Our administrative staff are doing a great job dealing with the coronavirus situation
It’s been a week since the most dramatic development yet in the coronavirus crisis here in Denmark: the prime minister’s press conference last Wednesday, when she shut down large parts of our society – including educational institutions – and sent non-critical public sector employees home, initially for a period of fourteen days.
I’d like to say to all administrative employees that I’m deeply impressed by the flexibility and resilience you have demonstrated in this unprecedented situation. I’d like to thank everyone at the administrative centres and the administrative divisions from the bottom of my heart.
For example, it’s been fantastic to witness the enormous efforts IT and studies administration have been making to establish remote teaching and learning as quickly as possible to enable academic staff and and students to continue teaching and learning.
And HR staff have also been going the extra mile; you’ve been handling questions you’ve never dealt with before, for example from international researchers. Administrative staff are also still making sure that our buildings are safe and secure even though they’re closed, for example by doing security rounds.
In relation to accounts and university finances, we have also been continuing to perform our routine follow-up activities – although in a somewhat modified form. And finally, research and external relations staff are still working on contracts and research funding applications. In this connection, finding a way of doing digital signatures has become relevant.
It makes me proud to see how we’ve continued to support our academic staff with such professionalism – even under such difficult circumstances. My thanks go out to all administrative employees for all the hard work you have been putting in.
In terms of what the future might bring, we know we’ll be working from home through 27 March. And the rector and I both have a strong feeling that this period may well be extended – and that we may not see each other face-to-face until after the Easter break.
Until the authorities assess that it’s safe for us to return to the university for work, I think it’s important that we all keep trying to do our jobs as normally as possible.
As a rule, we will not force employees to take time off in lieu during this period at AU, which may happen in other sectors. But there may be strong arguments in favour of doing so for you personally. If this is the case, you should notify your immediate supervisor in accordance with the usual procedure.
In the same way, if you have planned to take a holiday during this period, as a rule, you should take your holiday. For my part, this means that I’m in the process of figuring out what I’m going to spend my Easter holiday doing because the travel bureau has cancelled my planned hike in Spain.
Finally – and this can’t be said too many times – I encourage all employees to keep a close eye on AU’s coronavirus site for updates on the situation.
It’s also especially crucial that you follow the advice coming from the Danish Health authority. As we start seeing many more people infected by the virus, this will only become increasingly important.
Take really good care of your loved ones and yourselves.