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Telecommuting Policy

March 09, 2008

The Telecommuting policy allows employees to work at home, on the road, or in a satellite location for all or part of their regular workweek. Telecommuting is a work alternative that may be appropriate for some employees and some jobs. It is not an entitlement; it is not a companywide benefit; and it does not change the terms and conditions of employment. Guidelines for acceptable practices are set by the company in this policy, as it relates to its line of business.

Subject: Telecommuting

Organization: Anonymous

Example of: Standard Policy

Telecommuting allows employees to work at home, on the road, or in a satellite location for all or part of their regular workweek. Telecommuting is a work alternative that may be appropriate for some employees and some jobs. It is not an entitlement; it is not a companywide benefit; and it does not change the terms and conditions of employment.

Either an employee or a supervisor can suggest telecommuting.

Telecommuting can be informal, such as working from home for a short-term project or on the road during business travel, or formal, as will be described below. Other informal, short-term arrangements may be made for employees on personal, family, or medical leave, with the consent of the employee’s healthcare provider, if appropriate. All informal telecommuting arrangements are made on a case-by-case basis, focusing on the business needs of the organization first.

Individuals requesting formal telecommuting arrangements usually must have exhibited above-average performance in accordance with the company’s performance appraisal process and usually must be regular, full-time employees for at least one year.

Employees desiring to telecommute should prepare a written proposal to submit to their supervisor outlining how they can accomplish their task via telecommuting, including the number of days per week they will telecommute. The plan should include objective methods of measuring productivity and the achievement of goals.

Any telecommuting arrangement made will be on a trial basis for the first 3 months and may be discontinued, at will, at any time, at the request of either the telecommuter or the company.

The company will determine, with information supplied by the employee and the supervisor, the appropriate equipment needs (including hardware, software, modems, phone and data lines, facsimile equipment or software, photocopiers, etc.) for each telecommuting arrangement on a case-by-case basis. The Human Resources and Information System Departments will serve as resources in this matter. The company will maintain equipment supplied by the company. The employee, if deemed appropriate by the company, will maintain equipment supplied by the employee. The company accepts no responsibility for damage or repairs to employee-owned equipment. The company reserves the right to make determinations as to appropriate equipment, subject to change at any time. Equipment supplied by the organization is to be used for business purposes only. The telecommuter will be asked to sign an inventory of all office property and agree to take appropriate action to protect the item(s) from damage or theft. Upon termination of employment or at the company’s request, all company property will be returned to the company unless other arrangements have been made.

Consistent with the organization’s expectations of information asset security for employees working at the office full-time, telecommuting employees will be expected to ensure the protection of proprietary company and customer information accessible from their home office. Steps include, but are not limited to, use of locked file cabinets, disk boxes, and desks; regular password maintenance; and any other steps appropriate for the job and the environment.

Telecommuters will also be expected to comply with applicable company policies (e.g., conflict of interest, confidentiality, moonlighting, safety, respect for dignity, and drugs and).

The employee will establish an appropriate work environment within her or his home for work purposes. The company will not be responsible for costs associated with initial setup of the employee’s home office, such as remodeling, furniture, or lighting, nor for repairs or modifications to the home office space. Employees will be offered appropriate assistance in setting up a workstation designed for safe, comfortable work.

After equipment has been delivered, a designated representative of the company may visit the employee’s home worksite to inspect the space for possible work hazards and to suggest modifications. Repeat inspections may occur on an as-needed basis. Injuries sustained by the employee while at their home work location and in conjunction with their regular work duties are normally covered by the company’s workers’ compensation policy. Telecommuting employees are responsible for notifying the employer of such injuries in accordance with company workers’ compensation procedures. Employees can be liable for any injuries sustained by visitors to their telecommuting worksite.

The company will supply the employee with appropriate office supplies (pens, paper, etc.) for successful completion of job responsibilities. The company will also reimburse the employee for all other reasonable business-related expenses, such as phone calls, shipping costs, etc., that are reasonably incurred in accordance with job responsibilities.

The employee and manager will agree on the number of days of telecommuting allowed each week, the work schedule the employee will customarily maintain, and the manner and frequency of communication. The employee agrees to be accessible by phone, e-mail, voice mail, pager, or modem within a reasonable time period during the agreed-upon work schedule. Telecommuters may be required to come to the office as needed by the company.

Telecommuting employees who are not exempt from the overtime requirements of the FLSA will be required to record all hours worked in a manner designated by the company.

In accordance with state and federal requirements, hours worked in excess of those specified per day and per workweek will require the advance approval of the supervisor. Failure to comply with this requirement can result in the immediate cessation of the telecommuting agreement.

Before entering into any telecommuting agreement, the employee and manager, with the assistance of the human resource department, will evaluate the suitability of such an arrangement paying particular attention to the following areas:

• Employee suitability. The employee and manager will assess the needs and work habits of the employee, compared to traits customarily recognized as appropriate for successful telecommuters.

• Job responsibilities. The employee and manager will discuss the job responsibilities and determine if the job is appropriate for a telecommuting arrangement.

• Equipment needs, work space design considerations, and scheduling issues.

• Tax and other legal implications for the business use of the employee’s home-based office (e.g., IRS and state and local government restrictions). Responsibility for fulfilling all obligations in this area rests solely with the employee.

If the employee and manager agree, and the human resources department concurs, a draft telecommuting agreement will be prepared and signed by all parties, and a three-month trial period will commence. A sample telecommuting agreement appears at the end of this policy.

Evaluation of telecommuter performance during the trial period will include daily interaction by phone, voice mail, or e-mail between the employee and the manager, and usually weekly face-to-face meetings to discuss work progress and problems. At the conclusion of the trial period, the employee and manager will each complete an evaluation of the arrangement and make recommendations for continuance or modifications. Evaluation of telecommuter performance beyond the trial period will be consistent with that received by employees working at the office in both content and frequency, with an emphasis on work output, quality, and timely completion of objectives.

An appropriate level of communication between the telecommuter and supervisor will be agreed to as part of the discussion process.

After conclusion of the trial period, the manager and telecommuter will communicate at a level consistent with employees working at the office or in a manner and frequency that seems appropriate for the job and the individuals involved.

Telecommuting is not designed to be a replacement for appropriate child care. Although an individual employee’s schedule may be modified to accommodate child care needs, the focus of the arrangement must remain on job performance and meeting business demands. Prospective telecommuters are encouraged to discuss expectations of telecommuting with family members prior to entering into a trial period.

Employees entering into a telecommuting agreement may be required to forgo use of a personal office or workstation in favor of a shared arrangement to maximize office space needs. Employees who become telecommuters and then become dissatisfied with the arrangement after the three-month trial may not be able to return to an office position.

In certain limited circumstances, the company may contract with an office-space provider to meet the needs of (a) employees who wish to telecommute but who do not have appropriate home office space, or (b) groups of employees whose distance from the company and proximity to each other makes such an arrangement feasible.

The availability of telecommuting as a flexible work arrangement for employees of the company can be discontinued at any time at the discretion of the company. An effort will be made to provide 30 days’ notice of such a change to accommodate commuting, child care, and other problems that may arise from such a change. There may be instances, however, where no notice is possible.

Alternative Provisions

Generally, the company will not purchase new equipment for telecommuting, but instead will seek to loan existing equipment. Employees are responsible for that equipment, normal wear-and-tear excepted.

Usually, the company permits telecommuting only when adverse conditions prevent coming to the office (weather, accidents, etc.) as a reasonable accommodation to a person with a disability or as part of an interim leave under the FMLA. Normally, the company does not provide equipment to enable telecommuting, except in the case of a reasonable accommodation as required by applicable law.

Draft Telecommuting Agreement

I have read the attached telecommuting policy and understand that I am expected to comply with it.

I understand I am expected to accomplish the tasks outlined in the attached statement in accordance with the detailed schedule.

I understand I am responsible for maintaining the security and safety of all equipment entrusted to me. I have received all of the equipment detailed on the attachment. I understand that if I do not return this equipment in good working order, except for reasonable wear and tear, I will be responsible for paying to the company the current value of the equipment.

I understand that once I begin telecommuting, I may not be able to return to a full-time office position if I become dissatisfied with telecommuting. I understand that neither this agreement nor any other creates any employment contract or any contract for any benefit between the company and me. I agree and understand that I may terminate my employment at any time with or without cause and that the company retains the same right.

Date _________________________

Employee _________________________

Attachment A

Remote Work Location:

Tasks to be Performed with Due Dates:

1.

2.

3.

4.

Telecommuting Schedule:

Telecommuting Equipment:

Serial Number:

Current Value:

Expected Useful Life of Equipment:

Personal equipment, software, or data to be used at remote work location:

Method of accessing information at the company:

Method of communicating status of tasks:

Type of log to be maintained regarding status of tasks:


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