Telecommuting and Remote Work Policy

Effective Date January 4, 2016
Last Updated March 16, 2020
Responsible University Officer Donna J. Davis, Esq., General Counsel
Policy Owner Diane Nelson, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources
Policy Contacts Liliana Rojas, Director Employee Relations

Policy Statement

For the entirety of this Telecommute and Remote Work Policy, “employee” refers to a full-time or part-time USF staff or faculty member; “employee” does not refer to a USF affiliate. 

Telecommuting and remote work may pose advantages for both the University and its employees, including increased productivity and performance, enhanced employee recruitment and retention, relief of on-campus space constraints, cost reduction, environmental sustainability, crisis response, and greater work-life balance. Telecommuting is not an entitlement or University-wide benefit. Although some positions may require telecommuting or remote work, it is typically a voluntary work arrangement determined by employees’ supervisors and Vice Presidents/Deans in which eligible employees fulfill their job responsibilities at a site other than their onsite work location during regularly scheduled work hours for an indefinite or finite period. The scope of this policy covers voluntary telecommuting and remote work arrangements.

Reason for Policy

The intent of this policy is to provide procedural guidance to both employees and their supervisors when a voluntary telecommuting or remote work arrangement is requested.

Who Should Read this Policy

Employees who request a voluntary telecommuting or remote work arrangement, the President, Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, and supervisors and Business Managers who supervise employees who want to telecommute or work remotely.

Policy Text

The University considers telecommuting or remote work to be a viable alternative work arrangement in cases where the individual employee, the job, and the supervisor are well suited to such an arrangement. Not all employees and positions are suitable for telecommuting or remote work. Suitability for telecommuting or remote work is based upon the individual employee as well as the employee’s position and is to be determined by the employee’s supervisor and approved per this policy. Informal telecommuting or remote work arrangements, such working on the road during business travel, do not require the completion of USF’s Telecommuting and Remote Work Agreement. Formal telecommuting or remote work arrangements, which are long-term, short term and/or reoccurring, require the completion of USF’s Telecommuting and Remote Work Agreement or if in the response to a campus crisis, the Temporary Telecommuting and Remote Work Agreement.

  • Employees are expected to work their normal work schedule, unless they receive their manager's prior approval to adjust their schedule. Employees need to remain productive and responsive during their scheduled work hours.
  • Employees are expected to maintain a presence with their department/division/school while working remote. Presence may be maintained by using appropriate technology including but not limited to a computer, email, messaging application, video conferencing, instant messaging, Google sheets, and/or text messaging. The employee is expected to maintain the same response times as if they were at their regular USF location and will make themselves available to attend scheduled work meetings as required and/or requested. 
  • Employees need to have a working telephone or cellphone at their remote location. Those employees who have already migrated to Jabber should ensure that incoming calls to their office phone are forwarded to their remote location phone or mobile phone.
  • Employees are expected to arrange for child/dependent care as necessary for the hours in which the employee works from home. Personal tasks and errands should only be performed during the employee's scheduled breaks and lunches.
  • The University is not responsible for operating costs of any personal equipment (including, but not limited to, computers,personal devices, cellular or standard telephones), home maintenance of personal equipment, or any other incidental costs (utility provider costs, telephone costs or for any supply costs used in the home) associated with the use of an employee's alternative work arrangement.

Procedures

  1. An employee in good standing who desires a telecommuting or remote work arrangement submits a written email request to their supervisor and Vice President/Dean with a proposal.
  2. Once requested, the manager and employee determine if the requested arrangement is informal or formal, or pursuant to a campus crisis.

    a.       If the requested arrangement is deemed informal, completion of USF’s Telecommuting Agreement is not required, but the arrangement must be documented by the supervisor.

    b.       If the requested arrangement is formal, the supervisor and Vice President/Dean, and employee must evaluate the suitability of a telecommuting or remote work arrangement, paying particular attention to the Rules and Guidelines listed in this Policy. 

    c.       If the requested arrangement is pursuant to a campus crisis, the supervisor, Vice President/Dean, and employee must evaluate the suitability of a telecommuting or remote work arrangement, paying particular attention to the Rules and Guidelines listed in this Policy. OPE staff should work directly with their supervisor and Vice President/Dean as Section 2 of Article 34 may be waived given the circumstances.

  3. The supervisor and Vice President/Dean determines if the telecommuting request is denied or granted.
  4. a. If the request is denied, the employee may send another request if the employee experiences a change in job responsibilities.
    b. If the request is granted, the employee and supervisor and Vice President/Dean must prepare and sign a  Telecommuting and Remote Work Agreement or the Temporary Telecommuting and Remote Work Agreement listed in this Policy per 2C above that adheres to the Rules and Guidelines .
  5. The supervisor must send a copy of any signed agreement to Human Resources and to ITS. HARD COPIES ARE NOT ACCEPTED.
  6. OPE staff should review the agreed upon Article 34 regarding telecommuting, remote work, or emergency eligibility and procedures.

Rules and Guidelines

Job Responsibilities

  • Discuss the employee’s job responsibilities and determine if their position is appropriate for a telecommuting or remote work arrangement.
  • Examples of jobs that may be suitable for telecommuting or remote work arrangements include those that have minimal face-to-face interaction, heavy data entry tasks, or specific objectives and performance standards that can be measured.
  • Examples of jobs that may not be suitable for telecommuting or remote work arrangements include those that require frequent face-to-face interaction, onsite customer support or access to onsite confidential documents.

Department and Employee Suitability

  • Examine the needs of the department, including frequency of meetings, department goals and projects, other departments’ schedules, and space constraints.
  • Assess the performance of the employee to ensure that the employee is in good standing and to determine if the employee’s work habits display the traits customarily recognized as appropriate for successful telecommuters, such as reliability, responsiveness, and the ability to work independently.

Schedule

  • Discuss and agree upon the number of telecommuting or remote days allowed each week, the work hours and schedule that the employee will customarily maintain, and the manner and frequency of regular communication (i.e. via phone, video conferencing, and/or in person, etc.) with the supervisor and others in the department, University, vendors, etc. 
  • Telecommuters or remote workers must be as accessible as their onsite counterparts during their agreed-upon regular work schedule, regardless of work location. Telecommuters may be required to work at their onsite location for meetings, events, and other situations deemed necessary by their supervisors.
  • Telecommuters or remote workers may be required, at any time, to commute to their onsite work location. This is considered commute time, and telecommuters are not eligible to receive reimbursement for this travel.
  • Telecommuters or remote workers may be required to forfeit use of personal offices or workstations at their onsite work location to maximize utilization of office space.

Equipment

  • Assess the alternate work location, including workspace design and equipment needs. USF may determine the appropriate equipment needs for each telecommuting or remote work arrangement at the alternate work location on a case-by-case basis consistent with USF’s ITS policies and procedures. USF reserves the right to make determinations as to appropriate equipment, subject to change at any time.
  • When USF’s equipment is used at alternate work locations, telecommuters or remote workers must exercise reasonable care for the equipment and should take appropriate action to protect the items from damage or theft. Telecommuters or remote workers may be held liable for damage caused by negligence. USF equipment should be used for business purposes only and will be maintained by USF.
  • Like their onsite counterparts, telecommuters and remote workers must adhere to USF’s ITS Information Security Policy.
  • Current COVID-19 ITS Equipment Guidelines

Alternate Work Location

  • Telecommuters or remote workers must establish an appropriate work environment within their alternate location for work purposes. USF is not responsible for costs associated with setup of telecommuters’ alternate office spaces, such as remodeling, furniture or lighting, nor for repairs or modifications to alternate office spaces.
  • Hoteling, or telecommuting from a USF branch campus or other USF location, may be an option as an alternate work location. These workspaces may not be altered, and employees who use them must use USF’s equipment. Employees who wish to hotel should contact the Director of the USF branch campus or USF location for specific procedures.
  • Telecommuters or remote workers should not hold business visits or in-person meetings at their alternate work location unless approved by their supervisor or unless they are traveling and conducting University-business.
  • Telecommuters or remote workers must take all precautions necessary to secure privileged information in their alternate work location and prevent unauthorized access to any USF system, consistent with the USF’s expectations of information asset security for employees working at any USF office. Telecommuters and remote workers will be expected to ensure the protection of proprietary USF information and information accessible from their alternate work location. Please refer to USF’s ITS Information Security Policy for more information.
  • Employees are solely responsible for the configuration of and all the expenses and services associated with remote workspace. This includes ensuring and maintaining an ergonomically appropriate and safe remote worksite. Employees must review the myUSF Benefits Ergonomic page and the Workplace Ergonomic video. Employees will utilize these resources for the purpose of assessing and maintaining their remote worksite in a safe and ergonomically appropriate manner.
  • Telecommuters and remote workers are responsible for notifying their employer of any injuries sustained while at their alternate work location and in conjunction with their regular work duties in accordance with USF’s workers’ compensation procedures.

Telecommuting resources are as follows:

Other

  • Telecommuters and remote workers’ employment terms and conditions are not affected by changing to or from a telecommuting schedule.
  • Telecommuting or remote working is not a replacement for dependent care.
  • Telecommuters and remote workers are solely responsible for the tax and legal implications of the use of their alternate work location for business purposes and are solely responsible for any IRS, state, and local government regulations and restrictions. If employees will be telecommuting or working remotely outside of California, they must notify the following people prior to performing any services for USF outside of California (except in the case of temporary business travel of 14 days or less):
    a. Director of Payroll
    b. Human Resources' Leave Manager, and
    c. Tax Compliance and Audit.
    If telecommuters or remote workers fail to contact the aforementioned prior to telecommuting from a state other than California, the University may face significant penalties; should this happen, any and all costs may be charged back to the telecommuter’s department, and the appropriate Vice President or Dean will be notified.
  • The availability of telecommuting or remote work as a flexible work arrangement for USF employees can be modified or discontinued by USF at any time. Additionally, employees or their supervisors can discontinue telecommuting or remote working arrangements at any time. Every effort will be made to give reasonable advance notice of such changes. There may be instances, however, when no notice is possible.

Related Information

Type Name and Location
USF Performance Appraisal Forms
USF Workers' Compensation Policy
USF ITS Information Security Policy
USF Employees Working Out-of-State

Definitions

Term Definition
Employee For the entirety of this policy, a full-time or part-time USF staff or faculty member; not a USF affiliate.
Alternate Work Location A location other than the onsite work location from which employees telecommute (e.g. employees’ homes, hotels while traveling on University business, or one of USF's additional campuses or locations).
Hoteling When an employee telecommutes from one of USF's additional campuses or other USF location.
Telecommuting or Remote Work Unless mandated by the position or Vice President, telecommuting or remote work is a voluntary work arrangement determined by managers in which eligible employees fulfill their job responsibilities at a site other than their onsite work location during regularly scheduled work hours for an indefinite or finite period.
Informal Telecommuting or Remote Work Informal Telecommuting or Remote Work arrangements are short-term and temporary and do not require the completion of USF’s Telecommuting Agreement.

Formal Telecommuting or Remote Work

Formal Telecommuting or Remote Work arrangements are long-term and/or recurring and require the completion of USF’s Telecommuting Agreement.
Emergency Telecommuting or Remote Work A serious and/or unexpected event or situation requiring an immediate need for telecommuting or remote work often in response to a campus crisis.
Telecommuter or Remote Worker A USF employee who telecommutes or works remotely.
Rules and Guidelines Established to ensure the effectiveness and safety of telecommuting.

Additional Contacts

Subject Contact Phone Email/URL
State Payroll Taxes Tax Compliance and Internal Audit (415) 422-5124 dldaher@usfca.edu
Workers' Compensation Coverage*
*if commuting outside of CA
Human Resources' Leave Manager (415) 422-3625 leaves@usfca.edu

Forms

Name and Location Use
Telecommuting and Remote Work Agreement For employees and managers to agree to a formal telecommuting arrangement in alignment with USF’s Telecommuting Policy
Temporary Telecommuting and Remote Work  Agreement COVID-19 For employees and managers to agree to a temporary telecommuting arrangement during the COVID-19 outbreak

Responsibilities

Telecommuters/remote workers

  1. Carrying out the same work duties while working at their onsite location.
  2. Being available at normal or agreed-upon work hours.
  3. If telecommuting or working remotely outside of California:
    a. Notifying Payroll Services to ensure that payroll taxes are appropriately withheld.
    b. Notifying the Human Resources' Leave Manager to ensure appropriate workers’ compensation coverage is activated.
    c. Notifying Internal Audit and Tax Compliance to ensure appropriate payroll tax returns are being filed in the appropriate jurisdiction(s).

Supervisors

  1. Determining whether telecommuting or remote work arrangements are appropriate for employees and the department, subject to the approval of the supervising Vice President or Dean.
  2. Determining whether telecommuting or remote work arrangements are formal or informal.
  3. Requiring employees who request a formal telecommuting or remote work arrangement to sign the Telecommuting Agreement and sending a copy of the signed agreement to Human Resources and ITS. HARD COPIES ARE NOT ACCEPTED.
  4. Setting clear expectations and regular meetings with employees to ensure their availability, schedules, communication protocols and methods, engagement, etc.
  5. Regularly evaluating telecommuters’ or remote workers' work performances to determine if the arrangement is still feasible.
  6. Revoking telecommuting or remote work arrangements as needed.

Vice Presidents/Deans

  1. Approve or deny any formal telecommuting or remote work agreement for their area of supervision.

Human Resources

  1. Human Resources is available to answer additional questions and to provide guidance as needed.

FAQ

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Appendices

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