Telecommuting allows staff members to work off-campus for all or part of their workweek. Lewis & Clark College considers telecommuting to be a viable, flexible work option when both the staff member and the job are suited to such an arrangement. Telecommuting may be appropriate for some staff members and jobs but not for others. Telecommuting is not an entitlement, it is not a college-wide benefit, and it in no way changes the terms and conditions of employment with Lewis & Clark College.
Telecommuting can be informal, such as working from home for a short-term project or on the road while traveling, or a formal, set schedule of working away from the office as described below. Either a staff member or a supervisor can suggest telecommuting as a possible work arrangement. If a staff member and supervisor agree upon a telecommuting arrangement, the details of that arrangement should be written and shared with the employee and supervisor.
Any telecommuting arrangement may be discontinued at will and at any time at the request of either the telecommuter or the college. Efforts will be made to provide 30 days’ notice of such change to accommodate commuting, child care and other issues that may arise from the termination of a telecommuting arrangement. There may be instances, however, when no notice is possible.
Individuals requesting formal telecommuting arrangements must have a satisfactory performance record.
The staff member and supervisor, with the assistance of the human resource department if necessary, will evaluate the suitability of such an arrangement, reviewing the following areas:
- Employee suitability. The staff member and supervisor will assess the needs and work habits of the employee, compared to traits customarily recognized as appropriate for successful telecommuters.
- Job responsibilities. The staff member and supervisor will discuss the job responsibilities and determine if the job is appropriate for a telecommuting arrangement. Student and/or public facing positions may not be suitable for a telecommuting arrangement.
- Equipment needs, workspace design considerations and scheduling issues. The staff member and supervisor will discuss physical workspace needs and the appropriate location for the telework.
- Work schedule. The staff member and supervisor should agree upon a work schedule that meets the needs of the department. For instance, the telecommuting employee’s schedule likely needs to be consistent with the schedule of the department in order to facilitate necessary communication and collaboration.
- Tax and other legal implications. The staff member and supervisor, with the assistance of Human Resources, may need to consider and resolve any tax or legal implications under IRS, state and local government laws, and/or restrictions of working out of a home-based office, if any. For instance, telecommuting from certain states may not be permissible due to requirements to register as an employer in that state.
Evaluation of telecommuter performance will include regular interaction by phone and e-mail between the employee and the supervisor to discuss work progress and problems.
Equipment and Materials. Staff members may use college-owned equipment for telecommuting work purposes. The college will provide equipment and materials needed by employees to effectively perform their work duties, however, the college will not generally duplicate resources between the campus workplace and the alternate work location. Telecommuting employees are responsible for protecting college-owned equipment from theft, damage, and unauthorized use. The Information Technology Department will maintain, service, and repair college-owned equipment, but will not be responsible for transporting or installing equipment, nor for returning it to the campus or service facility for repairs or service. Telecommuting employees may also use their own equipment, however, the college is not responsible for the cost, repair or service of the employee’s personal equipment. Employees using their own equipment are responsible for complying with the data security and other provisions of this policy.
Lewis & Clark College will supply the staff member with appropriate office supplies (pens, paper, etc.) as deemed necessary. Lewis & Clark College will also reimburse the employee for business-related expenses reasonably incurred in carrying out the employee’s job, subject to all applicable requirements for approval of expenses, etc.
The staff member will establish an appropriate work environment within his or her home for work purposes. Lewis & Clark College will not be responsible for costs associated with the setup of the employee’s home office, such as remodeling, furniture or lighting, nor for repairs or modifications to the home office space.
Lewis & Clark Data. Employees must safeguard college information used or accessed while telecommuting in accordance with Lewis and Clark’s Acceptable Use Policy and other applicable Information Technology policies. Telecommuting employees must agree to follow college-approved security procedures in order to access college resources in order to ensure security of data. VPN access is granted to telecommuting employees. If application access is required, and is not already available, a request must be made to the Information Technology group for access to that application.
Costs of Telecommuting. The college is not obligated to assume responsibility for operating costs incurred by employees in the use of their homes as telecommuting alternate work locations. Adequate Internet connectivity is generally the responsibility of the employee. The college may use available funds for telecommuting costs if there is a business need and funding permits.
Consistent with the College’s expectations of information security for employees working at the office, telecommuting employees will be expected to ensure the protection of proprietary College and student information accessible from their home office. Steps include the use of locked file cabinets and desks, regular password maintenance, and any other measures appropriate for the job and the environment.
Telecommuting staff members are expected to maintain their home workspace in a safe manner, free from safety hazards. Lewis & Clark College will provide each telecommuter with a safety checklist that must be completed at the beginning of the telecommuting arrangement and at any other time when there is as significant change to the home workspace. Injuries sustained by the employee in a home office location and in conjunction with his or her regular work duties are normally covered by the College’s workers’ compensation policy. Telecommuting employees are responsible for notifying the College of such injuries as soon as practicable. The employee is liable for any injuries sustained by visitors to their home worksite.
Telecommuting staff members who are subject to overtime requirements are required to accurately record all hours worked using the WorkDay time-keeping system. Hours worked in excess of those scheduled per day and per workweek require the advance approval of the telecommuter’s supervisor. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in the immediate termination of the telecommuting arrangement.
Ad Hoc Arrangements
Temporary telecommuting arrangements may be approved for circumstances such as special projects or travel. These arrangements are approved on an as-needed basis only, with no expectation of ongoing continuance.
Other informal, short-term arrangements may be made for employees on family or medical leave to the extent practical for the employee and the College and with the consent of the employee’s health care provider, if appropriate.
All informal telecommuting arrangements are made on a case-by-case basis, focusing first on the business needs of the College.
Adopted by the Executive Council June 29, 2020