IT virtual Town Hall July 31 recap

August 6, 2020

John opened the Town Hall by remarking on an increased number of individuals returning to campus as academic programs are resuming in a few short weeks. He shared that, when classes resume, the University is planning on longer class days to accomodate fewer classrooms, and that this has potential impact for Distributed Support Providers, Classroom Support, and Help Desk teams. 

He also encouraged everyone to review COVID-19 Health and Safety guidance, as it is now very comprehensive. 

He discussed the importance of the One IT organizational priority as it is foundational to the collaborations taking place among multiple IT teams, Yale Health, and others. John also shared that the focus on the Service Quality organizational priority has set IT up for a high level of reliability and the ability to pivot, as needed.

John restated that he expects only about 20% of all IT staff to return to campus this fall. He emphasized that “using your judgement and work with your supervisor to sort out options. Thank you to those that continue to work at home and try to make it work for the safety of those who must return.”

The following questions, and John Barden’s answers, were taken from the July 17 virtual IT Town Hall meeting. This includes questions submitted via the Ask John survey.

Is there a need for volunteers?

Right now there is no general call for support like that, but we will continue to assess the need for volunteers.

How can we be sure that contractors are remaining safe and getting tested?

We’ve shared expectations; they are the same as with staff. If you see behavior otherwise, please make sure you are calling it out to the individual if you are comfortable, or by reporting it to the hotline.

For staff working remotely, the Parking website indicates parking fees will resume on September 1. Is the parking office aware that many ITS staff are continuing to work from home? Should people be calling them directly?

*New information was posted since this question was asked in the town hall. Please refer to the Parking webpage for more details. However, as of August 6, guidance is as follows, “For those parking in Yale lots, parking fees are suspended until further notice.” 

Can I return to my office to pickup my equipment?

I have no issue for people who want to sign up for slots if they’ve missed the opportunity early to schedule a timeslot to pickup their [computer] equipment.

There are rumors of targeting 20% of staff getting back to campus this fall. ITS CIO directs are trying to get additional staff and managers back on campus because they prefer it, maybe not out of necessity. Can you share anything you know about this?

I haven’t heard anything along those lines. I do expect 15 - 20% of our team back as the academic restart begins. The restart is is putting a ton of incremental pressure on faculty and students who really need on campus support as the semester kicks off.

Is leadership aware/concerned with the validity of fake negative non-Yale Tests?

There are multiple safety nets in place at this point. Only the pre-arrival test is being handled in an non-Yale controlled environment. 

Regarding picking up equipment, is it okay to take a chair home? Is this a possibility or not?

I’m hesitant because moving furniture is another step up with more potential for injury and logistical challenges. That might not be the right decision at this point. I prefer to avoid that, but continue to work with HR for their guidance. 

*Brenda Naegel contributed that Environmental Health and Safety has advisors to give ergonomic suggestions to people working from home. 

Does the IT Leadership Team plan on being part of the CCI conversation?

I hope that people see that we are actively interested and engaged. If there are concerns, I’d love to hear more.

When do you expect we will hear the announcement on when staff members will know when they have to come back [to campus] or not?

As we restart, we are asking teams to determine who needs to be back. We are likely to continue that model of assessment until the end of the year. I don’t think we will announce any kind of general recall in the near future. I expect I will be able to give you a month or possibly two months notice before anything like that might occur.

If there is going to be continued remote work, could there be a possible stipend to purchase things?

There is a HR led university-wide committee working on these questions; we hope to have better guidelines about this in the next few weeks.

We’ve been working remotely for many months; is there any talk about hiring remote employees?

Only in concept. Two observations: It’s pretty obvious that many of you are quite effective at working remotely and also likely that we will move toward at least a portion of us having the option to working remotely as part of the norm. That doesn’t mean departmentally or in a wholesale way. If the opportunity makes sense to you, your supervisor, and Yale, there is a much higher possibility of us supporting those agreements than we have in the past.

Some of our peers are contemplating a more aggressive work from home stance than we are right now. I would expect that we will be in this situation temporarily for a bit longer.

Any talk for parents working from home if their kids don’t go back [to school]?

Lots of talk; no answers yet. For those who juggle, thank you for all you are doing - - I know it’s very hard and very complicated.

John closed the Town Hall with a reminder about staff spirt week and expressed hope that everyone could join us virtually for some great activities and fun, and that he appreciated the engagement.

Remember, you can submit time-sensitive “Ask John” questions through the bi-weekly virtual IT Town Hall meetings. Other questions submitted through Ask John will be held for future editions or asked at an upcoming meeting. Note: Questions previously answered in earlier Virtual IT Town Halls will not be republished unless new information is available.

The next IT Virtual Town Hall will be from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on August 14, 2020.