Policies and Procedures Manual

Chapter 5: Personnel

05:08:23   Non-Faculty Staff Telecommuting

Related Policies and Guidelines

TBR Policy 5.01.01.20 Alternate Work Arrangements

Northeast State Policy 03:02:01 Access

Northeast State Policy 03:02:03 Respect for State-owned Property

Northeast State Policy 04:04:00 Cannibalizing Equipment

Northeast State Policy 04:08:00 Computer Resources

Introduction / Scope

This policy is intended to set the standards for a consistent process and treatment of employees regarding telecommuting at Northeast State Community College, including the main campus and instructional sites. Availability of telecommuting is at the discretion of the College and subject to change with or without notice. This policy applies only to non-faculty employees.

Policy Statement

  1. It is the policy of Northeast State Community College to allow or require employees, in appropriate situations, to telecommute. Telecommuting agreements must comply with all applicable federal, state, and College regulations and laws.

  2. Telecommuting may not be suitable for all employees or positions. Telecommuting is not an employee benefit; no College employee is entitled to or guaranteed the opportunity to telecommute. 

Definitions

  1. Telecommuting - A work arrangement in which supervisors authorize employees to perform their usual job duties away from their central workplace per work agreements.

  2. Work Schedule - The employee's hours of work in the central workplace and/or in the alternate work location. The required number of work hours will not change due to telecommuting, and telecommuters are responsible for reporting time worked, leave used, and adhering to College attendance policies.  Compensatory time or overtime must be pre-approved by the division vice president.

  3. Central Workplace (main campus and instructional sites) - The employer's place of work where employees normally are located/assigned.

  4. Remote Work Site - An acceptable and secure site, as determined by the supervising vice president, for performing job duties and responsibilities outside the central workplace.

  5. Telecommuting Agreement (Work Agreement) - The written agreement between the institution and the employee that details the terms and conditions of an employee's work schedule, whether away from or at the central workplace. Work agreements are required for any telecommuting work arrangement. 

Responsibilities

  1. The Office of Human Resources is responsible for the administration and implementation of the Telecommuting Policy.

  2. The Office of Human Resources will audit and maintain records on telecommuting agreements for eligible personnel to ensure compliance with all College and Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) policies, as well as state and federal laws. Human Resources will provide training and guidance on the application of the telecommuting policy and procedures.

  3. Vice presidents of divisions and other executives reporting directly to the president are responsible for ensuring that the requests they approve are within the scope of this policy and that they establish the following quality assurance controls, where applicable:

    1. Individual employees' work responsibilities and duties, including shared departmental responsibilities designed to meet student expectations and organizational goals, cannot be limited or adjusted to accommodate the initiation or continuance of the telecommuting agreement.
    2. All work objectives and tasks must be clearly defined with measurable results for the telecommuting position.
    3. The telecommuting position should require minimal supervision and in-person contact with customers. The employee should demonstrate work habits and performance suited to successful telecommuting.
    4. Supervisors will use the institutions' normal performance management system to define the performance expectations clearly and to assess the employee's performance. If a decline in performance is noted, the telecommuting arrangement may be canceled.
    5. Telecommuting duties must be arranged so as not to alter the essential job responsibilities nor compromise the level of service provided to the customer, either by the employee or the department.
    6. Telecommuters are considered employees of Northeast State Community College and must, like all employees, adhere to all College and TBR Policies, as well as state and federal laws.

Compliance

  1. All employees wishing to telecommute must complete a Telecommuting Agreement and secure departmental supervisors' approval as indicated on the form. Once approved, the supervisor must submit the form to the Office of Human Resources before the employee begins working from a remote worksite. Failure to do so may result in the inability to telecommute.

  2. Telecommuting agreements must be reviewed at least every three (3) months and can be reviewed subsequently at the request of the employee or supervisor to ensure that the needs of the employee, department, and customer service requirements are being met.  Additional reviews must also coincide with the annual performance review process.

  3. All Northeast State policies, rules, and practices apply at the remote worksite:

    The employee will maintain a telecommuting site that is free from potential hazards. In the event of a job-related injury, the employee must report the event to his/her supervisor and the Human Resources Department.

  4. Failure to follow policies, rules, and practices may result in termination of the telecommuting arrangement and disciplinary action. 

Alternative Work Arrangement Procedures 

The supervisor and the employee, in consultation with the division vice president, must complete a telecommuting agreement. The agreement will provide details of the telecommuting work option and be signed by the employee, the supervisor, and the division vice president. It will be filed with the Office of Human Resources. 

Work Schedule and Accessibility

  1. The required number of work hours will not change due to telecommuting, and telecommuters are responsible for reporting time worked, leave used, and adhering to College attendance policies. Compensatory time or overtime must be pre-approved by the division vice president.

  2. If dependent care interferes with the employee's ability to perform the duties of their position, alternate dependent care should be secured.

  3. The supervisor and employee must agree on the manner and timing of communication between the telecommuting site and the central work site. The employee must be reachable via telephone or e-mail during agreed-upon hours of accessibility.

  4. Evaluation of telecommuter performance may include daily interaction by phone and e-mail between the employee and the supervisor and regularly scheduled meetings to discuss work progress and problems. The supervisor and telecommuter will communicate at a level consistent with employees working at the office or in a manner and frequency that seems appropriate for the job and the individuals involved.

  5. All telecommuting agreements are subject to temporary suspension as deemed necessary by a supervisor to fulfill departmental functions during high-demand events or special activities. 

Supplies, Equipment, and Furniture

  1. Before the purchase or installation of college-owned equipment, furniture, or supplies, the supervisor must authorize any expenditure.  All purchasing will follow Northeast State's purchasing guidelines. The department may provide standard office supplies.

  2. The employee will be responsible for providing furniture and equipment at the remote worksite unless otherwise specified in the Telecommuting Agreement. College-owned equipment must be noted on the completed Telecommuting Agreement. The department and telecommuter must follow the College guidelines regarding the assignment and care of College property.

  3. Employee's telecommuting computers shall comply with all Northeast State Community College guidelines for the use of hardware and software, including virus protection software, licensing provisions, system security, and passwords.

  4. Northeast State Community College is not responsible for loss, damage, or wear of the telecommuter's own equipment. Repair and replacement costs and liability for privately owned equipment and furniture used during telecommuting is the responsibility of the telecommuter.

  5. All College equipment must be returned to Northeast State for servicing. Repair and/or replacement costs and liability for normal use and wear of College property are the responsibility of Northeast State Community College. Northeast State may pursue recovery from the telecommuter for College property damaged or destroyed while in the employee's care due to improper use. 

Allowances and Reimbursable Expenses

  1. In addition to the provided supplies and equipment (e.g., a computer, laptop, monitor, peripherals), no additional expenses are covered under the telecommuting program.

  2. If the telecommuter has a legitimate business expense (e.g., office supplies), they must get approval from their supervisor, and it will be subject to the College's purchasing policy and procedures.

  3. Telecommuters are responsible for providing reliable Internet and phone service at their remote work location.

  4. Employees cannot submit mileage and/or meal charges in connection with travel to/from a remote work site to a central workplace. 

Recordkeeping

  1. All College records and files temporarily stored at the telecommuter's remote worksite remain the College's property. Products, documents, and records that are used developed, or revised while telecommuting must be returned to the College when requested, at the end of the telecommuting agreement or employment termination. Procedures for storage and transfers of College records will be based on the department's needs and equipment availability.

  2. The employee will protect all confidential College information from unauthorized access.

    1. The remote work site should be one that will not interfere with the employee’s participation in telephonic or video meetings or lead to the inadvertent disclosure of confidential or proprietary information to third parties at the remote worksite.
    2. Employees remain subject to all FERPA and College confidentiality requirements while telecommuting. Employees are reminded of their obligation to protect the College’s proprietary information at all times regardless of where they are working and to be mindful of confidentiality considerations when telecommuting.
    3. Employees are strongly discouraged from taking paperwork and documents bearing any FERPA or confidential information home or to a telecommuting location. If the employee is required to take any such paperwork or documents for use when telecommuting by a supervisor, the employee is required to keep all items secure and safe from inadvertent disclosure, including through loss or destruction.

  3. The Telecommuting Agreement can be obtained from Human Resources.


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Divisional Review Responsibilities Checklist: Human Resources

Revision History: Adopted: Feb. 2021