As social distancing and stay-at-home orders started to look more likely, the Human Resources department at Keck Medicine began preparing to transition a large percentage of the workforce to remote work. Lisa Joins, the executive administrator of Human Resources, provided just a few examples of the factors that needed to be considered.

“How are we creating flexibility with our staff so that they can work?” she said. “Child care is a big deal for a lot of our staff, so how do we continue to create ways that work? Do we create more flexible schedules? How do we connect staff so they can find folks that share schedules with them? How do we create more child care opportunities?”

The human resources team also made sure to reflect on new challenges that leadership would face when it came to a remote staff, and build tools to help leaders meet those challenges.

“If you’re a leader who’s never worked with a remote staff, how do you do that effectively?” Joins said. “How do you keep those workers engaged? How do you help them stay on top of their work?”

While developing and maintaining new processes to help leadership and their staff, the team has also looked for ways to evolve their own best practices to fit the times.

“We’re constantly talking about how to remain sensitive to the needs of every staff member that comes our way,” Joins explained. “There’s a lot of need to create vehicles to track data and information. We’re really evolving our workflows so that we don’t need a lot of things passed through paper channels. Everything’s going electronic.”

As far as maintaining morale during these difficult times, Joins described what has worked for her and her team: “Staying flexible, being positive, looking at the big picture that we’re helping people, being agile, and — for us as a team together — we are really working to be accessible to each other. We’re saying, this isn’t a sprint. This is a marathon.”

— Kate Faye