David Agosti

How do trees join online meetings?
They log in.

Sorry, that's all I've got this month, but, speaking of meetings...

APSA has regular meetings with the Human Resources department. In a June meeting, we brought forward some of the COVID work concerns that APSA members articulated in our survey. In a July meeting, we brought forward the fact that many, many APSA members were working “120%” due to additional duties, new duties, or complications brought on by COVID.

Strangely, at that same meeting, the University raised the idea of ensuring APSA members had enough work. We reinforced our members' increased workload from the survey information we provided to the University a month previously. After some discussion, we realized that the University was hearing things about other employees, not necessarily APSA employees, and assuming that all employees were in the same situation.

Keep your immediate supervisor informed (also known as – “nobody’s psychic”).

People don’t know you’re busy unless you tell them, and it’s important that you tell them.

If you’re feeling burned out, make sure people know. If you’ve taken on additional duties, make sure people know. If new COVID work assignments will impact the delivery of old “regular” work assignments, make sure people know. Lacking staff? Make sure people know (this one is more difficult given the University’s current financial focus).

For those of you who have taken the APSA professional development course Managing Up, now is the opportunity to use some of those skills (and we’ll be sure to offer the course again once COVID rules allow us).

Look at career advancement or job satisfaction.

Is there a skill you have that you’ve never had a chance to use at work? And might be able to assist with the workload of your supervisor or colleague? A new duty that you want to do that would provide you with more job satisfaction? An opportunity to make your work environment or the University as a whole a better place?

Now is the time to bring those ideas forward. There’s an adage of “looking for opportunity in a crisis,” and this is your chance to do just that. It never hurts to ask, and sometimes you’re reminding/informing people of skills they never knew you had (and help them or the University accomplish things no one else has the time or skills to do).

Use your administrative skills.

In other words: time management and delegation.

If you have staff, now is the opportunity for you to give them a chance to demonstrate any additional skills they may have. To provide them with additional job satisfaction and to allow yourself to focus on the more important aspects of your job without having things “fall off your desk”.

From all the feedback we’ve received, your workloads are rising during COVID. So take this opportunity to review the most important aspects of your role (consult with your supervisor if necessary) and determine what you should delegate, what you should keep, and what may need to be re-evaluated.

I’ll end by referencing back to last month’s article. Everything mentioned there — take care of your mental health, pay attention to your workload, keep track of your hours — relates back to what I’ve talked about today.

It’s all about finding that balance during these crazy COVID times and maybe, just maybe, managing to improve your work life at the same time.