Leading through COVID-19

Human Resources has created this toolbox for the current situation that impacts managers across the University of Ottawa.

Let us combine our efforts, use our complementary skills and maintain dialogue to work together!


(Last updated: April 23, 2020)

Leading Virtual Teams

Email and Meeting Etiquette

Why are email and meeting etiquettes important in times of a pandemic?

Covid-19 has created a new era where we rely on email and teams meetings to communicate with our colleagues. While working remotely, good email and meeting practices are important for efficient communication and cohesion within a team.


What are the best practices for email?

  • Be sympathetic and more compassionate in emails to colleagues, remember that people might feel worries and fearful about the world
  • Get to the point, use bullet points when sending long emails
  • Include a clear and concise subject line
  • Add kind sign off phrases such as "warm regards" , "take care", or " I look forward to your reply at your leisure"

What are the best practices for meetings?

  • Ask yourself, is this meeting necessary ? Can your outcome be achieved through MS teams, email, or a shared fi
  • Give people the option to have the camera on or just audio: for many reasons it may not be possible for them to be on video ( ex: work environment , lack of strong internet, don't feel comfortable)
  • Prepare for meetings: send agendas beforehand
  • Assign meeting roles to participant to make it more effective and organized
  • Use interactive activities such as google docs, MS teams, or sharing your screen 

What are the practices to avoid

  • Keep meetings under one hour, or if needed ensure to include wellbeing breaks part of the agenda where participants have time to stretch, washroom break , and reset before the next commitment
  • Refrain from using anxiety inducing phrases such as " stay safe" in emails, we are unaware of people's situation
  • Refrain from using humor in emails unless you know th person
  • Avoid sending emails after work hours


Learn about technology, security, privacy and information management
  • Get all information relating to Microsoft Teams, Outlook, One Drive, Liquid files, security guidelines, and more by visiting the website: uOttawa IT - Working remotely.
  • Adopting good practices relating to the management of confidential and personal information. NOTE: Refer to the 8 tips found under "Information Management and Privacy Special Considerations" as well as the ‘End of Day Checklist when working from a computer or personal device’
  • Effectively manage, store, share and disseminate information using best practices in information management. Refer to the toolbox on the right of the website.


Distance learning opportunities for your employees

Develop your Resilience

What is Resilience?

Resilience is an ability to cope with problems and setbacks

        - Horn SR, Feder A., 2018

Some common factors for building resilience include:

  • a positive view of your strengths and abilities
  • the capacity to make realistic plans and take steps to carry them out
  • the ability to manage strong feelings and impulses
  • a sense of purpose and long term focus
  • a social support network
Develop your Daily Resilience

First, you will find suggestions from Korn Ferry's Leadership Architect®, including the one that refers to resilience.  Leadership Architect is the result of many years of research.

Second, you will find additional resources from various institutions to help you build your resilience on a daily basis.

*External resources are not produced by uOttawa and uOttawa is not responsible for the content. Links are intended to educate but not to replace uOttawa policies or procedures.

Taking care of yourself and your employees

If you feel perturbed and anxious, you are not alone. Remember that vulnerability and being honest about not having all the answers during difficult times can be considered a strength. Remember that emotional responses are normal reactions to unusual, unprecedented and traumatic events.

It is important to remember to take care of yourself and your employees and try to maintain good mental and physical health throughout this ongoing situation. Here are some steps to help you manage your well-being and that of your teams during this exceptional period.


Identify your common stressors.
Overcome stress!
Managing Boundaries

Continue to Grow and Apply Your Leadership Skills

As needs continue to evolve during this exceptional situation of COVID-19 and of telework, stress is present during this period, you will find tools that you may find useful in certain situations, such as managing interpersonal conflict . The resources are short (9min or less).

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