March 13, 2020: Phone Protocols Under Telework Environment from Karen Jarrell, Human Resource Manager / Business Partner

Dear UMSON Department Heads,

As part of our continuity of operations planning for the COVID-19 outbreak, we are preparing for telework School-wide, beginning tomorrow, March 14. While teleworking, we need to continue to respond to phone calls and voicemails in a timely manner. To provide the necessary level of service, please adhere to the following:

  • Please see the email communication from Matt Rietschel regarding the new UMB voicemail system that will be activated for all UMSON phones on Tuesday, March 17.
  • With this new system, all voicemails left on the phone assigned to you will automatically arrive in your email inbox.
  • You will need to set up a custom greeting and a PIN in the new system. Directions to do this are included in Matt’s email. Note that you will be unable to hear this new custom greeting or use your PIN until the system is activated on March 17.
  • Included in Matt’s email are instructions on how to access voicemails from the old system. Note that voicemails in the old system will only be available for 30 days and will then be permanently deleted.
  • Voicemails in the new Unity system will be available for only 30 days; however, copies will remain in your email inbox until you delete.

Telework Phone Expectations:

  • Phone calls should be answered within normal business hours. To facilitate this, TODAY before you leave the office, you can set calls to be forwarded as you have done historically (note that this is dependent on the phone model you have). As of Tuesday, March 17, you will have to reset call forwarding in the new system; directions for doing so are available here. If you are unable to access the webpage or the system or if you encounter an issue, email
  • All calls and voicemails should be responded to within one business day.
  • Departments with general lines (e.g. those not assigned to an individual employee) will need to develop their own plans for monitoring and responding to incoming calls and voicemails to those lines in a timely manner.
  • For voicemails, if you do not forward calls, the following message is recommended:
    Hello, you have reached “insert individual or department name.” I/we am/are sorry I/we am/are unavailable to take your call at this time. The University of Maryland, Baltimore has changed its operations in response to the Coronavirus, which may impact response times. Please leave your name, return phone number, and a brief message and I/we will return your call within one business day.
  • All efforts should be made to adhere as much as possible to normal business phone protocols and expectations.

Karen Jarrell
Human Resource Manager / Business Partner