supervisors, we’ve assembled these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to help navigate potential remote working scenarios.
Remote work allows an eligible employee to work entirely at an alternate work location other than a UCSB worksite. In most cases, this is the employee’s home.
Remote work can occur in the Santa Barbara region, the state of California, or the United States.
Usually, the employee will not have an assigned UCSB worksite, e.g., individual office or cubicle.
Generally, employees work regular office hours and deviations from that schedule require supervisor approval.
A telecommuting work arrangement allows an eligible employee to work one or more days at an alternate location instead of commuting to a UCSB worksite.
The telecommuting arrangement can be a set schedule or variable (upon request).
Telecommuting employees have an assigned work location, e.g., office or cubicle at a UCSB worksite.
Once you log in with your UCSBNetID and password, you can access most UCSB online services. If you have problems accessing a particular University resource, request help via the Information Technology Services portal. The main differences when working remotely may relate to the way you, your colleagues, and your manager communicate and collaborate. See Collaborating Virtually below.
Maintain frequent and timely communication with your manager/supervisor.
Be available and responsive during regular working hours.
Respect and adhere to timelines, work productivity goals, and task accomplishments.
Safeguard all UCSB property (i.e., equipment) and university data.
Define your workspace. Establish a workspace, even if it is your kitchen table. It signals to your brain that it is time for work. Wearing the same attire you would in the office, even if it is your “casual Friday,” may be helpful. You should remain capable of reporting to work if your supervisor requests your presence.
Master the basics:
- Set up call forwarding, and ensure you can access your voicemail off-campus.
- Use Google Hangouts Chat, Google Hangouts Meet, Zoom, or Slack to stay connected to colleagues.
- Plan for video calls/meetings by ensuring you can turn on your computer’s camera and microphone. Remember that your colleagues may be able to see your background.
Set daily goals, track them, and share your progress. Consider starting each day working remotely by listing what you need to accomplish and then tracking your progress. Track how long tasks take and adjust your daily goals to match your rhythm.
Eliminate distractions. Home can mean pets, children, or a favorite hobby are only a few feet away. Depending on your living arrangement, you may need to hang a “do not disturb” sign so your family members don’t interrupt you. Pets often need a closed door to keep them away, and you might need headphones to block noise.
Prioritize privacy. Whether you work at home or another remote location, take five minutes to assess your workspace privacy. Can someone who is standing behind you read your computer screen? Are your windows open so your neighbor can hear your phone call? What information do you need to secure before grabbing a cup of coffee or heading to the restroom?
- Your personal privacy matters too, so look around to see if there is anything that you would not want visible during a video conference with your manager or colleague.
- Remember that the work employees do while working remotely, even on their personal devices for University work, remains subject to University and other applicable regulations including the Public Records Act.
Stay connected. You should feel confident about calling or messaging an employee who works remotely anytime you would walk to their office or call them if you were on campus.
UCSB has developed remote work guidance for employees, managers, and departments, which provide information about getting started, technology, managing remote teams, home office set-ups, and other requirements and best practices.
HR has created a comprehensive reference page with Guidance for Staff and Supervisors during COVID-19 Impacts.
Training for Employees:
Training for Managers/Supervisors:
Transitioning to Work Off-Campus
Chancellor Yang sent a memo on March 19 about what UCSB was doing in response to the Governor’s statewide stay-at-home order.
As a higher education institution, the campus remains open to provide essential services, but to comply with the order, we need to minimize the number of people on campus as much as possible while maintaining critical University functions.
By reducing the number of people in close contact with one another during this time, we help slow the spread of the virus and give our healthcare system time to prepare and to treat those who contract COVID-19.
Only those employees who must be on campus to maintain critical operations and functions.
The university cannot make any decisions without guidance from public health officials, as well as Governor Newsom, and possibly federal authorities. While we anticipate returning to our regular routines, much will depend on the virus’s progression in California and how well everyone in California, and across the country, adheres to social distancing.
Governor Newsom issued the statewide stay-at-home order on March 19 and will continue until further notice. Monitor your email and remain in close contact with your supervisor for updates. The remote work arrangement will last until the threat of spreading COVID-19 subsides; we will follow the guidelines of health professionals and government officials.
Mandatory work-from-home is a temporary arrangement that allows UCSB to continue operating and serving students during an extraordinary time while adhering to California’s statewide shelter-in-place order.
Routine remote work/telecommuting arrangements will resume once we determine that it is safe to return to campus.
Yes. Even though UCSB requested that most employees work remotely, some jobs must be performed on campus. Working remotely does not suit every position due to specific job duties that cannot be performed at home or because of unit operating requirements.
Talk to your supervisor about whether you can perform some or all of your job responsibilities remotely.
Your supervisor must agree that you can work remotely, and you must agree to abide by this remote work guidance. This situation will remain in effect until circumstances change or the supervisor ends it.
No. The normal remote work/telecommuting agreement is not needed during this time.
Your department may require a Temporary Remote Work Agreement.
What impact (if any) will this have on employees who have a remote work/telecommuting agreement in place?
None. Employees who already have a remote work/telecommuting agreement in place do not need to make any changes.
Determining Remote Work Eligibility
Many of our employees can work remotely/telecommute during this time. Your supervisor will notify you if your position permits temporary remote work/telecommuting for all or part of your schedule. However, some critical positions are ineligible for remote work/telecommuting as they are part of necessary student support or other services.
Remote work is easiest to implement for job duties that involve analytical work, research, online or phone advising, or other computer-oriented duties (data entry, web page design, word processing, programming).
In general, and at leadership’s discretion, a job is suited for remote work if the job or some components of it can be done off-site without disruption to workflow and communication.
Remote work is not recommended for job duties that require in-person interaction, direct supervision, or access to material that cannot leave University property (e.g., protected or confidential data or documents).
Management and/or supervisory roles might not be considered for remote working arrangements unless a department finds it practical to meet job responsibilities.
Some jobs that may not initially seem appropriate could be modified with your department or division’s approval so that employees can work remotely.
According to the COVID-19 Response and Campus Operations memo dated March 14, all department heads were to promptly assess the extent to which their employees could conduct job duties off-site, remembering that work assignments can include web-based training, special projects, and other assignments that support the department’s functions.
Department heads also were to develop plans for service continuity both with and without remote work arrangements in mind, in consultation with their respective Deans, Vice Chancellors, Associate Chancellor, or Executive Vice Chancellor.
Other factors to consider:
- operational requirements,
- security of work data,
- technological capabilities and equipment necessary to perform job duties,
- productivity, and
- accuracy of records reflecting time worked by non-exempt employees.
Managers are responsible for determining what positions and the number of workers needed to maintain necessary campus operations. This will differ between units and may evolve as COVID-19 guidance changes.
Types of Employees (Essential vs Non-Essential)
- Essential employees who are required in-person to continue the critical University operations
- Essential employees who can conduct essential services work remotely
- Non-essential employees who can conduct their work remotely
- Non-essential employees whose work cannot be conducted remotely, and whose work does not maintain the critical operations of the University
- Note: this may include employees who, after management has determined the number of employees needed from category 1, do not meet category 3.
- Work with your supervisor to determine if your role is necessary to continue critical university operations.
Students may be allowed to work during this period of remote learning if their supervisor permits them to work and they do not meet one of the CDC criteria for self-quarantine due to travel restrictions.
In addition, according to updated guidance from the U.S. Department of Education on Federal Work-Study (FWS), FWS students may be paid even if they are unable to work this term due to COVID-19. Some FWS students may have worked or would like to continue working. Supervisors have the flexibility to allow this, and students will be paid regardless.
We continue to encourage all work-study employers to find remote work for their student employees when possible.
Students should confirm with their employers that business operations and hours are not changing.
If students prefer not to work, they should connect with their work-study employer. They should also contact their work-study employer if they prefer to work remotely.
If students are not able to work in person or remotely, they should continue to receive pay through administrative leave or through regular Work-Study pay. See the April 8, 2020 memo “Additional Work-Study Employment Reminders” for further information.
For additional information on Work-Study and COVID-19, visit the Work-Study and COVID-19 Information page.
If I cannot perform my job remotely, may I go home if I don’t want to be exposed to a sick coworker?
Those whose positions are not eligible to work remotely must be physically present in the workplace. Those who choose not to report to work must use approved sick leave or annual leave in order to be compensated during their absence.
On March 19, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom and the California State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health issued an order directing all residents of California to stay at home or their place of residence effective immediately and until further notice. According to the order, essential services (gas, grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, etc.) and state and local government functions, including the higher education sector, remain open.
As a higher education institution, our campus remains open to provide essential services. However, only those employees who must be on campus to maintain critical operations and functions should come to campus. UCSB has asked supervisors to consider alternate work arrangements, when possible, and is working on a process to reassign employees to other areas or types of work.
Those individuals who cannot work from home and are not designated as essential service providers by their managers or supervisors are eligible for paid administrative leave described in the recent executive order by UC President Janet Napolitano.
Preparing for Off-Campus Work
Update your contact information for your supervisor/team.
Test remote access to all of the tools you use to perform your work duties.
Take home any non-confidential printed materials and your computer in the event you cannot access those items remotely.
Consider forwarding your office phone to your remote location/cell phone if you need to receive work-related phone calls. Schedule a regular meeting cadence with your project teams and working groups as daily or weekly check-ins to maintain productivity.
Use your normal working patterns and team communications channels such as email, chat, or virtual meetings.
Ensure that you’ve identified a virtual venue where the team can meet in one area and communicate in real-time. Zoom meetings, Box Notes, Google Hangouts Chat, or Slack are all good options.
Update your service subscriptions at the UCSB Systems Health Dashboard to receive any technology degradation or outage notifications.
No. You cannot take university-owned equipment off-campus.
You may use a personal computer to work remotely as long as you are storing data on it that may be a security risk.
To clean and disinfect electronics, such as keyboards, touch screens, and tablets, the CDC recommends:
- Considering putting a wipeable cover on electronics.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfecting.
- If your equipment provides no guidance, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol. Dry the surface thoroughly.
Apple has tips on how to clean its products, including:
- Using only a soft, lint-free cloth. Avoid abrasive cloths, towels, paper towels, or similar items.
- Avoiding excessive wiping, which might cause damage.Unplugging all external power sources, devices, and cables.
- Don't get moisture into any openings.
- Don't use aerosol sprays, bleaches, or abrasives.
- Don't spray cleaners directly onto the item.
No. You cannot take university-owned equipment or furnishings off-campus.
Is there anything special I should do before I take my UCSB-issued computer off-campus to work remotely?
Your university-issued computer should already be configured with everything you need to access the UCSB network and the systems that you’ll need to access.
Depending on the systems that you access, you may need to install the Campus VPN. See Using the VPN below for further information.
Yes. If you are an employee working remotely either all or part of the time while the university encourages remote work options, then you may come to campus to collect the items from your office that you need to work effectively.
People are not banned from campus; however, conditions may change as this situation develops. Right now, the university’s goal is to reduce campus traffic and campus population, which is why many employees are temporarily authorized to work remotely.
Many campus buildings will be locked to avoid public entry, but after-hours “swipe-in” access (for those buildings that have it) will function. If your building is not generally accessible to you after hours, then you will need to arrange for someone to let you in.
What if I need to return to campus to retrieve essential work items to either start or continue working remotely?
University facilities will remain open should you need to retrieve something from your office.
Bring your university-issued ID badge to gain access.
If you are working remotely, you should notify your supervisor if you plan to return to campus for any reason. You and your supervisor are responsible for managing good communication regarding job duties, time off, projects, deadlines, etc.
Note: Mileage to and from the University will not be reimbursed for this purpose.
If you are working remotely, you should notify your supervisor if you plan to return to campus for any reason.
Bring your university-issued ID badge to gain access.
Maintain social distancing while on campus. Avoid direct physical contact such as hand-shaking, and use telephones or video conferencing to reduce close interactions.
Remember that some buildings may not have restrooms unlocked. Submit a WebTMA ticket if you need access.
Note: Mileage to and from the University will not be reimbursed for this purpose.
If you can meet the requirements detailed in these guidelines and can return to work as soon as required to do so, then working remotely from another location is acceptable at your own discretion.
Setting Up/Equipping a Home Office
To work remotely effectively, note the minimum physical/hardware requirements:
- University-provided laptop OR capable and secure home laptop/desktop
- Webcam - a camera may already be built into your laptop, but you can also use an external USB camera for video conferencing
- Headphones/Microphone - these may be built into your laptop or computer, or you may use an external device such as a USB microphone or headset
- An ergonomic workspace
- High-speed internet - either commercially provided (e.g., Comcast, Charter, Xfinity, etc.) or a wireless hotspot configuration on your smartphone.
You should have a dedicated space in which to work, preferably with a closed door.
Consider creating an ergonomic home workspace. The UCSB Environmental Health & Safety Ergonomics website offers these materials for an ergonomic workspace:
UCLA Ergonomics tip sheets:
At a minimum, employees need to have an internet bandwidth of 30Mpbs download/10Mpbs upload.
Check your internet speed using Google’s internet speed test link.
If you have no internet connectivity at home or want to upgrade your internet, see the Corporate Resources for Higher Ed Going Online During COVID-19.
If you do not have acceptable internet connectivity at home/your remote location, please work with your supervisor for alternative work assignments or options.
If you have a university-provided cell phone, you can open a Mobile Device Request ticket in ServiceNow. Enter the User Information, cell number, carrier, and carrier account number to add hotspot capability. See the University Cell Phones and Hotspots FAQ for additional information.
If you don’t have a university-provided cell phone, you can work with your wireless carriers to add additional data in order to use personal hotspots on your devices at no additional cost. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon have information readily available on how to upgrade data.
Work with your supervisor to determine if any equipment is available to take home temporarily to complete your work. If no equipment is available and you need a computer to work from home and do not have access to equipment, you are eligible for administrative leave with pay under the executive order.
Yes, as long as you do not store any data locally on your machine. This includes emails as well as files. Use the VPN where necessary to access resources and save to a network drive OR use cloud-based services like Google Drive or Box. Note: do not turn on Google Backup and Sync or Box Sync to do university work as these would also save data on your personal computer.
Your personally-owned workstation/laptop must have anti-malware installed (see the Maintaining Security While Working Remotely section below).
If I normally work with dual monitors in my on-campus office, will UCSB provide a large monitor or dual monitors for my home use?
No. The recommended equipment package for remote work/telecommuting consists of a laptop and noise-canceling headphones.
University policy is to not reimburse individuals for personal expenses relating to working remotely. Neither will the University be responsible for the operation, maintenance, or other incidental costs associated with the use of your home or other location as a teleworking/telecommuting site.
If I’m working from home as a result of the coronavirus, will UCSB reimburse my internet and phone bill?
University policy is to not reimburse individuals for personal expenses relating to working remotely. Phone and internet costs associated with teleworking/telecommuting are the employee’s responsibility and will not be reimbursed by the University.
Using a university-owned computer is the preferred method for working remotely. Use the VPN where it's needed to access university resources like network file shares, Campus Data Warehouse, etc.
If you are using your personal computer, please do not store any data locally on your machine. This includes emails as well as files.
Use the VPN where necessary to access resources and save to a network drive OR use cloud-based services like Google Drive or Box. Note: do not turn on Google Backup and Sync or Box Sync to do university work as these would also save data on your personal computer.
Turn off your video unless necessary.
If you can use a wired connection, opt for that – it will be more reliable.
If not, be as close to the wireless router as possible.
If possible, ask others who share your internet service to limit their bandwidth consumption during your Zoom meeting(s).
If you use your computer or tablet to connect to class, turn the wireless off on your phone. Your phone likely consumes bandwidth without you knowing.
Your local provider (e.g. Comcast/Xfinity) may have advanced tools for managing devices connecting to your home network; see their customer support pages for more information. In today’s connected environment, many “smart” appliances and devices consume bandwidth. Disconnecting these devices for a short period may improve Zoom/video conferencing.
Items available are limited and may vary from department to department. Request them from your local IT support.
Managing Remote Employees
Remote work functions best when employees and supervisors communicate clearly about expectations.
Consider the following checklist to establish a foundation for effective remote work and continued productivity:
- Review technology needs and resources
- Set ground rules for communication
- Review and confirm work schedules
- Set expectations about availability and status updates
- Work together with employees to establish clear performance goals
You may also want to refer to the following for additional information:
- The section on Best Practices for Supervisors and Managers in HR’s Guidance for Staff and Supervisors during COVID-19 Impacts
- The Best Practices for Managers and Supervisors section of Best Practices for Flexible Work Arrangements
As a manager/supervisor, am I allowed to require employees to come onsite periodically during this time?
We are trying to minimize the potential for infection. Managers should only require those employees whose work cannot be done at home and/or must be done on campus to come in.
No. You cannot prevent employees from traveling to affected areas for personal travel reasons, and under no circumstances can the employee’s national origin be factored into consideration of whether to grant or deny time off. However, if an employee chooses to travel to a Level 3 destination, they will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return.
You may want to start with these questions:
- Are there any teams or individuals who have limited or no experience with remote work?
- What training (if any) will be necessary for remote work tools and technology?
- What routine responsibilities/tasks cannot be fulfilled while working remotely and how will it impact operations or other people? Are there any ways to reduce those impacts?
- Can positions that do not traditionally lend themselves to remote work be temporarily modified to focus on other work elements such as online training, documentation, etc.?
- Are there cross-training opportunities to identify backup employees who can do critical work within or between departments?
- What routine responsibilities/tasks require regular communication and collaboration with others?
- Are there critical work activities that are vulnerable to the absence of a small number of key employees?
- Are there any special projects, tasks, or online training that you can advance while working remotely?
How do I ensure our team fulfills its responsibilities while acknowledging that it can be hard for employees to be as productive as they would be under normal circumstances?
It’s important to recognize that, during extraordinarily challenging times, we need to have both achievement of goals and an adjustment to our expectations. Not only do living and working conditions change, but our priorities also often change.
Employees need time to align themselves with the new priorities, along with adapting established patterns under the new living and working conditions. It can be challenging for managers to know what’s reasonable to expect, as well as for employees to adapt.
Managers can help their teams be productive and pivot in new directions by communicating their expectations clearly, checking in with employees on their progress, and calibrating their expectations in real-time as everyone settles into the new arrangements.
This article might be helpful as you shift from traditional modes of monitoring employees and measuring productivity: “When Your Employees Are Remote, You Have To Stop The Body-In-Seat Mentality.”
Set and communicate clear goals and priorities. This is especially important when teams are dispersed remotely, and even more so in times of uncertainty.
Having clear goals and priorities helps employees stay focused and grounded. It gives them a sense of purpose and meaning, which is stabilizing. Focus on short-term goals and priorities.
Set weekly team goals and priorities. Allocate individual tasks that are tied to those team goals and priorities.
With remote teams, transparency and shared understanding are important. Include all team members in communications related to goals, priorities, and task allocations. This ensures you align work and help employees see their role in the team’s work.
Celebrate individual and team accomplishments. This will reinforce each person’s importance to the team and help build momentum.
Having shared goals is key to collaboration and connection across a team. Surprisingly, it is often in challenging times that shifting priorities and new, urgent tasks are the vehicles for those intersections.
Try to step back from how you usually think about work to think originally and find new ways for team members to collaborate. Begin team meetings by sharing struggles and break-throughs, particularly during the early days of big changes.
While it may seem “squishy” or time-consuming, the investment you make in helping team members learn and care about each other’s situations pays off in helping members to settle in and distribute supportive behaviors.
Using Zoom, managers can and should continue holding regular staff meetings. With teams dispersed remotely, it is especially important to meet as a team.
More frequent, short team check-ins are good practice, such as a morning huddle or an end-of-day check-in.
Best practices for in-person meetings also apply to remote meetings. Meeting leaders should set a clear agenda, with a goal and time-frame for each agenda item.
Managing participation can be difficult with remote meetings, as it can be challenging not to talk over one another. With that in mind, a good practice is to “go around the table” to make sure everyone has an opportunity to contribute. Also, encourage participants to use the “raise hand” feature in Zoom.
Meeting remotely is a different experience, but with time teams can find remote meetings to be as effective as in-person meetings.
You may also want to read "What It Takes to Run a Great Virtual Meeting."
Regular feedback helps employees adjust their focus and performance to meet the needs of their roles and the team. With remote workers, it’s best to give feedback using a video meeting with Zoom.
Avoid emailing feedback.
All feedback, whether positive or constructive, should be specific and follow the UC Performance Management Model.
After you deliver the feedback, offer the employee an opportunity to give their perspective, as they might have valuable information to share.
As always, give regular and timely feedback.
Working remotely can create a sense of isolation that impacts mood, morale, decision-making ability, and productivity.
Four important tactics managers can use to help staff feel connected, focused, and part of a team:
- Ensure your team creates ways to connect on a regular basis.
- Remember the higher purpose we serve — why our work is important.
- Use technology to engage in both work and social connection.
- Take short breaks throughout the day to cognitively relax and connect to others.
Consider creating a public event on your Google Calendar to indicate that you’re working remotely, and the best way to contact you. Examples include:
- Google Hangouts Chat or alternate instant messaging tool (i.e., Slack)
Follow these instructions to set up your Google Calendar:
- Create a New Event
- Use the Subject “Working Remotely” with your preferred contact method(s)
- Check “All Day” and select a date range
- Mark the event as “Free” and set the visibility to “Public”
- You could also create an “Office Hours” meeting using Zoom, and create a recurring entry on your calendar (also marked “Public”) so that others will know you’re available to meet on a drop-in basis. You’ll want to enable the Waiting Room feature in Zoom for this type of meeting.
Stay logged into the instant messaging tool (Google Hangouts Chat, Slack, etc.).
Check and your email frequently to ensure timely responses to questions and tasks.
Confirm your schedule with your supervisor, including breaks when appropriate.
When needed, note busy/unavailable time on your calendar.
Hangouts Chat, included in the G Suite for Education apps, is a convenient instant messaging tool that allows you to chat online with a person or a group of people. Review the information on Google Hangouts Chat web page.
You may also want to see Google Drive and File Sharing for information on real-time editing, group collaboration, and file storage.
Zoom is available for online meetings.
It’s helpful to assign one person to lead the meeting agenda, and another person to handle the meeting technology (questions in the queue, muting/unmuting, etc.).
Include links to meeting documents such as the agenda and working documents in the meeting invitation for easy access.
Be thoughtful about meeting participation and tell people whether or not they need to attend.
Yes. It will be important to rely on virtual meetings to continue normal business operations. You should continue to use Zoom as the standard virtual meeting tool and you should update your previously scheduled meetings to Zoom virtual meetings.
In the event Zoom is unavailable or has performance issues, you can try the following alternatives:
Working remotely may be challenging for some employees. Here are some tips to help maintain productivity:
- Establish a dedicated, comfortable location to complete your work and that you can fully step away from when you are “off the clock.
- Use communication tools such as Google Chat, Slack, etc. to stay connected with coworkers.
- Stay in close communication with your supervisor about progress on projects, deadlines, and expectations.
- Your normal workday structure may be affected. Develop a structure that suits your new environment.
Zoom video conferencing can be accessed from any web browser. Set up at it.ucsb.edu/zoom-video-conferencing.
It is strongly recommended faculty, staff, and students download Zoom to their laptop and/or cell phone for easy conferencing.
Yes. Remember that this could result in long-distance costs due to Zoom’s use of toll calls.
However, if you have an issue with your internet connectivity, using a landline to call into Zoom meetings may help limit your bandwidth.
If you have an internet bandwidth of 30Mpbs download/10Mpbs upload, you should be able to use Zoom.
Check the compatibility of your internet speed, audio, and video for using Zoom at zoom.us/test.
You can also view Zoom’s System Requirements for PC, Mac, and Linux.
Zoom allows you to turn on/off video during a session if the connection bandwidth is not robust.
You can use a telephone for audio-only participation in a Zoom meeting as a last resort.
Leave video off when you don’t need it. For meetings in which seeing each other isn't crucial, turning your camera off is the easiest way to reduce the amount of data coming in and out of your computer. Adjust your settings so that you always join meetings with the camera off, and you can choose to have attendees' cameras off for meetings you set up.
Turn off HD video. Providing video in HD resolution requires much more data, so consider turning it off when image quality isn't critical. To turn off HD in your Zoom client:
In your desktop Zoom client, click Settings (the gear icon).
- Click Video within the left-hand menu.
- In the My Video section, uncheck the box beside Enable HD if it is checked.
Only screen share as long as necessary. Stop screen sharing when you don’t need to show your screen. Also, request that other users turn off their screen sharing when they are done. For details about screen sharing, see Share Your Screen on the Zoom website.
Use online collaborative documents rather than screen sharing. Certain services, like Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Box Notes, let multiple people simultaneously open and edit the file. These services can use less data than streaming video and still allow everyone to see changes nearly as they happen.
Mute your audio when not speaking. While it doesn't use as much bandwidth as video, you can also slightly reduce your bandwidth by muting your audio when you're not speaking. Use the Mute button in the bottom left corner of the Zoom screen to mute or unmute your audio.
Consider connecting to a Zoom meeting audio via phone call instead of using computer audio within the meeting. The phone numbers to connect to a Zoom session are usually included in the invitation you receive from the host under the heading "Dial by your location."
Limit high-bandwidth activities by others at your location. Other people using the internet from your remote location will affect the bandwidth available to your Zoom session. Avoid having others stream videos or music, play online games, or upload and download large files, as they can all impact Zoom performance.
Avoid running other data-intensive applications during Zoom sessions. Improve your overall Zoom client performance by not running other applications during meetings that might also use a large share of your bandwidth. Examples of data-intensive programs include streaming video or music sites, or other websites with dynamic content.
Check your network usage using Activity Monitor on the Mac or Task Manager in Windows to pinpoint which programs use the most data.
By default, all faculty and staff have Zoom Pro licenses. If you don’t believe you have a Pro license but you should, submit a request at the Information Technology Services portal.
We have assembled tips and techniques to increase Zoom security. See Increasing Zoom Security for further information.
The UC Chief Information Officers issued a joint statement about Zoom, concluding that they believe that Zoom continues to be an appropriate option for online learning and remote work.
Learn more about using Zoom securely at the Zoom Video Conferencing page.
Timekeeping and Pay
You are expected to work and remain available for communication during your regularly scheduled hours.
Non-exempt employees should continue to document hours worked per normal procedures.
Keeping with current practice, any overtime requires supervisor pre-approval.
Hourly employees should:
- Clock in at the beginning of your shift using the Timestamp feature on your Kronos timecard.
- Clock out at the beginning of your lunch period, and back in again when your lunch period is over.
- Clock out at the end of your shift.
If you are an hourly employee, you have the opportunity to take two 15-minute rest periods (“breaks”) during the day. Rest periods are considered time worked; you do not need to clock in/out at the beginning and end of each rest period.
Yes. To meet operational needs departments can modify work schedules with reasonable notice to the employee.
Yes. Employees who can work remotely are expected to do so. These arrangements should be finalized with their manager/supervisor.
Non-exempt employees should enter their work hours daily in Kronos. Employees must adhere to all deadlines for entering hours worked in Kronos to ensure pay is processed accurately.
Will I continue to receive pay if I need to quarantine myself or to care for a household member who is in quarantine or self-isolation as a result of coronavirus exposure?
According to the Executive Order Concerning COVID-19 And The Usage Of Paid Administrative Leave memo dated March 17, 2020, all staff will be paid during self-quarantine or self-isolation.
Paid administrative leave hours may be used for the following purposes:
- When an employee is unable to work due to the employee’s own COVID-19-related illness or that of a family member;
- When an employee is unable to work because the employee has been directed not to come to the worksite for COVID-19-related reasons and/or the worksite has implemented a COVID-19-related remote-work program or is under a shelter in place order and it is not operationally feasible for the employee to work remotely;
- When an employee is unable to work because a COVID-19-related school or daycare closure requires the employee to be at home with a child or dependent, and it is not operationally feasible for the employee to work remotely or in conjunction with the childcare commitment.
Communication with your supervisor is critical when you work remotely. Keep your supervisor informed about your health status and decide together whether you are well enough to work remotely or need to use accrued leave to cover any hours not worked.
Follow normal leave procedures if you have scheduled leave during this time.
If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath, do not report to work. Inform your supervisor and contact your primary health care provider.
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you should self-isolate. Immediately notify your supervisor of your diagnosis and continue following all quarantine, care, and other instructions you receive from your healthcare provider.
We value our staff and recognize the need for self-care, especially during these times. As we continue to manage reduced in-person operations on campus, you can request time off as needed to take quality time for yourselves.
Individual managers and supervisors will decide on time-off requests to ensure operational needs are met.
I have reached my maximum for annual leave. During this period of remote work, will UCSB increase the maximum accrual for annual leave?
UCSB believes that taking time off is important for all employees for their own personal and professional well-being. Especially during this period of remote work, we continue to urge all employees to use the benefit of their annual leave to have personal time away from professional duties. Annual Leave accruals will remain unchanged, with the strong encouragement that employees request and take their accrued annual leave.
Administrative leave is for addressing situations where employees need to take leave due to their own or family member’s COVID-19 related illness, stay home to care for children due to school closures related to COVID-19, or are directed not to report to work and it is not operationally feasible for the employee to work remotely.
Instructions for how to enter administrative leave in Kronos can be found on the Timekeeping website.
Additional information on the use of administrative leave can be found in the March 17, 2020 memo concerning the usage of paid administrative leave.
Answering Office Phones Remotely
All campus phone numbers can be forwarded to a personal cell phone or home phone. Directions for forwarding your office phone are available on the ETS Communication Services website.
You can consider a couple of options:
- If you rarely receive phone calls (or only a few during the workweek), consider allowing the call to go to voicemail. If you have opted to receive voicemail notifications via your email, you can receive those messages and check your voicemail accordingly.
- If you often receive phone calls, the easiest way to ensure that you are available to answer them remotely will be to forward your office phone line to your home phone or cell phone.
Access your office voicemail by dialing (805) 893-8800. When prompted, dial your extension number followed by the *key. Enter your passcode when prompted.
Instructions are available at commserv.ucsb.edu/mwi/.
If you monitor and answer multiple phone lines, you may also forward that phone to your home or cell phone. If you work with others to monitor those phone lines, consider and discuss how you and your team will share the responsibility to answer them. A phone line can only be forwarded to one phone number.
Departments will incur long-distance charges for call forwarding to outside the 805 area code.
If you forward your UCSB office phone to a personal phone number, callers will hear your personal voicemail greeting.
Using the Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A virtual private network (VPN) creates a secure connection to UCSB networks. You may be required to use a VPN to access internal University computer systems.
Once you connect through the VPN, you can access restricted campus resources remotely in the same manner as if your device was on campus. More information about the VPN is available at it.ucsb.edu/vpn.
A Virtual Private Network connection allows you to connect to the UCSB network remotely and allows you to access certain resources.
Visit the Campus VPN page for information on requirements, installation, and support.
Some departments require their own VPN to connect to a departmental network. Refer to the Departmental VPN web page for more information.
- Note: SIS&T-supported staff should install and set up GlobalProtect VPN
- Note: Library staff should install and set up OpenVPN, which is configured for the Library internal networks and resources
You must run an up-to-date and patched Operating System (OS) to use the University VPN client.
Pulse Secure VPN clients are available for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and ChromeOS.
Details on supported releases/distributions can be found on the Get Connected to the VPN page.
If you have not previously used a VPN to access UCSB services, you probably don't need it to work remotely.
A VPN is not required to access many common services such as email, Google Drive, Box, Zoom, and general campus websites.
A VPN is used to access restricted internal resources on the University network, such as research workstations, file shares, the data warehouse(s), or financial applications.
VPN resources are limited, so only use a VPN to access these restricted internal resources. When you are finished with a restricted resource, disconnect so that others can use the VPN.
Yes. See the installation instructions on the Get Connected to VPN web page.
You may use your personal computer, laptop, tablet, and phone to work remotely so long as the data remains in the cloud (e.g. Google Drive, Box).
Never download personally identifiable information, sensitive FERPA information, health information, or other confidential information to your personal device. Personal Health Information (PHI) must be stored on a university system. You may store other confidential information on Google Drive or Box.
Connecting to On-Campus Files, Applications, and Data
If approved and equipped with the appropriate software to connect remotely to an on-campus computer and before initiating a remote connection and accessing files or other data, the University’s security guidelines require you to first connect to the Campus VPN. If you have questions about setting up or using remote access to your desktop, contact your local IT support.
I will use a “loaner” laptop while working remotely. How can I ensure that I can access my important and current files from my office computer?
Your loaner laptop should be configured with everything you need to access the UCSB network and the systems you need. If you have been engaged with your local IT support to obtain the loaner, determine if they transferred your data files to it. If you need assistance with your files, contact your local IT support.
If you are unable to consult with your local IT support before you begin to work remotely, consider using Google Drive, Google Shared Drive, or Box to store your work files while you are remote. Upload any critical or current files that you may need to a new folder in a dedicated space so that you can access that material remotely.
Using these services from your loaner means that you can access these files from your office computer, once you return from working remotely.
How can I connect to applications and access the collaboration tools I use to perform my normal work duties?
Test these functions remotely, if possible. You should be able to use your internet connection to access most of the UCSB services required for your daily work including UCPath, Kronos, and Connect (Gmail, Calendar, etc.).
If you access certain services using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you are likely already aware and using the correct connections and profile.
Your local IT staff will know best how to address issues accessing specific applications.
Yes. You will need to use either the Campus VPN or a departmental VPN to access the network file share/mapped drives.
If you need to access files from network-attached storage including "home" and "shared" folders, you must use the VPN or a departmental VPN (as appropriate). To learn more about accessing the VPN, visit the Campus VPN page.
If you do not already use “home” and “shared” network-attached storage to share files and need a way to quickly share files with individuals or groups, consider using Google Drive. For more information about using Google Drive, visit the Google Drive and File Sharing page.
A few university applications are restricted from public internet access. If you can’t access such an application off-campus, you may need to connect to the campus network via the VPN. To learn more about accessing the VPN, visit the Campus VPN page.
Maintaining Security While Working Remotely
You can learn more by visiting the Information Security Reminders for Remote Work page at it.ucsb.edu.
You must meet certain conditions when storing and sharing Restricted Data, also called P3 and P4 data under the new data classification scheme. Review the data classification scheme to better understand your responsibilities regarding specific types of data.
Google Drive and Google Shared Drives meet all restricted data storage security conditions.
Consider where you save files and who has access to that location. Don't store UCSB files or data on your local computer or external drives.
Connect to the VPN any time you access confidential or sensitive information, as this protects what you send and receive from interception.
Shred any confidential data when disposing of paper documents.
Learn more about Data Backup and Storage.
Watch for phishing attempts. UCSB remains a high-value target for cyberattackers, especially during uncertain times. Be especially wary of emails that attempt to get you to share your password as a requirement for working remotely. Attackers will often try to exploit an existing relationship by posing as a person you know or trust (such as a colleague or supervisor) and by creating a sense of urgency. If you suspect an email is a phishing attempt, file a report with UCSB Information Security at https://www.it.ucsb.edu/report-security-incident/report-harassing-or-unwanted-email.
Keep work data on your work computer. It is always preferable to conduct UCSB business on university-owned devices, but we recognize that this approach is not always possible. If you must conduct UCSB business on your personal device, do not store UCSB data on that device; store it in the cloud or a network file share.
Adequately protect your system. This includes activating and/or enabling anti-virus software, and regularly updating and enabling a firewall on your operating system. If you don’t have anti-virus software, Sophos may give you a solution for personal use: home.sophos.com/.
Avoid public WiFi. If necessary, use a personal hotspot. Public WiFi can introduce significant security risks and should only be used if absolutely necessary.
Always keep your device with you. Never leave your device or laptop in your car unattended, and ensure those around you can’t see your screen.
Do not sync UCSB data/files to personally owned devices using Box Sync and/or Backup and Sync from Google.
Yes. Whether you use a University-provided computer or a personal one, you must install and run the latest version of anti-malware software.
See the UC’s Important Security Controls for Everyone and All Devices. Your local IT staff can install Sophos Central on your University computer, and Sophos Home is an option for your home machine: home.sophos.com/.
Visit the Report a Security Incident page to
- Report Harassing or Unwanted Email,
- Report Scanning, Hacking, and Other Hostile Activity, or
- Report a Lost or Stolen Computer Device.
Phishing and malware instances related to COVID are rising worldwide. Many of the email-based attacks revolve around fake news, false government warnings, and bogus charitable solicitations.
Any time you see an email related to COVID-19, practice caution. Look closely at the source. Is it a real address or something designed to mislead you? The same is true for links within the email. Don't click until you look carefully. You can test questionable links at virustotal.com.
It is highly recommended that your personal/home computer runs a current operating system, Windows 10/macOS 10.15, is fully up to date, running antivirus, and all of your software is patched. When you are done with your work, make sure you fully log out of any campus system.
Do not save university data/files to your computer’s local hard drive.
Yes. However, practice extreme caution when printing confidential or sensitive data to a home printer.
Prevent unauthorized access to the information and use a shredder to dispose of it securely.
Always save your files to Google Drive, Box, or one of your network drives when working remotely.
Do not save files to the local hard drive of your computer, as locally saved files are vulnerable to loss if your hard drive fails or your computer is stolen.
Files stored on a network drive or cloud storage (Google Drive, Box) are secure and backed up in the event of accidental loss.
Balancing Work and Family/Caregiving Demands
I share a workspace and/or internet bandwidth with others in my household. Do I have flexibility to complete my work duties?
Employees who can work remotely are expected to be generally as productive as if they were in their usual work setting. Regardless of location, all employees must make every attempt to maintain the highest level of quality, customer service, responsiveness, operational effectiveness, and performance standards.
The hours of work may vary due to business needs (e.g., calls in the early morning or evening) and/or the employee’s own obligations (e.g., caring for children during normal working hours). Employees must communicate with their managers if they cannot work their usual hours.
My child’s school or daycare is closed and my child is not sick. I have no other childcare arrangements. May I work remotely with my child at home?
Bringing a child to work is not recommended or advisable whether you are working remotely or on-site. However, we recognize the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 emergency and understand that working remotely with your child may be possible, and in some cases, necessary. Your department head or designee can decide on a case-by-case basis.
If you cannot work remotely with your child, the following options are available (though not all options will be available in all situations depending on your job responsibilities):
- Use accrued sick or annual leave due to the threat of exposure to illness.
- Make up the work on an hour-for-hour basis during the same pay period for non-exempt (hourly) employees with your supervisor’s approval.
- Exempt employees may make up the work on an hour-for-hour basis during the same pay period with their supervisor’s approval, or if they are absent for a full workday they may use accrued leave.
- Use paid administrative leave (see Memo Concerning Usage of Paid Administrative Leave for details).
- Use a combination of the options above.
For the safety of children and to ensure professional and efficient performance of academic pursuits, operations, and services, the University cannot accommodate children in campus workplaces, classrooms, offices, or other venues.
If you can not work to attend to a family situation, you should use your annual or sick leave (depending on the circumstances) or make other arrangements with your supervisor.
Visit the Information Technology Services Portal anytime you have technical issues or questions.
Ithaca College has put together some suggestions for Improving Internet Performance. Here’s a quick summary of the topics included:
- Test your connection (note: you will have to pick a different location for testing)
- Check with your internet provider
- Adjust the way you connect to the network within your house or other location
Most users are not administrators on their work computers. If you receive a prompt for you to input admin credentials, contact your local IT support or submit a ServiceNow ticket in the Information Technology Services Portal.
Getting Help & Support
In general, disability accommodations made in the workplace may also be made for remote work.
Due to the possible sudden and short-term nature of some remote work arrangements, the university may not be able to offer certain accommodations; for example, specific furnishings.
When feasible, safe, and granted permission, an individual may transport small lightweight equipment home for the duration of their remote work arrangement (e.g. ergonomic keyboard, footstool, etc.).
It depends. In accordance with California Workers’ Compensation law, UCSB’s workers’ compensation program will apply if your exposure to COVID-19 occurred in the workplace and during the performance of your job duties.
If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath, do not report to work. Inform your supervisor and contact your medical provider.
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you should self-isolate. Immediately notify your supervisor of your diagnosis and continue following the guidance of your healthcare provider.
Any staff member who has been exposed to someone being tested for COVID-19 should seek medical treatment as soon as possible to determine if they need to be tested for the virus. An alternative work arrangement should also be discussed with your supervisor so you can self-isolate.
Will Human Resources still be available to provide assistance? If so, what is the best way to contact someone in that office?
Human Resources is closed to walk-in visitors beginning March 18, 2020. Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the HR Office is operating with reduced on-site staffing.
Contact HR staff by email, phone, or HR ServiceNow.
For additional guidance to staff and supervisors on continuing work during COVID-19 impacts, see the Guidance for Staff and Supervisors during COVID-19 Impacts.
These times may cause additional stress and/or feelings of uncertainty. Our Academic and Staff Assistance Program (ASAP) remains operational to support the health and well-being of faculty, staff, and family members.
ASAP assists with identifying, managing, and resolving work-related and personal concerns that may affect job performance and relationships. ASAP offers confidential short-term counseling, consultation, wellness workshops, and assistance with threat management.
To reach ASAP, call (805) 893-3318, submit the Contact Us form or visit the ASAP website.
The COVID-19 emergency is an unprecedented situation that is developing rapidly. Employees and supervisors have a lot of questions, so it is critical to keep lines of communication open and be patient with each other as we move forward into uncharted territory.
Employees are encouraged to contact HR with questions about working remotely, benefits, and leave. HR continuously updates its Guidance for Staff and Supervisors during COVID-19 Impacts with answers to new questions and available resources as we respond to the COVID-19 situation.
Critical updates and information are available on the COVID-19 Information for the UC Santa Barbara Campus website.