Telecommuting Guidelines for Off Campus Positions

On this page: A. Purpose | B. Introduction | C. Eligibility  | D. Supervisor Telecommuting Requests  | E. Writing an agreement  | F. Supervisor Responsibilities  | G. Definition

These guidelines apply to all Staff and Temporary employees.

A. Purpose

Indiana University’s mission is to provide broad access to undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education for students throughout Indiana, the United States, and the world.  In order to help accomplish the University’s mission there are situations in which an employee will be based off campus.  The guidelines for telecommuting for off campus positions assists units in establishing work arrangements with Staff and Temporary employees whose responsibilities can or must be performed remotely. These guidelines address regular, on-going arrangements of working at home, on the road, or at a satellite location, and are not meant for sporadic or infrequent occurrences of remote work.

B. Introduction

  1. Telecommuting is an alternative work arrangement that may be appropriate for some employees performing specific types of work. It does not change the terms and conditions of employment with Indiana University. The success of telecommuting is dependent on it being a shared arrangement for the unit and the employee. All telecommuting arrangements should be transparent to all customers. University and departmental demands remain a priority.
  2. Characteristics of a remote worker’s job:
    1. Not all work is suited to telecommuting. Elements of suitability include work that:
      1. Does not require face to face meetings
      2. Can be performed independently
      3. Does not inconvenience co-workers or customers
      4. Should not require more time for completion away from the regular work setting
    2. Some examples of work that are suited include:
      1. Reading and writing
      2. Research
      3. Editing
      4. Information Technology
  3. The work should not be dependent on face-to-face access to others or physical materials found only at one of the campuses.
  4. Telecommuting is not meant as an alternative for satisfying the employee's dependent care responsibilities. Prospective remote workers are expected to discuss expectations of position with his or her family and make arrangements that will not interfere with the completion of work assignments.
  5. The employee is eligible for Workers' Compensation, and must follow the university's procedure for reporting job-related injuries. A designated work space shall be maintained by the telecommuter at the alternate work location.  Workers’ compensation eligibility will be limited to work-related injuries at this work space as opposed to applying to all areas of the work location.
  6. The Office of Insurance, Loss Control & Claims and the Office of Environmental, Health, and Safety Management 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. Health and safety inspections of a home office may need to be arranged between the employee and Indiana University to ensure it meets university standards. 
  7. Indiana University equipment is for university-related projects only.  The employee may not use university equipment for unlawful purposes, for work for other employers, or allow others to use it.  Any hardware or software purchased by the university remains the property of the university, and will be returned to the university on request.
  8. Telecommuting employees 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.
  9. The employee is responsible for observing any municipal zoning ordinances regulating the performance of work at home for employment purposes.  Any and all tax and insurance implications of telecommuting are entirely the responsibility of the employee.  Telecommuting employees are encouraged to seek professional advice (e.g. Accountant, Attorney, etc.) in this area. 
  10. When the telecommuting employee’s permanent place of work is outside of Indiana, that State’s laws may need to be considered when applying IU Human Resources policies.

C. Eligibility

  1. The position is based off campus, including employees located outside of Indiana.
  2. A current Staff or Temporary employee who is moving, and the unit would like to retain the employee, and the nature of the position allows for telecommuting.

D. Supervisor Telecommuting Requests

  1. A supervisor interested in creating a position or having an employee telecommute should present a proposal to his/her unit with as much detail as possible. The proposal should contain the following:
    1. Reason(s) for the request to have an employee telecommute
    2. The number of days per week and the days/hours the employee will be working each week
    3. An explanation of how necessary communications will be maintained
    4. Clear list of duties that will be performed telecommuting
    5. List of equipment needed to telecommute
    6. Identification of potential problem areas and a plan of how to handle those problems

E. Writing an agreement

  1. A telecommuting agreement for an off campus position will be created to provide an overview of the arrangement.   However, the unit may end the agreement without notice if circumstances require such action.
    1. A telecommuting agreement will contain the following:
      1. Telecommuter’s responsibilities
      2. Supervisor's responsibilities
      3. Equipment used at remote work location. Indiana University equipment is for university-related projects only.    
      4. Payment of expenses such as supplies, upkeep/repair of equipment and the setup of a home office, if necessary
      5. A safe work environment must be utilized to ensure the safety of the employee and any university equipment that may be used. 
      6. Workers' Compensation eligibility and requirements. A designated work space shall be maintained by the employee at the alternate work location. 
      7. Observing any municipal zoning ordinances regulating the performance of work at home for employment purposes.  Any and all tax and insurance implications of working remotely are entirely the responsibility of the employee. 
      8. A disclaimer stating “Nothing contained in this agreement conveys upon the employee a contract of employment”.
    2. All agreements should also address the following areas:
      1. If applicable, what is the length of the agreement?
      2. How 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.
      3. How meetings are going to be addressed, including which meetings the employee will attend in person and which the employee may telecommute? (For FLSA non-exempt employees travel time needs to be taken into account.)
      4. How to address time not worked for any reason beyond the control of the employee? Example: computer server down.
      5. How will time off be addressed? This includes the process for requesting and documenting time off.
      6. How workstations are to be used, i.e. shared workstations and/or office accommodations when working on site at a campus?
      7. How the employee's performance is to be evaluated?
      8. How are hours of work recorded to ensure compliance with the record keeping and overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act?
      9. How is the safety and security of sensitive data to be maintained?
    3. Before signing the telecommuting agreement, the supervisor should ensure the employee understands all of the obligations as stated in the agreement.
      1. An employee telecommuting is 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.
  2. Copies of the signed agreement are to be distributed to the employee, the supervisor and the campus human resources office.

F. Supervisor's Responsibilities

  1. If the telecommuter is working outside of Indiana, contact IU Human Resources to understand State laws that may need to be considered when applying IU Human Resources policies and benefits.
  2. Develop and execute agreement.
    1. Determine what positions contain characteristics that are suitable for telecommuting.
    2. Set standards for performance.
    3. Determine the length of the agreement, if applicable.
    4. Distribute to the employee, as well as the campus human resources office.
  3. Receive and review work.
  4. Verify, confirm or otherwise certify the accuracy of the time worked.
  5. Evaluate effectiveness of the arrangement including communications.
  6. Review the agreement, and execute new or revised agreement if necessary.

G. Definition

Telecommuting: Working from a location other than the traditional office setting for one or more days a week