Number: HR 320
Effective: February 22, 2019
Department: Human Resources
Last Revision: March 3, 2021

Purpose

To provide guidelines for telecommuting for work or utilizing a flexible work schedule.

Scope

Applies to all employees.

Definition

Telecommuting: Working part or entire scheduled work week at a non-CWI location.

Policy

CWI’s purpose is to serve students, community, and each other.  Faculty and staff have an obligation to be present on campus to provide an exceptional experience to all who come to learn, visit, or work on campus. CWI also understands the importance of being a relevant employer in the market and the importance of a modern telecommuting practice.  Therefore, all CWI departments and their employees will have a physical presence and work schedule on campus while balancing the telecommuting requests of individual employees.  Our employees may engage in a telecommuting or flexible work schedule if it is in alignment with the needs of students, community, and the institution’s mission.

A position will be assessed for telecommuting and flexible work schedule suitability based on the role’s responsibilities (i.e. need to work face to face with students, community, and fellow employees) and employee performance. Telecommuting allows employees to work at home, on the road, or at an alternative location for all or part of their regular workweek.  A flexible work schedule allows employees to work a modified work schedule, which accommodates special circumstances while ensuring that the needs of the College are satisfied.

Unless otherwise required by law, telecommuting and flexible work schedules should not be considered an entitlement.  They are not offered as a College-wide benefit, and they in no way alter the terms and conditions of employment with CWI.  All telecommuting and flexible work schedules are subject to CWI business needs and require approval from the employee’s manager and the managers Executive Operations Team (EOT) member.

Guidelines

Informal Arrangements

Telecommuting and/or a flexible work schedule can be informal, such as working from home for a short-term project.  Similarly, arrangements for telecommuting or a flexible work schedule may be made for employees on family or medical leave.  Informal telecommuting arrangements or flexible work schedules are provided on a case-by-case basis with manager approval.  Such informal arrangements are not the focus of this policy and may be addressed in other College policies, e.g. CWI’s family and medical leave policy.

Telecommuting

Either an employee or a manager can suggest a formal telecommuting work arrangement.  However, unless otherwise required by law, the appropriateness of telecommuting will be determined by the employee’s manager taking into consideration factors related to the position and employee such as:

  • Employee suitability: Assessing the needs and work habits of the employee.
  • Job responsibilities and nature of the work: Assessing if a position requires a physical presence to perform the job duties effectively; determining if the job is appropriate for telecommuting.
  • Equipment needs: Employees will not be provided extra equipment to facilitate a telecommuting work arrangement outside of their regularly required equipment.

If the employee and manager agree, a telecommuting agreement will be completed and signed by the employee and manager in consultation with Human Resources.  The agreement will provide that the telecommuting arrangement will be on a trial basis for the first three months and may be discontinued, at will, at any time at the request of either the employee or CWI.  Further, the agreement will specify the number of days of telecommuting allowed each week, the work schedule the employee will customarily maintain, and the manner and frequency of communication which should occur between the manager and the employee.  The employee must agree to be accessible by phone or email within a reasonable time period during the agreed-on work schedule.

During the telecommuting trial period, managers are encouraged to regularly evaluate the performance of the telecommuting employee through interaction by zoom, phone, and/or e-mail between the employee and the manager and may elect to have weekly face-to-face meetings to discuss work progress and problems.  At the conclusion of the trial period, the employee and manager will have a discussion to evaluate the arrangement and make recommendations for continuance or modifications.  The evaluation of the employee’s performance beyond the trial period will be consistent with that received by employees working on site at the College.

Employees entering into a telecommuting arrangement may be required to forfeit use of a personal office or workstation in favor of a shared arrangement to maximize the organization of office space needs per Space Use Policy (OP 070).

Telecommuting employees will be expected to ensure the protection of proprietary College and student information accessible from their home or alternate work site.  Steps include use of locked file cabinets and desks, regular password maintenance, and other steps appropriate for the job and the employee’s work environment.  At no time should the employee provide their login or email password to anyone, not even family members.

Unless otherwise required by law, employees requesting the ability to telecommute will be responsible at their own cost for sufficient internet and phone access and necessary furniture and equipment beyond access to CWI’s work computer system.  Employees in a telecommuting work arrangement will be provided with one work computer system.  In the event CWI requests that an employee telecommute, the employee’s appropriate equipment needs (e.g. hardware and/or software) will be determined on a case-by-case basis and will require approval from the employee’s manager and EOT member in collaboration with IT.  Equipment supplied by CWI will be maintained by CWI.  Equipment supplied by the employee, if deemed appropriate by the College, will be maintained by the employee.  CWI shall not be responsible for damage or repairs to employee-owned equipment.  CWI reserves the right to make determinations as to appropriate equipment to be provided for a telecommuting employee and any such determinations are subject to change at any time.  Equipment supplied by CWI is to be used primarily for business purposes in accordance with IT 000 - Information Technology Resource Use.  Telecommuting employees will be asked to sign an inventory of all College equipment provided to the employee.  In addition, employees must agree to take appropriate action to protect any such equipment from damage or theft.  Upon termination of employment, all CWI equipment must be returned to the College and the employee’s manager is responsible for ensuring this occurs.

Telecommuting employees must designate an appropriate work environment for work purposes.  CWI will not be responsible for any costs associated with the initial set up of the employee’s home office or alternate work location.

Injuries sustained by the employee while at their home or alternate work location and in the course and scope of their work duties are normally covered by CWI’s workers’ compensation insurance.  Telecommuting employees are responsible for notifying CWI of any such injuries in accordance with CWI’s workers’ compensation procedures.  CWI is not responsible or liable for any injuries sustained by visitors to the employee’s worksite.     

Telecommuting employees who are not exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act will be required to record all hours worked in a manner designated by CWI Payroll Policy (HR 100).  Hours worked in excess of those specified per day and per workweek require the advance approval of the employee’s manager, particularly to the extent that overtime will be incurred.  Failure to comply with this requirement may result in the immediate cessation of the telecommuting agreement and disciplinary action up to and including termination.  Exempt employees may be asked to track their work time for the purpose of insurance coverage or for the purpose of confirming when the employee is engaged in work on behalf of the College.

Non-exempt telecommuting employees who regularly work a portion of their schedule at a CWI location will not be compensated for travel time nor be entitled to mileage reimbursement from a non-CWI location to work.  Non-exempt employees who regularly work entirely at a non-CWI location and are asked occasionally to work at a CWI location, either during the workday or as part of a special one-day assignment, will be compensated for travel time from the non-CWI location to work and may be entitled to reimbursement for travel expenses in accordance with CWI’s travel expense reimbursement policy ADMIN 060 - Travel and HR 160 – Compensation Policy.

The compensation of exempt telecommuting employees shall not be affected by the location of their work regardless of whether travel time is required.  Exempt employees who regularly work a portion of their schedule at a CWI location shall not be entitled to reimbursement of expenses for travel from a non-CWI location to work.  Exempt employees who regularly work entirely at a non-CWI location and are asked occasionally to work at a CWI location, either during the workday or as part of as special one-day assignment, may be entitled to reimbursement for travel expenses in accordance with CWI’s travel expense reimbursement policy ADMIN 060 - Travel and HR 160 – Compensation Policy.

The focus of any telecommuting arrangement is on job performance and meeting business demands.  Prospective telecommuters are encouraged to discuss expectations of telecommuting with family members prior to entering into a telecommuting agreement and the trial period.

Flexible Work Schedules

CWI employees will be considered for an alternative work schedule on a case-by-case basis in situations where creative work schedules may accomplish both work and personal goals, provide coverage for individual department operations and serve the business interests of CWI.  Alternative work schedules should have no adverse effect on productivity or the quality of the employee’s work performance.  

Several alternative work schedule options may be available to employees, including but not limited to:

  • Flextime, where an employee works eight hours per workday, but there is flexibility in an employee’s scheduled starting and ending times.
  • 10-hour day, four-day workweeks, where an employee works 10 hours per workday, reducing the workweek to four days a week.
  • Nine-hour day, half-day  during the workweeks, where an employee works nine-hour workdays four days a week and four hours on another designated day.    

Prior to a flexible schedule being approved, managers must ensure that the department will be adequately staffed during its core business hours, that non-exempt employees take at least a 30 minute lunch, and that the employee’s normal number of working hours per week remains the same.  Approval of a flexible work schedule is at the discretion of the manager, in consultation with Human Resources. If approved, the flexible work schedule will be reflected in the timekeeping system and may be modified or discontinued at any time.

Termination of Telecommuting and Flexible Work Schedules

Unless otherwise required by law, the availability of telecommuting and other flexible work schedules may be discontinued at any time at the discretion of the employee’s manager.  CWI will attempt to provide at least 30 days’ notice of such a change to accommodate any problems that may arise from the change for the employee.  However, there may be instances when no notice is possible or less notice can be provided.