PSS COVID-19 Information

The Professional Staff Senate cares deeply about the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, and their families. We are committed to supporting UB's staff during this transition to working remotely and to take the necessary precautions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Immediate action items you can do at this time:

- All PSS in-person meetings for all commitees and the Executive Board are suspended. Meetings may be conducted in an online format.

- All food orders and room reservations for PSS must be canclled at this time.

- All PSS large-scale events must be cancelled or postponed at this time and attendees should be notified. Each committee chair must work with their Executive Committee liaison to make this happen.

- It is encouraged that each EC member reach out to your area senators, and in turn, they to their area members, to ask for any comments and concerns individuals may have as they pertain to individual safety at work, and/or to student and customer concerns. As you receive those comments and concerns, please share them directly with Tim Tryjankowski at tat@buffalo.edu so he can share with UB upper administration.

- For any issues that relate to work load and contractual issues, it is suggested that PSS members bring their concerns directly to UB Human Resources and the bargaining units that they themselves are a part of.

Please contact the Office of Shared Governance for any assistance needed in using the PSS list-servs to share information and/or solicit feedback.

Resources

We, the members of the Professional Staff Senate, have gathered an extensive list of resources, tips and tricks to help you during this challenging and unique situation. We have grouped these resources into categories. We hope that between UB Human Resources, UB's Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and the personal tips below from fellow employees, you will find some exceptional resources at your fingertips to get started on addressing any difficulties you may be experiencing.

Categories

Health and Wellness

Health and wellness tips

Tip: With spring weather, take an outdoor break or two during the workday. Go for walk around the block. It would be good for you to get the fresh air, potential sunshine, and time away from your work. You’ll return energized!

Tip: Set an alarm every hour to make sure you're getting up and moving. At work we’d be getting up occasionally to talk to colleagues but that doesn’t happen as much at home, so you have to “force” the issue. Also be sure to get a drink of water during that time as well.

Tip: Recreate the ‘dining out’ experience from home. Choose a night to order in from a local restaurant to support local business, set the table up nicely, play music that would match the ambiance (Italian café type music, Chinese karaoke music you often see at restaurants, etc.) and get dressed up. Make a little night out of it!

Tip: There is an at-home yoga instructor on YouTube who offers free classes: Yoga with Adriene Mishler. Adriene helps users build their at-home yoga practice. She has many targeted class options (e.g. for your back, for sleep, digestion, etc.) and multiple 30 day challenges.

Tip: Be kind to yourself and others. Get rest. Forgive yourself. Yesterday is yesterday. Every day won’t be the same. Take small steps. Take a victory lap when you accomplish something that frustrated you.

Working from home

Working from home tips

Tip: Create a plan for what you hope to achieve in a given day. If possible, have your workspace be near a window, not at the kitchen table, and not in bed!

Tip: Make a boundary between “work” and “home” – given we are in the same space, it’s hard to do that. Make it a point to log off and step away completely at lunch time. Don't immediately log off from work and then jump right into personal email, other work, etc. Try to make clear breaking points so you don’t feel like you're sitting in the same spot from sun up to sun down.

Tip: Stick to a routine. Working at home opens the door for lots of new distractions (…need to refill my water bottle…let me just tidy up the counter…oh, I forgot about this mail....and down the rabbit hole of distraction you go).

Tip: Make a good ol’ to-do list. Without the heartbeat of the office environment and people asking for things in the moment, it can be overwhelming to decide where to even start (especially when you are already overwhelmed by the sheer volume of what you know needs to be done today).

Tip: Schedule breaks. Put them on your calendar, with a pop-up reminder.

Tip: Have a candid discussion with any family members that may also be home about limiting interruptions to only those they would have called you about if you were in the office.

Tip: Check your email for contact from HR as well as their website. They are holding regularly scheduled information sessions for everything from mental health to tips for at-home work.

Tip: Making sure the area that appears in your webcam is clean/professional. We can’t change the fact that we are in a living room or bedroom or wherever, but you don’t want to appear unprofessional.

Tip: Keep an open mind – don’t think about what you “can’t” do but rather what you “can” do.

Tip: Reach out – your supervisor can provide you with resources for mind and body wellness, technical issues, etc.

Tip: Learn a new skill to keep yourself marketable – think about other things at UB that other people do that you might want to learn. An active mind is a productive mind.

Tip: Do those things that you never have time to do while working:

  • clean out, update and organize your electronic files
  • update your webpages
  • update your personal information on social media sites, etc.
  • think about your performance program – you may actually have time to invest in doing this (something we don’t have time for when it is super busy)

Information Technology

How to use dual screens when tuning in remotely to your computer

  1. Open your Downloads folder and locate the file with your UBIT that is used to access your work computer
  2. Drag the file on to your desktop
  3. Right click on the file and select Edit

4. Click on the Display Tab and select “Use all my monitors for the remote session”

image of remote desktop connection window.

5. Click on the General Tab and select Save.

image of working remotely desktop on computer.

This will now be your default action when opening the remote desktop on your computer.

Tip: If you need to send a document and do not have a scanner at home, you can take a picture of the document with your cell phone and text the picture to your e-mail address. You should be able to open the picture from your e-mail.

Other

Other tips to help you

Tip: Pets need to stick to a routine as much as kids do. While it’s nice to have the extra time, if they get too used to you being home, it could result in separation anxiety when you have to go back to the office. Keep their routine as much as possible and make sure they have time away from you.

Tip: The NFTA has suspended fares on all busses. Instead, passengers should enter through the rear door for the driver’s safety. ONLY USE when absolutely necessary.

Tip: Both Stampede and shuttle (North Campus Shuttle and Blue Line) service are operating at this time. Both on a significantly reduced schedule. The Stampede service is an ‘All-Stops’ route servicing each bus stop from Ellicott to Main. There are two buses operating so passengers can expect a bus every half hour between 6am-10pm. Please consult the web for correct schedules effective until further notice. The shuttles only have one door, so passengers still load in the same way. Passengers on the Stampede are being asked to load from the rear door to limit exposure for the driver. ONLY USE when absolutely necessary.

Tip: Cisco Jabber is available to faculty and staff who have a UB Phone to access their office number and voicemail from their workstation or Apple/Android phone. This tool offers the advantage of taking your office line with you where you are, and thus not using your mobile number or minutes.