Remote work (also known as work from home) is designed to support a strategy that maximizes productivity and performance, regardless of the work location, sustains the recruitment and retention of a highly qualified workforce by enhancing work/life balance and promotes administrative efficiencies. Illinois State University supports the use of remote work arrangements within the bounds of good public practice and business operations. It should be incorporated into the continuity of operations for each organizational unit/department and is designed for employees who fill job classifications/positions that have been determined to be eligible for such an arrangement.
Any Remote Work request is guided by this Policy and is meant to work in accordance with other relevant policies and laws and is executed on a case-by-case basis between the employee and the supervisor with consultation from Human Resources and subsequent appropriate approvals.
Note: In certain instances, temporary schedule adjustments may occur because of family/medical leave concerns, emergency situations, etc. Those temporary adjustments and/or changes to schedules and agreements are not covered by this policy and should be documented in accordance with appropriate university policies and procedures.
Requests for Remote Work based upon a Request for Reasonable Accommodation must be first made to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access (OEOA) in accordance with Policy 1.3.1. That process must first be completed before any Remote Work Request can be drafted.
These definitions apply to these terms as they are used in this policy:
- Primary Workplace: The employee's usual and customary workplace, typically associated with a University Address.
- Alternate Workplace: A work site, within the State of Illinois, other than the employee's primary workplace. This is ordinarily the employee's primary residence.
- Workspace: A location within the alternate workplace that is dedicated to the purpose of remote work, and not a place at which meetings would be conducted in-person.
- Remote Work: Working at an alternate workplace on days and with hours as predetermined by the employee and the supervisor.
Eligible Employees: Exempt/Non-Exempt administrative professional or civil service staff, in an eligible position, who have been identified by the employee's supervisor as satisfactorily meeting performance standards, terms, and conditions of employment of their position. At a minimum, eligible employees must have:
- No active formal disciplinary actions on file for the current or immediately preceding review period.
- Demonstrated knowledge of Illinois State University as an organization.
- Demonstrated ability to develop regular routines and meet deadlines.
- Demonstrated ability to adapt to changing routines and environments and understand the need to adjust and attend work in-person when necessary.
Eligible Positions:Positions that can be performed independently of others, where responsibilities can be arranged so that there is no difference in the level of service or access provided. The eligibility of a position for remote work may change depending on circumstances. Things that are generally true about these positions include:
- Responsibilities do not require the transportation of documents which may include highly restricted data as outlined in Policy 9.8.1, Data Classification Procedure, such as personally identifiable information or protected health information.
- Minimal requirements for direct supervision of other employees or direct contact with students, faculty, staff, or visitors.
- Minimal requirements for special equipment or access to on-campus resources.
- Ability to define tasks with measurable work activities and objectives.
- Supervisor: The supervisor position for which remote work is assigned. Typically, this will be a supervisor who has the responsibility to direct the employee on a regular basis (including daily if necessary) and monitor overall performance and success of this employee.
- Remote Work Request: The signed document, not greater than 12-months in duration, that outlines the understanding between the school/department and the employee regarding the remote work arrangement including the days and times for remote work. The document outlines the mandatory policies in effect and must be signed by all parties prior to the start of any remote work. A supervisor may elect, or the employee may request, to revise or rescind the terms of the request whenever a need arises. In addition, the terms of the remote work request should be reviewed and revised, if necessary, when there is a change in supervisor, job responsibilities, or change in work circumstances or performance. The employee must acknowledge by signature that they have read and agree to the terms of the policies and items listed in the request. Any employee who works remotely must have an approved Remote Work Request on file with Human Resources.
Process and Procedures
Remote work on a scheduled and on-going basis may not be suitable for all employees and/or positions but may be implemented as a work option for eligible employees based on specific criteria and procedures consistently applied throughout the department. A supervisor cannot require an employee to work remotely unless doing so is a necessary component of the position or is mandated in an emergency by the University.
The following steps and guidelines must be considered and executed:
Remote Work Self-Assessment
Remote work is not suitable for every position or every employee. If interested in working remotely, a self-assessment is the first step to help an employee decide whether a remote work arrangement is right for them. Prior to submitting a Remote Work Request, an employee is strongly encouraged to review and discuss the Remote Work Conversation Guide for Employees and Supervisors with their supervisor.
Supervisor Work Assessment
Supervisors shall be responsible for the following:
- Establishing expectations for and monitoring of employee performance.
- Identifying eligible positions suitable for remote work.
- Identifying eligible employees.
- Determining if equipment will be provided to the employee to use at home (see "Equipment and Supplies").
- Establishing how the employee will maintain regular contact with office coworkers and supervisors.
- Determining how the department will handle restricted access materials, security issues, and taking electronic or paper records from the primary workplace.
- Ensuring that practices are consistent and compliant with insitutional policy and state and federal law regarding the use and security of technology.
- Delivering training to employees.
- Ensuring that individual work schedules and reporting for non-exempt employees comply with FLSA regulations.
- Ensuring that each employee's request to work remotely is considered in relation to the department's operating and customer needs.
- Ensuring that benefit time (vacation/sick/compensatory) will be requested and reported consistent with already established departmental practice.
- Ensuring a Remote Work Request is completed and approved prior to the start of any remote work.
Conditions of Employment
The conditions of employment remain the same as if the employee was working from their primary workplace. Employee salary, benefits, and employer-sponsored insurance coverage will not change as as result of remote working. The employee shall adhere to all policies, rules, and regulations of the University and the State of Illinois while working from a remote location. The employee agrees not to conduct personal business during the hours agreed upon in the Remote Work Request.
Work Site and Work Hours
A defined workspace and defined core work hours are inherent to a successful remote work arrangement.
As a condition of an approved Remote Work Request, the employee must verify the remote workspace is safe and suitable for purposes of the employee's work. The department may deny an employee the opportunity to work remotely if the alternate workspace if not conducive to productive work.
An employee approved to work remotely shall be responsible for setting up an appropriate work environment within the alternate workplace. The institution will not be responsible for any cost associated with the setup of the workspace outside of those addressed in the Equipment and Supplies section of this policy. An employee will be required to confirm that they have met the reasonable standards to include health and safety requirements (including an ergonomically sound workstation) and promise to maintain it in working condition for the duration of the remote work agreement. Employees may be required to report to the employee’s primary workplace to conduct business (i.e., meetings, visits, professional development, etc.) with short notice.
Each employee who works remotely is required to maintain the same hours of work as would be performed were the employee working on campus. If the employee needs a modification to the established schedule, including time off, normal procedures to make the request should be followed. Requests for vacation or sick leave must be made consistent with established department policies and procedures. An employee’s activities outside the time of work or outside the place designated for work will be deemed to be in the employee’s own personal time and place, unconnected with work activities.
Equipment and Supplies
Equipment and supplies can be made available by the University on a case-by-case basis depending on the work to be done and the availability within the department, college, or division. Equipment removed from university premises must be recorded and approved in accordance with the procedures defined in the Removal of University Property section of Policy 6.1.38 University Property Control.
Copies of University records may be taken to the alternative workplace, if necessary, for the completion of duties, with the official record remaining on campus. University supplies or copies of records removed from the University should also be recorded for control purposes.
Internal Auditing and others designated by the University administration may, upon reasonable notice, visit the remote work site to examine university equipment, supplies, and records in the possession of the employee. Employees are required to inform Risk Management if any university vehicles or university leased vehicles will be used for university business while working from an alternative workplace, as additional insurance coverage will be required. All other appropriate use of university vehicles shall comply with Policy 5.4.2, Automobile Insurance.
Employee Responsibilities for University Equipment, Supplies, or Records at Home
Care of the University owned equipment, supplies, and records is the responsibility of the employee.
Copies of all records, papers, and correspondence must be safeguarded by the employee to protect them from unauthorized disclosure, loss, or damage, and for their return to the appropriate University location.
Release or destruction of any records is only done at the University location according to statute and regulation.
The employee agrees to return such items to their appropriate campus location when no longer needed for the remote work assignment, or when otherwise requested by the appropriate official.
Equipment owned or provided by the employee is used at no cost or risk to the University and is maintained by the employee. Exceptions to this should be prearranged, documented, and approved by the supervisor and the appropriate vice president.
All equipment used under a remote work agreement, independent of location or ownership, that stores, processes or accesses University records or data hosted at any location, must comply with the minimum information security standards set by the Information Security Office. The employee is required to complete a remote work cybersecurity awareness training provided by the Information Security Office. The employee is responsible for operating costs, home maintenance, or any other incidental cost (e.g., utilities) associated with the use of an alternative workplace including if the alternative workplace is their residence.
The employee is responsible for maintaining confidentiality and security at the alternate workplace, as the employee would at the primary workplace. The employee must protect the security and integrity of data, information, paper files, and access to agency computer systems. All institutional policies on Information Technology and Internet and technology use apply to remote working, as they would in the primary workplace. At a minimum, the employee should be familiar with and abide by the following University policies and guidelines:
Lost, Stolen, or Damaged University Equipment
If University equipment is lost, stolen, or damaged, the employee agrees to participate in any investigation. The employee also agrees that they may be financially responsible for the loss (including signing appropriate paperwork for collecting on the loss), and also agrees that, if applicable, to include the loss of university equipment in their homeowner’s/renter’s insurance claim. Any applicable payment from the employee’s insurance company shall be remitted to their supervisor.
The employee must report all lost or stolen equipment promptly to their supervisor, their IT support team, the Information Security Office, and University Risk Management. The Information Security Office will need to ensure and/or determine the security of university records or data that may be present on the equipment, and University Risk Management will be required to provide prompt notice of the loss to university cyber security and liability insurers.
In addition, University Risk Management requires the completion of the Property Loss Claim Report form.
Injury During Predetermined Work-At-Home Schedule
Workers’ Compensation laws may apply if the employee is injured while performing official duties at the alternative workplace. An employee who suffers an injury should follow the University’s process for reporting that injury. The University is not liable for other property damage or bodily injury that results from participation in a remote work arrangement.
Child and Dependent Care
A remote work agreement is not a substitute for childcare or dependent care. The employee shall continue to arrange for child or dependent care to the same extent as if the employee was working at the primary workplace.
Program Reporting and Evaluation
The employee agrees to participate in studies, inquiries, reports or analyses relating to remote work at an institution’s direction.