Telecommuting

​Use the resources available on this page to coordinate a telecommuting arrangement. These resources support the intial request and reviews, the telecommuting agreement, and the resources for supervisors and employees to support telework success.
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 Policy and Guidelines

UW System Administrative Policy 1228: Telecommuting

UWS Telecommuting Guidelines for Supervisors

UWSP Guidelines

Purpose

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is a people-centered university that endeavors to provide an effective and efficient work and learning environment to attract and retain a talented and diverse workforce.  

Therefore, when appropriate, telecommuting may further institutional goals including providing quality instruction, student support, or other services to members of our university community. The purpose of these guidelines is to define the conditions in which such telecommuting agreements may be requested, evaluated, and approved. Moreover, these guidelines support a(n) flexible, adaptable, and engaging working environment while balancing and supporting the institution's critical priorities.

These guidelines are supplemental to the University of Wisconsin System (UWS) Administrative Policy 1228: Telecommuting, UWS Telecommuting Guidelines for Supervisors, and UWS Frequently Asked Questions (link will be added once available).

Background

These guidelines are issued to provide a consolidation point for various statutes, codes, policies, and procedures related to telecommuting. This encompasses important matters of risk to the employee and the University, including:

  • The health and safety of the employee and risk of claims to the University,
  • Data security and safety to information systems,
  • Performance management and mission achievement, and
  • Equality and fairness with protections against discriminatory practices.

Definitions

Business travel. This is travel for university business. This can include attending a meeting, conference, official luncheon, or other university function for university business purposes.

Division leader. This person is also the hiring authority for the unit or department and is often the division leader over the work unit (Vice Chancellors of Academic, Student, or Business Affairs, Vice Chancellor of University Advancement, Chief Marketing and Enrollment Officer, and the Chancellor are our current division leaders).
 
Intermittent telecommuting. An unplanned period of telecommuting arising out of transient circumstances (such as illness, weather emergency, temporary school closure, etc.) lasting no longer than ten consecutive business days. This also includes secondary telecommuting that may include remote work done outside or in addition to normal business hours.

Long-term telecommuting. A continuous arrangement for part-time or full-time telecommuting subject to at least annual review.

Short-term telecommuting. A continuous period of part-time or full-time telecommuting lasting no longer than three months. A semester would not be short-term telecommuting.

Telecommuting. An employment arrangement in which an employee performs their job functions from an approved alternate worksite other than the employee's primary headquarters location (main office), one or more days per month on a standard and recurring basis.

Guidelines

These Guidelines are created in accordance with the minimum standards outlined in University of Wisconsin System (UWS) Administrative Policy 1228: Telecommuting, which contains the eligibility, duration, and form of the telecommuting agreement, limitations, and approval to better facilitate the protocols and procedures for telecommuting at UWSP.

a. Intermittent Telecommuting and Business Travel: Division leaders may delegate intermittent telecommuting and business travel processes and approval to managers or supervisors at their discretion. The approval process for intermittent and business travel would not require a formal telecommuting agreement and the process for request and approval is determined within the division.

b. Short-Term Telecommuting: Short-term telecommuting must be approved by the division leader after being authorized by the supervisor, manager, director/dean. Employees seeking to telecommute will complete the UWSP Telecommuting eForm Request. Once the request is approved, the employee will complete the Telecommuting Application and Approval Form in MyUW.

c. Long-Term Telecommuting: Long-term telecommuting requests will route through the supervisor, manager, director/dean, vice chancellor/division leader, and the chancellor. Employees seeking to telecommute will complete the UWSP Telecommuting eForm Request. Once the request is approved, the employee will complete the Telecommuting Application and Approval Form in MyUW.

Telecommuting requests should focus on the position's duties, the individual's performance, and the individual's ability to comply with the telecommuting agreement requirements and expectations, including but not limited to, liability, utilities, and supplies. It is expected that supervisors will fairly consider the merits of the work and treat all their employees equally as it relates to telecommuting decision making, just as they will do for other workplace matters. However, telecommuting is not a working condition that bestows any right or privilege to be given telecommuting opportunities. It is important to consider the mission of the unit, department, college, division, and University above other conveniences when considering telecommuting. As such, denials of requests for telecommuting are not subject to appeal. However, the rationale for the denial in writing will be given.

If a telecommuting request and agreement are not approved due to the position responsibilities/duties and the individual's telecommuting request is due to a medical condition that falls under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or Title VII, they may request an accommodation through Human Resources. If an accommodation is approved, the Telecommuting Application and Approval form in MyUW is still required.

When telecommuting permits employees to flex their work hours (subject to mission), such a permitted shift cannot create overtime or generate night or weekend differentials unless the supervisor has required and approved the extra hours or modified shift for mission purposes for those who are not FLSA-exempt (are hourly). Otherwise, it is important to consider the normal work hours/days of the unit as expected from those telecommuting.

When telecommuting and the employee is required to attend on-campus activities, travel costs are the responsibility of the employee. Telecommuting is a convenience for the employee and thus, travel costs are not reimbursable.

Supervisor Responsibilities:

  • Supervisors will conduct regular check-ins with their telecommuting employees to provide and receive feedback and maintain professional interpersonal relationships. Pay special attention to discuss the challenges and provide support with resources and removing barriers to completing work effectively and efficiently. Facilitate time for team building with the whole team during these telecommuting arrangements.
  • Consider during initial review and planning the essential activities which an employee will need to be in-person/at a UWSP location. Within the agreement ensure these activities are documented.
  • Make decisions based on a case-by-case basis. Ensure you do not expressly or indirectly create a no-telecommuting environment for your department.
  • As a telecommuting agreement is being created and after, use the supervisor resources available to support effective leadership.

In rare circumstances, a telecommuting agreement outside of Wisconsin may be approved. If an employee with an approved telecommuting policy is considering moving outside of Wisconsin, they need to contact UWSP Human Resources prior to planning or moving forward with any changes. An employee working outside of Wisconsin has employment compliance implications, including, but not limited to, employee taxes.

Position Considerations

The below list provides examples of duties/responsibilities which might not lend well to telecommuting. The list is not all-inclusive and the purpose of providing this list is to support supervisors in review and decision making. Depending on an individual's role and other responsibilities, a part-time telecommuting agreement could be considered if a request is made.

  • Primary responsibility to oversee/manage an in-person front desk for students, faculty, staff, and/or community customer service.
  • Duties that require physical labor to install, repair, update, or clean university equipment or property.
  • In-person instruction activities, i.e., courses taught for students attend class in-person.
  • In-person non-instruction activities, i.e., residential living and dining activities for students and in-person recreational student activities.

Telecommuting Request and Approval Process

Reference the UWSP Telecommuting Request and Agreement Workflow.

Telecommuting Disputes

Denials of a telecommuting agreement will include or have rationale provided by the individual denying the agreement.

Disagreements about an employee's performance management plan should be discussed with the employee's appropriate supervisor level based on the disagreement. For example, if the direct supervisor denied the agreement, then the direct supervisor should be contacted. If a resolution between the employee and supervisor cannot be reached, the employee can contact Human Resources for guidance. These guidelines do not impact or alter already existing grievance policies or procedures. For grievance guidance, contact Human Resources or the appropriate shared governance committee(s).

Related Documents

Regent Policy Document 20-21, University Personnel Systems
Regent Policy Document 25-3. Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources
Regent Policy Document 25-5, Information Technology: Information Security
UWSA SYS 1227: Standard Office Hours, Legal Holidays and Other UW System Institution Closures
UWSA SYS 1228: Telecommuting
UWSA SYS 1230: Workplace Safety
UW System Telecommuting Guidelines for Supervisors

 Telecommuting Approval and Request Process

UWSP Telecommuting Request and Agreement Workflow

There are two steps to request a telecommuting arrangement.

1. Use the Interim Telecommuting Initial Request and Approval Process to initially request the ability to telecommute.

  • eForm coming soon!
2. Complete the UW System Telecommuting Agreement within My UW once a UWSP Telecommuting Request eForm is approved.

UWS Telecommuting Agreement Tipsheets:

 Additional Resources to Support Telecommuting Success

Use the below resource in addition to the telecommuting agreement and resources above to support telecommuting planning and success.

Initial Conversation

Have an initial conversation to support preparing for telecommunication.

Manager/Supervisor: Think through the following questions prior to your conversation with the employee:

  • What are your expectations for accomplishing work remotely? (Be specific)
  • What resources are available to support the employee's success?
  • How regularly do you plan to meet with the employee (daily, twice per week, weekly) and by what method (Zoom, Teams, phone)?
  • What barriers or obstacles might exist for the employee which could influence their productivity or work product?
  • What reasons, if any, exist for the employee to be at a UWSP location? How often will the employee be expected to be at a UWSP location?
  • How and where will changes to general information be documented? (Formal changes to the telecommuting agreement should be made by updating the telecommuting agreement)
Faculty/Staff: Think through the following questions prior to your conversation with your manager:
  • What challenges have you had at work recently? If the role has been at a UWSP location, how might those challenges exist or change in a remote work situation?
  • What resources do you need to support your success?
  • How are your time management skills? (be honest)
  • Do you have all of the contact information needed to complete work effectively?
  • Do you have high-speed internet access at the location you'll be working? If not, will you be able to get access?
  • How and where will decisions be documented? Will you create a central and shared location?
  • Do you feel safe at home and/or have personal resources to meet your personal needs? (see below resources)

If you feel unsafe in your home, please see these community resources for support:

If you are concerned about access to food or housing, please reference the Portage County Community Resources Directory and reach out to services you need.

Telecommuting Best Practices

Use best practices and the resources within the below document to support success.

UWSP Telecommuting Best Practices

Telecommuting Documentation Templates

Manager/Supervisor: Use the below templates to organize projects and staff priorities. Other good tools for documenting/tracking projects/tasks are Microsoft OneNote notebooks and/or Planner. Use and update the resources which support your department's success the most.

Remote Work Plan Template

Time Management-Documentation Template

Information Technology Resources

Telecommuting and Remote Computer Access - Information Technology

Center for Inclusive Teaching and Learning Resources

Center for Inclusive Teaching and Learning

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