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Employer Resource Guide

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Supervision While Working Remotely 

Specific to co-op students - how to manage them and keep them engaged 

Four essential tips for supervising students remotely while keeping connected.  

  1. Communication 
  2. Organization 
  3. Preparation 
  4. Empathy 

The COPE strategy helps keep working students on track and ensures that they can contribute to their team in a meaningful way. 

Tools and techniques to keep everyone up to date: 

  • Slack: A professional ‘chat room’ designed to replace email - featuring group and private discussions to share files and information. 
  • MS Teams: Group chat and collaboration software that can host audio, video and web conferences. 
  • Zoom: Host meetings, video webinars, conference rooms and more on an easy cloud-based platform. 
  • MS 365: A combination of Microsoft Office, Outlook and more in an online collaborative platform. 
  • Google Drive: A cloud-based file storage and synchronization service for caching presentations, documents, videos and more. 

How to Motivate Your Team Through Challenging Times 

“If you want your teams to be engaged in their work, you have to make their work engaging. The most powerful way to do this is to give people the opportunity to experiment and solve problems that really matter.”  

Learn more on how to motivate a team through challenging times » 


How to Manage Effective Online Meetings 

Managing an effective online meeting or a conference call is an art - not a science. While how-to articles abound, here’s one from the Harvard Business Review with several of our favourite tips » 


Training and Onboarding Best Practices while working remotely 

Onboarding Remote Employees Successfully 

Creating a safe and welcoming space where new remote employees feel comfortable can be a challenge. If you’re in need of some onboarding advice, here’s a piece filled with tips to assist you with your next remote hire »

Tips for helping teams stay connected beyond the walls of the workplace  

Without the daily interactions at the workplace: the lunch breaks, the quick check-ins, the hellos and the bye-byes, here’s how you can continue to foster that connectivity: (via Think With Google) » 

Coming together while apart 

There’s a large difference between “orientation” and “onboarding.” Onboarding is an ongoing process that requires consistent practices to promote a long-term, healthy workplace environment. Here is a link to some crucial pillars towards implementing onboarding practices remotely » Included is a free “Virtual Onboarding Guide,” along with additional resources for Non-Profit and Charitable Sectors. 

Create a sense of belonging 

Becca Van Nederynen, head of People Operations at Help Scout, found that a lot of new remote employees felt a sense of impostor syndrome ». They felt isolated and didn't know where to turn for feedback, questions, or checking in. Van Nederynen talks about how remote work faces the challenge of replacing the casual smiles and unconscious sense of belonging that exists in a physical office. 

To combat this loneliness, OutreachPete » adds all new employees to a Slack channel where they provide new hire instructional materials, then encourage collaboration amongst new hires to complete the tasks. 

Assign either a mentor or a peer "orientation buddy" who they can go to with any questions and grow and learn together. In fact, buddy programs boost new hire proficiency ». 

Add a personal touch: consider sending them a “care package” to welcome them aboard.  


Equity, Diversity and Inclusion  

How remote workplaces affect EDI 

Pandemics can affect those most vulnerable in disproportionate and particular ways. We bring your attention to the impact of COVID-19 on diverse populations including Indigenous communities, members of lower socio-economic groups, those who are historically, systemically, and persistently marginalized, and those who are otherwise vulnerable. 

Here's a few ways that you can help to mitigate it: 

  • Connectivity and devices
    Ask the student about their access to technology from home. If there are limitations, be open to workarounds (for example, a weak wifi connection provides for a poor video call experience; consider removing video-first policies and allow a student to join in using audio only). Ask students what they’d need to more fully participate – they may just take the guesswork out of it for you and tell you. 
     
  • Technological aptitudes
    Students have different levels of technical skills and when onboarding a student, try providing them with the essential training videos for whichever programs/software they will be using. For example, LinkedIn Learning has a selection of courses on “succeeding at remote work” which cover the basics of Excel, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc. https://www.linkedin.com/learning/ »
  • Accessible meetings
    Not all students will have wi-fi access or laptop access. Dial-in options are a great way to accommodate students in these situations. 
     
  • Visual impairments
    Alongside dial-in options, presentations with large fonts and high contrast make it easier for the visually impaired to adjust. When presenting, make a note to verbally explain what is on the screen, whether it be text or images.  
  • Diversity: 
    Where possible, consider the diverse backgrounds that co-op students may be coming from: not all will have access to a space to work other than their bedroom, and some still may share that space with siblings, relatives, or others. Allow for flexibility in this.  
  • Effects of COVID-19: 
    Be mindful of the fact that students may be coping with the illness of a parent, sibling, family member, or roommate. Because of COVID-19, some students may face economic disaster, residence eviction, unemployment, or death of a relative. Make time to check in with them to see how they’re doing; they may not disclose information like this unprompted during the workday.  
  • Awareness of family commitments: 
    Some co-op students must support their parents or could be parents themselves, with children of their own to take care of. It's important to have conversations with students about whether their attention might be divided and which projects they can be prioritizing if that is the case. 
     

Resources: 


Funding and Financial Resources 

  • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy — To help employers keep and return workers to their payroll, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would cover 75% of salaries for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. Employers of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy would be eligible with the exception of public sector entities. Learn more.
     
  • The Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) — Provides employers with wage subsidies of up to $7,000 per Canadian student they hire. Learn more.    
  • Work-Sharing Agreements — The Government of Canada has introduced temporary special measures that extend the maximum duration from 38 weeks to 76 weeks. Learn more

Taking care of ourselves and others during COVID-19 

Mental health 

Professor Steve Joordans has created a course on managing mental health during COVID-19 to help people understand and process anxiety and the effects of isolation. It’s filled with mental health tips, ideas for distraction, and ways to stay productive while feeling accomplished during this time. You can access it here »

Physical health 

UTSC Athletics and Recreation – How to Stay Active at Home: 


Productivity  

Maximize productivity and optimize working remotely for you and your team. Here's a set of online courses that’ll take less than 15 minutes to go through ». and leave you with the skills to effectively work remotely. 


University of Toronto Resources

Research that’s happening, celebrating the academic brilliance

U of T researchers mobilize resources to produce equipment for health-care workers »
U of T researchers are launching “a project to co-ordinate and deploy equipment from across the University of Toronto to produce medical supplies like masks, face shields and ventilators for health-care workers on the front lines of COVID-19.” They’re using U of T resources like 3D printers and other tools to create equipment that meets health and safety standards that will be given to health-care facilities. 

Working from home resource (tips) from UofT

5 Tips for working from home »

U of T researchers launch ICU training resource: “an educational website for non-intensive care clinicians who may have to work in critical care units during the COVID-19 pandemic.”