26 March 20

Dear members of Synod staff

As the mornings become cooler, the bulbs emerge from the earth and the end of daylight saving time is insight, we are reminded that we are in a new season. As you begin this new working day I am wondering how ‘working remotely’ is going for you? Do you have clarity about you daily working goals? Who will you talk to today? What meetings are planned? Have you established a good work life balance in your new space? How are you sleeping? Are you getting enough rest and exercise? Have you sent that photo of your new work space to Wayne yet?

Thank you for all you are doing to assist the Synod to manage well the logistics in this unprecedented time. It is our primary goal to keep staff and their families safe and well. We are working hard to keep as many people set up for work at home as we can. You might be starting to wonder how and when the financial pressures on the organisation are going to ‘bite’. It is true that for some teams, that will be a greater issues than for others. However we are trying to share the load across the organisation. This means further encouragement for you to be open to picking up some new tasks and to be in regular contact with your managers about the many and varied tasks you are being asked to complete.

We are also conscious that you will be receiving daily updates from the government about how they are seeking to manage the spread of COVID-19. As an organisation we have been anticipating greater restrictions on movement and gathering in groups. Our rostering of staff in and out of the Synod Office, at the Brooklyn Park Campus and at our Venues, has enabled us to test our systems and ensure that as many people as possible are set up and ready. Again, thank you for your cooperation and help. I suspect we have all learnt a new skill or two along the way.

The Crisis Management Team met again yesterday. We now know that it is time to further restrict staff movement. From Monday 30th March only designated skeleton staff will be able to work in our office spaces. From Monday you will need the approval of your Executive Officer to be in the office. Only designated staff will be able to access the office. Please be in contact with your manager to get confirmation of any requests to be in the office or when seeking approval to be in the office.

Below are some protocols that we are asking you to comply with. We anticipate there may be further modifications.  Today and tomorrow provide opportunities for you to collect from the office anything you might need in order to transition to working remotely full time for the next month or so. The protocols reflect our primary goals to keep you and your family as safe and well as we can and to work together as an organisation to manage the work load during this time of difference.

I will continue to be in touch in coming days and we encourage you to keep an eye on the website for regular updates.

May God continue to bless you and your family during this time.

Protocols for access to UC sites (212 Pirie St, Brooklyn Park and Venues Sites) from Monday 30th

From Monday 30th March you will need the approval of your Executive Officer to be in the office. Please be in contact with your manager for details. 

Working from Home Protocols

  • All UC policies and procedures must continue to be complied with at all times
  • All Uniting Church work is to be worked on within VM Ware (with the exception of calls through MS teams which should be done directly from your browser on your device) and saved onto our servers. No work or documents are to be saved onto your local drives unless you have a UC owned and issued laptop

General Protocols

  • Make sure there is more than one reliable way to contact emergency services, your manager or to get other help;
  • Have a first aid kit;
  • Have equipment at hand to put out a small fire. This may be a fire blanket or an appropriate fire extinguisher;
  • If possible, have a Residual Current Device (RCD) installed which limits the chance of electric shock;
  • As far as possible, try to limit trip hazards such as additional leads for device chargers etc;
  • We also advise you to contact your Home and Contents insurance provider to let them know you are working from home, as some policies require this to be specified
  • Keep in regular contact with your manager and other members of your team.
  • Try to maintain regular work patterns consistent with when you would be in the office (eg regular working hours and lunchbreaks etc.)  This will also help you to avoid snacking more than usual!
  • Take walk in the fresh air a lunchtime (always maintaining physical distancing)
  • Speak to your manager if you have any concerns
  • Protect all UC physical information as you would electronic information. Any paper documents / files begin taken from the office, must be approved by the EO to ensure we comply with privacy requirements.
  • Ensure that your place of work at home is safe, free from distractions, clean and healthy
  • Let your manager know if you are unwell or unable to work due to carer responsibilities
  • If you need to leave your home based workplace for any reason during usual work hours, please let your manager know where you are going and when you will be back. We still need to be able to care for our staff and ensure they are safe at all times during normal work hours.

Safe working environment

  • Employees must ensure the home based work site is a safe area to work;
    - systems of work undertaken in the home based work site are safe;
    - any incidents should be reported to WHS as if you were in the office
  • Employees must ensure they have a suitable workstation, chair and IT related equipment and forward a photograph of the area containing these to the WHS coordinator.
  • Require that all personnel use appropriate safe transport of IT equipment (packing, transport, setup)
  • Use appropriate lifting and handling techniques and equipment when transporting large equipment or numbers of files and documents.  Wheeled hand luggage cases can be good for this.


  • No additional computing items are to be taken home without first seeking permission from IT&T
  • All loan equipment is for use by Uniting Church SA staff only
  • All loan equipment much be secured appropriately
  • IT&T have spare headsets available should you require one
  • Report any damage to IT equipment to your manager and the IT Manager ASAP
  • Seek prior approval for the purchase of any equipment to assist with undertaking work-related tasks and assisting with technological communications and understand that such purchases remain the property of the Uniting Church
  • You will need to return all equipment and resources to UC in good working once we return to the workplace or leave employment of the UC


  • When you’re working from home ensure you bind MXIE to the “Internal Softphone” and setup a headset to ensure good call quality. Make a test call from your mobile to be sure this works correctly!

MS Teams

  • Ensure you have a version of MS Teams installed on something other than your VMware Horizon desktop. Video and Audio calls via VMWare Horizon will be suboptimal. Options for voice / video calls are mobile phones, tablets or laptops.
  • Start MS Teams each time you login (even inside VMware Horizon Desktops for Chat and alerts etc.)
  • Keep Teams open and chat with co-workers, send messages the same way you'd have normal office conversations and banter so you don't become isolated
  • You can use Teams for both voice and video calls (and if you have this installed on your mobile you can even receive these on the go). If you are doing a video call make sure you have a look at the video your sending to make sure this is presenting a flattering image!
  • Don’t forget to mute your microphone in larger meetings
  • Use your status to show if you are at your desk or not but don’t be tied to these (you are allowed to leave your desk at home same as you are at work)


  • Be vigilant with your cyber security... You may be in your home environment but don't let your guard down and fall for any scams / Covid-19 click bait.