Considerations for Supervisors Supporting Telework

Telework works best when employees and supervisors communicate clearly about expectations. The following Technology Checklist  will help you establish a foundation for effective teamwork, continued productivity, and service to the Kent State community.

Review technology needs and resources. 
Identify technology tools staff use in their daily work and determine whether the resources will be accessible when working from home. Also, ensure employees know how to access the appropriate technical support should they need assistance. Use the Technology Checklist to work through these considerations. 

  • Confirm that employees know how to set up call forwarding and how to access their voicemail from home. 
  • Determine which platform(s) you will use to communicate as a team, clarify expectations for online availability and confirm everyone has access to the technology tool(s) and support resources. Kent State employees have free access to many resources to support off-site work at www.kent.edu/keeponworking.

Review work schedules. 
Telework can be confused with flex work. Be clear about your expectations with employees for maintaining their current work schedule. The sample Telework Plan and Agreement Form, is an optional tool you can use for guidance.

  • The employee is expected to remain accessible during work hours to ensure all essential responsibilities are accomplished, this includes any applicable rotating of in-office staff, when appropriate, that may be required to meet the operational needs of the university.

Draft a work plan. 
Review the questions below with staff and work through answers together. 

  • What routine responsibilities/tasks cannot be fulfilled while working remotely and how will it impact operations or other people? What are ways to reduce the impacts?  
  • What routine responsibilities/tasks require regular communication and collaboration with others? Proactively contact each other to confirm how you will communicate while everyone is working remotely.  
  • Oftentimes employees experience fewer interruptions while teleworking. Are there any special projects or tasks that you can advance while working remotely?  
  • What professional development (Beyond Compliance, I4E, Lean, SHRM, etc.) can be explored to enhance skills, improve effectiveness and efficiency? Are there Employee Wellness webinars or offerings available on Blackboard that I can use to improve stress relief, mindfulness, or resilience building? Are there IMPACT EAP resources I can use to support added financial or mental health challenges that may be effecting me during this time?
  • What annual performance evaluations or goals can I be working on as part of my remote work?
  • What events or meetings are scheduled during the time in which the temporary telework arrangement is in place? Will they be postponed or canceled, or will they take place using technology? What follow-up needs to occur due to postponements or cancellations?

Make a communication and accountability plan. 
Supervisors should tell employees how often they should send updates on work plan progress and what those updates should include. Supervisors should also communicate how quickly they expect the employee to respond while teleworking and the best ways for the employee to contact the supervisor while working remotely. Current performance standards are expected to be maintained by employees. 

  • If you normally make daily rounds to visit employees at their desks, you can give them a call during this period. Maintain team meetings and one-to-one check-ins, altering the schedule if needed to accommodate any alternative schedules that have been approved. 
  • Conduct regular check-ins. Start each workday with a phone, video or instant message chat. Your employees will be eager for connection and information during the disruption and the structure will help everyone create a positive routine. Every other day may be fine, so long as you are in contact frequently enough that your employees are in sync with you and/or with one another.

Be positive. 
A positive attitude toward teleworking and a willingness to trust employees to telework effectively is key to making such arrangements successful and productive. Teleworking presents an opportunity for supervisors and managers to become better in their role. Instead of focusing only on how many hours your employees are working, re-emphasize a focus on measuring results and reaching objectives—regardless of work arrangement. The employee’s completed work product is the indicator of success, rather than direct observation. By focusing on the employee’s work product, telemanagers will improve their organizational abilities and their own skill in managing by objectives.


Debrief after normal operations resume. 
Employees and supervisors should review work plans when work returns to normal, assess progress on the employee’s work plan and prioritize any unresolved or new work that resulted from temporary operational disruption.


Need help? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the HR Employee Wellness Team as we continue working remotely. You can reach any member of our team at wellness@kent.edu or by dialing 330-672-7505 or 330-672-0392 with questions. We will also continue to send weekly updates to faculty and staff on our “virtual” offerings to promote health and wellbeing during this time.

Back to Remotely Teleworking during COVID-19