November 2007

REMOTE WORKPLACE AGREEMENTS - GUIDELINES

(related to UCAR's Work and Family, policy 2-4-7)


In certain circumstances it is of benefit to UCAR and to employees for employees to work on a regular basis from the employee's home, or from some other location that is not a UCAR site. UCAR's Work and Family policy, 2-4-7 provides for the ability to establish such working arrangements.

These guidelines describe considerations for remote workplace arrangements and agreements.

Consideration for Remote Workplace

In determining what positions are suited for this type of arrangement, supervisors and employees should consider:

•  the extent to which the job requires face-to-face, or in person interaction with other people, both internal and external to UCAR;

•  the nature and extent of supervisory or security requirements relevant to the position;

•  the need for access to resources that are only available on site; and

•  safety and/or emergency response needs for the position.

In determining which individuals are most capable to function effectively under a remote workplace arrangement, supervisors and employees should consider:

•  the degree of self motivation of the individual;

•  the ability of the individual to operate effectively in an isolated mode;

•  the individual's level of job knowledge;

•  the individual's organizational and time management skills; and

•  the nature of the at-home dependent care requirements that might interfere with effective job performance.

Safety: Both general and special safety requirements are the responsibility of the employee, and the employee should be counseled on home safety issues, such as electrical considerations. Such counseling, including site visits, may be conducted by the Health, Environment and Safety Services Department. Costs for special safety equipment (fire extinguishers, smoke alarms ergonomic chairs, etc.) are borne by the employee's laboratory or program.

Performance appraisals: It is especially important in remote workplace arrangements that the job requirements and the performance standards and accomplishments are clear and well understood by all parties.

How to Request Remote Workplace Arrangements

To request a change in work location the employee should first discuss the request with his/her supervisor. A written proposal is then submitted to the supervisor with: a) the proposed work plan, b) reason for the request, and c) an evaluation of the anticipated effect on work flow, customers and fellow employees. Relevant issues outlined below should also be addressed in the proposal. These work arrangements are contingent on staff coverage being sufficient to meet the operating requirements of the division or program at all times, and upon satisfactory job performance. If the supervisor approves the plan, he or she will seek approval of the UCAR/UOP Program Director or NCAR Associate Director.

The proposed plan must be submitted to Safety and Site Services for review and approval prior to implementation.

A copy of approved flexible work arrangements is submitted to the Human Resources Department for placement in the employee's personnel file.

Considerations Regarding Remote Workplace Arrangements

Each of these topics should be addressed in the proposal to the supervisor and director.

Work regime: The mix of days/hours worked in remote workplace mode and at the UCAR site should be identified in order to establish employee-supervisor-colleague contact points and hours that will be maintained. The start and end dates of the trial period should be specified, as well as the length of the remote workplace agreement.

Work location: Document the actual address and phone number of the remote workplace location.

Work space: Employees should describe the particular work space that provides for privacy and freedom from interruptions.

Communication and personal interactions: Requirements, if any, for attendance at staff or other regularly scheduled meetings should be clarified. The frequency and means of regular communications with the supervisor and other colleagues should also be specified, including explicit arrangements for absence from the remote workplace location.

Special issues: Any special issue that pertains to the remote workplace arrangement should be considered. Examples of special issues are notification procedures for emergency situations, how overtime is handled (if applicable), travel arrangements between the home (remote site) and UCAR sites; dependent care situations, communication mechanisms for transferring work products, assignments and general interactions. A regular communication system should be established and followed to provide both the supervisor and the employee (and his/her colleagues) with needed information.

Equipment and resource needs: Such needs may include but are not necessarily limited to: computers, fax machines, printers, furniture, modems, telephone lines, three-way calling, ISDN, Internet access, call forwarding, caller ID, answering machine, pager and special software. Care should be taken to ensure the need and proper use of any equipment required. In those cases where UCAR funds are used to purchase equipment, this equipment is subject to UCAR Property policy, 3-1-4 . UCAR is required to provide all necessary safety equipment, for example, ergonomic furniture. Equipment provided by the employee does not fall within these guidelines.

Please contact Human Resources staff for addtioinal guidance on these guidelines.