Staff Telecommuting and Alternative Work Policy

This policy applies to Brandeis staff except those whose terms of employment are covered by the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement.

Guidelines

Staff interested in telecommuting or working an alternate work schedule must discuss the possibility of such an arrangement with their supervisor. The intent of this policy is to make telecommuting and alternate schedule arrangements available where the university’s business needs can be met. Departments must ensure that sufficient personnel are available on campus to provide service to the campus community during scheduled business hours.

It should be recognized that some positions are not suited to telecommuting or alternate work arrangements, based on the nature of the work. Examples of this include positions where equipment, materials, files or data necessary to the position can only be physically accessed on the Brandeis campus, or where face-to-face contact with staff, supervisors, students, faculty or the public on the Brandeis campus is a regular and integral part of the position responsibilities. Telecommuting or alternate schedule decisions are based on the nature of the work and the business needs of the unit. Supervisors may not arbitrarily refuse to consider telecommuting or alternative schedules.

The Office of Human Resources is a resource to managers in policy application and retains oversight over the policy and all related decisions and agreements.

Definitions

Staff Eligibility and Approval

Staff wishing to telecommute or work an alternate schedule must meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

Newly hired staff may also be offered a telecommuting or alternate work schedule arrangement subject to the needs of the organization.

All requests for telecommuting or alternate work schedules must be approved by the supervisor, in addition to  the appropriate dean, vice president or other senior leader in charge of the unit.

Telecommuting Work Schedule

A telecommuter must have a defined work schedule coordinated in advance with management and be able and ready to work during scheduled work hours unless on university-related business travel or on an approved absence or leave. A telecommuter must be accessible (e.g., by phone, teleconference, videoconference, chatline and/or email) during their defined work schedule.

A telecommuter may be required to attend specific meetings at university worksites or be prepared to be involved in scheduled meetings via phone, videoconference, etc., as required by management. Telecommuting arrangements should include a plan to measure and communicate productivity, workflow, milestones and deadlines, as applicable.

Alternate Workplace for Telecommuting

A telecommuter is responsible for complying with current environment health and safety rules and should request assistance from the university's department of environmental health and safety for guidance with this requirement, as necessary. Brandeis University reserves the right to inspect any area where a staff is working for safety and security reasons. The university will prearrange such visits, if any, with staff, and they are expected to provide the university with reasonable access to the alternate workplace.

A telecommuter is covered under the applicable workers' compensation law of the state, should injury occur in the course and scope of employment at the alternate workplace. Workers' compensation liability is limited to work-related injuries at the specific workspace, as opposed to applying to all areas of the staff's residence or property.

A telecommuter is required to immediately report any injury that occurs at the alternate workplace during working hours to the Office of Human Resources, and to provide reasonable access to the alternate workplace to university representatives responsible for conducting accident investigations.

It is the responsibility of the staff to ensure that their homeowners or renters insurance covers any nonuniversity-owned furnishings or personal property in their alternate workplace.

The alternate workplace arrangement must not result in additional expense for materials and supplies beyond what is available in the employer workplace.

Renewing, Ending Telecommuting Agreements

Telecommuting and alternate work schedule agreements can be terminated at any time by either management or staff. Because the approval of a telecommuting arrangement is specific both to the work that the staff is performing at the time of the request and to the staff’s manager at the time of the request, any transfer by the staff to a different position or change in management requires the telecommuter to submit a new telecommuting agreement form to receive the necessary approvals. At a minimum, the telecommuting arrangement must be reviewed every six months.

Visitors When Telecommuting

Telecommuters shall not receive or meet with individuals, other than Brandeis employees, in their alternate workplace for the purpose of conducting Brandeis business.

Tax and Zoning for Alternate Workplace

Personal taxes and zoning implications, if any, related to a staff working from an alternate workplace are the responsibility of the staff. Approved telecommuters are encouraged to consult pertinent experts, if desired, at their own expense.

Expectations for Telecommuting

  1. Telecommuters are expected to work the standard hours per day as if on campus, unless otherwise agreed upon with the supervisor.
  2. Telecommuters must be available to the supervisor and to appropriate service constituencies while working, and supervisors should specify what constitutes "available" (e.g., phone, email, text).
  3. Telecommuters must remain available, with advance notice and for appropriate reasons, to be scheduled to come to campus on telecommuting days.
  4. If unavailable for an extended length of time (e.g., to let a repairman in or to go to a doctor's appointment), the manager must be notified in advance of the approximate length of time the employee will be absent and the expected time of their return to availability.
  5. "Working off-campus" should be indicated on the online calendar when telecommuting.

Protecting Information While Telecommuting

Use of Information Resources and Monitoring While Telecommuting

Dependent Care

The telecommuter or staff on alternate work schedule is expected to manage dependent care and personal responsibilities in a way that allows fulfillment of all job responsibilities successfully.

Procedures

Alternate Work Schedule

Staff who would like to request an alternate work schedule should complete and submit to their supervisor the alternate work schedule request form (pdf). After approval, the supervisor will initiate completion of the alternate work schedule agreement (pdf). After approval, copies of both forms are provided to the staff member, and the originals are placed in the employee’s personnel file.

Telecommuting

Staff who would like to request a telecommuting arrangement should complete and submit to their supervisor the telecommuting request form (pdf). After approval, the supervisor will initiate completion of the telecommuting agreement (pdf). The telecommuting agreement requires review by Information Technology Services (security@brandeis.edu) as well as appropriate management approvals. After approval, copies of both forms are provided to the staff member, and the originals are placed in the employee’s personnel file.