Remote Work Procedures

Part 1: Introductory

1. 0 Purpose

1.1

The purpose of this procedures guide is to provide guidance on the process for considering and approving appropriate remote work arrangements at the College, and to support the implementation of remote work arrangements that have received management approval. The procedures set out the process that employees and management are to follow in relation to requests for remote work.

2.0 Definitions

2.1

“Management” or “Manager” refers to an individual who is responsible for managing employees within a particular department or academic program at the College. Management may include an Executive Director, Director, Dean, Manager, Chair or equivalents.

2.2

“College Worksite” means any College-occupied building, site, mobile vehicle, or any other premises or location whether indoors or outdoors in which one or more employees, or self-employed persons, are engaged in work or have worked. regular

2.3

“Remote Work” is a work arrangement in which some or all of the work by an employee is performed from home or another approved off-site location, usually with the aid of technology resources such as a telephone, laptop and other technology tools. At the College, the types of remote work include: Periodic Remote Work, Blended Remote Work, Primary Remote Work and Critical Situation Remote Work. Remote work changes an employee’s work location. Remote work does not change an employee’s hours of work or basic terms and conditions of employment with the College.

2.4

“Remote Work Agreement” is an approved arrangement between the College and an employee for the employee to work remotely. The agreement shall stipulate whether the remote work arrangement is for an ongoing basis or for a specified period of time. Typically, the agreement will be in writing, unless the remote work arrangement is due to a critical situation.

2.5

“Workplace” is any place where an employee is engaged in work for their employer. This includes locations where work is being performed outdoors, on third-party premises or from the employee’s home.An approved remote workplace such as a home office, is considered and is an extension of the workplace.

3.0 Application

3.1

These procedures apply to all employees of the College, including faculty/instructors and non-academic staff.

Part 2: Procedures

4.0 Departmental Assessment and Employee Suitability Considerations

4.1

The ability to work remotely will be determined based on departmental needs, position responsibilities and team accountabilities. Not all positions are eligible for remote work. Some positions, or particular aspects of some positions, will not be suitable for this type of arrangement due to the nature of the work responsibilities or required location or schedule. For example, positions requiring extensive in-person contact with students, members of the public, or other employees, or positions which require the employee to frequently access material that cannot be removed from a College worksite, may not be appropriate for remote work arrangements. Remote work must not negatively impact departmental operations or result in decreased productivity, added organizational costs, or added responsibilities for other employees. Remote work may also impact workspace layout, function and assignment.

4.2

Remote work arrangements are not considered an entitlement. All remote work arrangements require management’s prior approval. Management decisions related to remote work will be made in accordance with these procedures.

4.3

Prior to considering any employee request for remote work, management must assess the suitability of remote work to their departmental area, by completing the Departmental Assessment Tool. Once completed, recommendations must be submitted for review and approval. Assessments completed by Managers/Chairs; must be submitted to their Directors/Deans for review/approval. Assessments completed by Directors/Deans; must be submitted to their Executive Directors (or equivalents) for review/approval. All recommendations should be reviewed or acknowledged by the Executive Director (or equivalent). Human Resource Services is available to consult with management in completing such assessments.

4.4

Where the assessment of department suitability has been approved, management shall be in a position to consider employee remote work requests, and employees shall be eligible to make such requests. Management shall consider employee remote work requests in a fair and transparent manner.

4.5

Eligible employees may make a request to management for the following three (3) types of voluntary remote work arrangements (detailed definitions are set out in the Remote Work Policy):

  1. Periodic Remote Work is available to eligible employees who are based primarily at a College worksite. This remote work arrangement allows employees the flexibility to work from home or another remote location on a recurring or reoccurring basis (such as 1-2 days per week or per month); or for a short fixed term duration. Requests for periodic remote workdays must be made in writing to management with as much notice as possible.
  2. Blended Remote Work is a remote work arrangement whereby the employee most frequently works remotely (generally 60-80% of the time), with the balance of their work performed at a College worksite. Under this arrangement, the employee may not have an assigned desk and/or office and may be assigned to a shared workspace.
  3. Primary Remote Work whereby an employee’s primary work location is their remote work place, and they rarely (if ever) are required to attend a College worksite. This is a rare arrangement that is typically approved at the time an employee accepts their position at the College.

4.6

Employees requesting a remote work arrangement shall provide the details of the request to their manager in writing, with adequate notice of the desired dates by using the Employee Request Form. Employees are expected to provide their manager with any and all information relevant to the request (i.e., requested remote work days and proposed work location, details of the remote office setup, etc.) in order to allow management to assess and reach a decision.

4.7

For each employee in their department requesting a remote work arrangement, management shall complete the Managers Assessment Tool. Management shall use the tool to determine whether the employee is a suitable candidate for remote work. Considerations include the operational feasibility and operational requirements of the College, as well as cost-effectiveness of the arrangement, the employee’s demonstrated work habits and satisfactory work performance, and the anticipated impact on other employees and productivity.

4.8

Based on the form, management will approve, modify, or deny the remote work request. Management shall provide their decision to the employee in writing within a reasonable timeframe, and a copy of the form and decision shall be provided to Human Resource Services.

4.9

Where management approves a Blended Remote Work arrangement for an employee, the manager and employee shall discuss, review and complete a remote work agreement using the Remote Work AgreementTemplate. The completed and signed agreement shall be provided to Human Resource Services.

4.10

Where a manager approves a Periodic Remote Work arrangement for an employee, the manager and employee shall discuss, review and complete a remote work agreement using the Remote Work AgreementTemplate. The completed and signed agreement shall be provided to Human Resource Services.

4.11

Where a remote work agreement is established, management has the authority to regularly review remote work arrangements and modify or terminate a remote work arrangement with appropriate notice as set out in the remote work procedures and/or the collective bargaining agreement or employment agreement

4.12

Management may require the employee to attend a College worksite for various purposes, regardless of the remote work agreement. Management will endeavour to provide as much notice as possible. Where travel to and parking at a College worksite is required, costs associated with such travel and parking will not be reimbursable. Generally, commuting from the employee’s remote work location to a College worksite will not be recorded as time worked.

4.13

A Remote Work Agreement Template is not required for occasional “one off” remote work days occurring on an irregular basis (i.e., occasional requests to remotely). In the case of “one off” remote work days, the employee is still required to obtain the prior approval of management to work remotely. The request to work remotely should be made with as much notice as is possible in the circumstances.

4.14

Employees who are applying for a remote work arrangement must familiarize themselves with the Remote Work Policy, procedures, and all other applicable College policies and procedures.

4.15

Employees must maintain a record of all days worked remotely, by using the work from home ‘WH’ attendance code to reflect any hours worked remotely in their bi-weekly attendance record.

5.0 Safety and Health Requirements

5.1

Management and employees are responsible for ensuring that the remote work arrangement meets all safety and health requirements. Prior to implementing any remote work arrangement, the manager and employee must review and complete the Safety and Health Services Department’s Remote Workplace Safety Checklist. Management must be satisfied that the proposed remote work location meets the criteria set out in the checklist. Safety and Health Services is available for consultation with management about any concerns.

5.2

Management is responsible for responding to emerging safety and health concerns that are brought to their attention.

5.3

Employees are required to report any workplace injuries occurring in a remote work location during work hours by contacting their manager or Safety and Health Services.

6.0 IT and Data Security

6.1

Management and employees are responsible to ensure that all sensitive information can be properly secured and protected from loss. Plans must be in place and documented in the remote work agreement to identify how any physical copies of sensitive information kept in the remote location will be stored, protected, and appropriately disposed of. IT Security and Compliance will provide direction for appropriate storage and disposal of physical documents at remote locations.

7.0 Equipment and Supplies

7.1

The College will supply employees with an approved remote work arrangement with the essential equipment and supplies required for the performance of their position responsibilities, as determined by management.

7.2

Management shall make determinations about essential equipment and supplies in a consistent and cost-effective manner. In most cases, one set of essential equipment shall be provided.

7.3

Management is required to track and record each employee’s assigned equipment. The employee is responsible for keeping all such equipment safe, secure, and in good condition and for using it in accordance with the Remote Work Policy.

7.4

Generally, it is expected that employees will acquire all essential equipment and supplies through College/departmental procurement processes and retrieve all essential equipment and supplies from a College worksite. Only in extremely limited and unique circumstances will an employee be reimbursed for an equipment or supply purchases made outside of the College, and the employee must have manager pre-approval before the purchase is made. The use of a College credit card does not override this provision.

8.0 Remote Work and Employee Use of Sick Days

8.1

Employee safety and health is of paramount importance. Where an employee is unable to be at work (whether at a College worksite or approved remote work location) and perform regular duties as a result of illness or injury, the employee shall notify their manager as soon as is practicable in the circumstances and make use of the requisite sick leave in accordance with College policy.

8.2

In situations where an employee has had symptoms of an illness but feels well enough to perform their regular duties, remote work, on a ‘one off’ basis may be appropriate to enable the employee to continue to work while limiting their contact with others and reducing the possible spread of illness. However, remote work should never be used in place of taking sick days or other forms of approved leave.

9.0 Remote Work During Short-term Unforeseen Campus Closures

9.1

Where the College or a specific campus is closed due to adverse weather conditions or some other unforeseeable, time-limited issue, the procedures set out in the College’s Short-term Unforeseen Campus Closures Policy (H17) shall be followed. Generally, in these situations, employees of the College who have the ability to work effectively remotely will be expected to do so.

10.0 Critical Situation Procedures

10.1

The Remote Work Procedures may be modified in the event of a critical situation. Critical Situation Remote Work may arise as a result of circumstances outside the College’s control, such as:

  1. Public health emergencies, where public health officials have directed employees to work remotely where possible (such as COVID-19);
  2. Force majeure events (i.e., irresistible forces or unforeseen events or effects which cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled, such as a natural disaster);

10.2

In such instances, remote work may be mandatory as opposed to voluntary for all or some employees, and the arrangement will be temporary in nature.

10.3

Remote work, as a result of a critical situation, does not alter the nature or typical work arrangements of any position.

10.4

In a critical situation, employees will follow the direction of management. Management will endeavor to provide employees with as much notice as possible of any modified procedures. 

11.0 Additional Resources

11.1

Additional resources to support effective remote work for both management and employees are posted on Staff Forum.