Teleworking Resources

              Sample Teleworking Policy

Teleworking, or telecommuting, is the concept of working from home or another location on a full or part-time basis.  Teleworking is not a formal, universal employee benefit. Although not all jobs can be performed satisfactorily from other locations, the employer recognizes that, in some cases, telecommuting arrangements can provide a mutually beneficial option for both employer and employees. The employer has the right to refuse to make teleworking an option to an employee and to terminate a teleworking arrangement at any time. 

The employer’s policies for teleworking are as follows:

 Eligibility

An employee will be deemed an eligible teleworker if they have:

  • Worked for the employer past the initial probationary period.
  • Have a job suitable for teleworking.
  • Possess good time management and organizational skills.
  • Be self-motivated, self-reliant and disciplined.
  • Received positive performance reviews.
  • Have the support and recommendation of their supervisor to telework.
  • Read, agreed to and signed the employer’s teleworking agreement.

Compensation and Work Hours

  • The employee’s compensation, benefits, work status and work responsibilities will not change due to participation in the teleworking program.
  • The amount of time the employee is expected to work per day or pay period will not change as a result of participation in the teleworking program.  The workweek for all full-time regular employees is 40 hours, divided into five days, Monday through Friday, with employees scheduled to work eight hours per day.

Equipment/Tools

  • The employer is not required to provide telecommuting employees with equipment or office furnishings for their home offices. However, the employer may provide specific tools/equipment for the employee to perform his/her current duties.  This may include computer hardware, computer software, phone lines, email, voice-mail, connectivity to host applications, and other applicable equipment as deemed necessary.
  • The use of equipment, software, data supplies and furniture when provided by the employer for use at the remote work location is limited to authorized persons and for work purposes only. 
  • The employer will provide for repairs to its own equipment.  When the employee uses her/his own equipment, the employee is responsible for maintenance and repair of equipment.
  • Office supplies will be provided by the employer as needed.  Out-of-pocket expenses for other supplies will not be reimbursed unless by prior approval of the employee’s manager.

 Workspace

  • The employee shall designate a workspace within the remote work location for placement and installation of equipment to be used while teleworking.  The employee shall maintain this workspace in a safe condition, free from hazards and other dangers to the employee and equipment. 
  • Any employer materials taken home should be kept in the designated work area at home and not be made accessible to others.

 Communication

  • Employees must be available by phone and email during core hours.  Participants must still be available for staff meetings, and other meetings deemed necessary by the employer.
  • Except for extraordinary circumstances, employer normally will provide at least 24 hours' notice for such events.
  • The employer will pay work-related voice and data communication charges.

 Dependent Care

  • Teleworking is not a substitute for dependent care. Employees must arrange for childcare or adultcare during their work hours unless specified or agreed to previously.
  • Teleworking can not be used in place of personal time off or vacation time off 

 Worker’s Compensation

  • During work hours and while performing work functions in the designated work area of the home, telecommuters are covered by worker’s compensation.

 Liability

  • The employee’s home workspace will be considered an extension of the employer’s workspace.  Therefore, the employer will continue to be liable for job-related accidents that occur in the employee’s home workspace during the employee’s working hours.
  • The employer will only be liable for injuries or illnesses that occur during the employee’s agreed-upon work hours.  The employee’s at-home work hours will conform to a schedule agreed upon by the employee and his or her supervisor.  If such a schedule has not been agreed upon, the employee’s work hours will be assumed to be the same as before the employee began teleworking.
  •  The employer assumes no liability for injuries occurring in the employee’s home workspace outside the agreed-upon work hours.
  • The employer is not liable for loss, destruction, or injury that may occur in or to the employee’s home.  This includes family members, visitors, or others that may become injured within or around the employee’s home.

Taxes

  • It will be the employee’s responsibility to determine any income tax implications of maintaining a home office area.  The employer will not provide tax guidance nor will the company assume any additional tax liabilities.  Employees are encouraged to consult with a qualified tax professional to discuss income tax implications.

 Evaluation

  • While employees and supervisors have the freedom to develop arrangements tailored to employee and departmental needs, employees must be able to carry out the same duties, assignments, and other work obligations at their home office as they do when working on employer’s location.
  • The employee shall agree to participate in all studies, inquiries, reports and analyses relating to this program.
  • The employee remains obligated to comply with all employer’s rules, practices and instructions.

               Teleworking Tips for Managers

The majority of the time, teleworking tips are developed for the employee.  But it takes special skills to manage teleworkers.  The following are some tips to assist the manager, who may for first time, be overseeing a teleworking program. 

  • Evaluate how much guidance your staff requires.  Will it be similar to the oversight that you have in the office? Or will more (or less) oversight be needed?  What tasks can they do without supervision? Are there certain tasks that will need assistance?
  • Make sure your employees have good initial training.  While that certainly didn’t happen when this all began, now is the time to provide additional training for your employees. Establish a more formal teleworking policy based on what has been successful during this “trial” period.
  • Set clear plans for your employees on how tasks will be accomplished.  Have timetables for the completion of deliverables, delegate tasks when warranted, give positive or negative performance feedback, and assess programs in order to determine what is and what is not working.
  • Be sure your employees have what they need to do their job at home.  Do they have the right technology? Do they have the office supplies and materials at hand?
  • Set clear performance standards and determine the performance results expected.  Reward your staff for productivity, not just activity.  Don’t make your staff do “busy work”.
  • Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. Clarify expectations continuously – both orally and in writing.  Establish regular communication channels and reporting periods, such as weekly written summaries of activities or phone call updates.  Make sure the teleworker gets copied on all relevant memos and e-mails.  Periodically examine the communication process to determine whether it is sufficient or requires change. If something is wrong, explain immediately to the person what the problem is.  Don’t wait until you can see them in person.  Ask for feedback on how the project and process is going from employees whether through formal or informal communications.
  • Determine when employees are on and off the clock and respect that.  In order to achieve a successful work/life balance for the teleworking employee establish core working hours and avoid after-hours or weekend work-related calls or emails unless absolutely necessary.
  • Track the progress of the project periodically and monitor your employees work load.  Don’t just review the progress at the beginning and end of the project.  Reinforce good employee performance and redirect unsatisfactory work.

 

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