University Human Resource Services
Telecommuting Guidelines for
These guidelines apply to all Staff employees.
Telecommuting: Working from a location other than the traditional office setting for one or more days a week
The purpose of this document is to provide guidance on telecommuting to employees and supervisors in establishing alternate work arrangements for staff whose responsibilities can be performed outside the customary/traditional office setting during part or all of the week. These guidelines address regular, on-going arrangements and are not meant for sporadic or infrequent occurrences of at-home work. A telecommuting program allows the University to comply with legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Also, telecommuting provides alternate methods of addressing budget issues such as limited space and equipment.
- Telecommuting is a voluntary work alternative that may be appropriate for some employees and some work. It does not change the terms and conditions of employment with Indiana University. The success of telecommuting is dependent on it being a mutually beneficial arrangement for the unit and for the employee. All telecommuting arrangements should be transparent to all customers. University and departmental demands remain a priority.
Characteristics of a telecommuter's job:
Not all work is suited to telecommuting. Elements of suitability include work that:
- Does not require face to face meetings
- Can be performed independently
- Does not inconvenience co-workers or customers
- Should not require more time for completion away from the regular work setting
- Some examples of work that are suited include:
- Reading and writing
- Work that can be performed independently
- Not all work is suited to telecommuting. Elements of suitability include work that:
- The work should not be dependent on face-to-face access to others or physical materials found only at the work site.
- Telecommuting is not meant as an alternative for satisfying the employee's dependent care responsibilities. Prospective telecommuters are expected to discuss expectations of telecommuting with his or her family and make arrangements that will not interfere with the completion of work assignments.
- The employee still has Workers' Compensation coverage and must follow the university's procedure for reporting job-related injuries. The Office of Risk Management and the campus Environmental Health and Safety office should be contacted to work with the employee and the supervisor to ensure a safe alternate work environment and the safety of any university equipment that may be used.
- When employees are telecommuting they are still obligated to comply with all university rules, policies and procedures. Violation of such rules, policies and procedures may result in immediate cessation of the agreement and possible discipline.
- The employee requesting a telecommuting agreement must have been employed by the university for a minimum of six (6) months with satisfactory performance reviews.
- If more requests for a telecommuting agreement are received than can be accepted, the requests will be considered in order of the employees' seniority.
An employee interested in telecommuting should present a proposal to his/her supervisor in as much detail as possible. The proposal should contain the following:
- Reason(s) for the request to telecommute
- Length of time the employee would like to work through telecommunication, including number of days per week and the days/hours the employee will be in the regular workplace
- An explanation of how necessary communications will be maintained
- Clear list of duties that will be performed during telecommuting hours
- List of equipment needed to telecommute
- Identification of potential problem areas and a plan of how to handle those problems
- A telecommuting agreement will be for a defined period of time and is subject to renewal and amendment. The agreement may be discontinued by the employee or by the supervisor. Every effort will be made by the supervisor to give a notice of ten (10) working days before the date the agreement stops. However, the supervisor may end the agreement without notice if circumstances require such action.
Near the end of the telecommuting agreement both the supervisor and the employee will evaluate the agreement and make recommendations for its continued use. All renewals and changes are subject to the approval of the supervisor.
A telecommuting agreement will contain the following:
- Telecommuter's responsibilities
- Supervisor's responsibilities
- Equipment used at offsite location
- Payment of expenses such as supplies, upkeep/repair of equipment and the set up of a home office, if necessary
All agreements should address the following areas:
- What is the length of the agreement? The first telecommuting agreement should be for no less than thirty days to allow the employee and the supervisor to determine if it is going to work or if any changes need to be made.
- How are the employee and the supervisor are going to communicate? Formally address exactly how the employee and supervisor are going to communicate, including method(s) used and number of times per week as a minimum. The communication arrangements should be set more formally in the beginning to allow the supervisor to determine if telecommuting will work.
- How meetings are going to be addressed, including which meetings the employee will attend and which the employee may telecommute?
- How to address telecommuting time not worked for any reason beyond the control of the employee? Example: computer server down.
- How will time off be addressed? This includes the process for requesting and documenting time off.
- How workstations are to be used, i.e. shared workstations and/or office accommodations when working on site?
- How the employee's performance is to be evaluated?
- How are hours of work recorded to ensure compliance with the record keeping and overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act?
- How is the safety and security of sensitive data to be maintained?
- Before signing the telecommuting agreement, the supervisor should ensure the employee understands all of the obligations as stated in the agreement.
- A telecommuting agreement will contain the following:
- Copies of the signed agreement are to be distributed to the employee, the supervisor and the campus human resources office.
Develop and execute agreement.
- Determine what positions contain characteristics that are suitable for telecommuting.
- Set standards for performance.
- Determine the length of the agreement
- Distribute to the employee, as well as the campus human resources office.
- Receive and review work.
- Verify, confirm or otherwise certify the accuracy of the time worked.
- Evaluate effectiveness of the arrangement including communications.
- Determine if the agreement will be extended or ended and execute new or revised agreement if necessary.