Procedures

  • Use the Remote Work Assessment tool to determine if remote work is a good fit for the job and remote location.

  • If the assessment indicates that remote work is a viable option, review the Remote Work Expectations Worksheet  to help the conversation between you and your employee.  This will help you identify how you will continue to communicate, collaborate, and fulfill your job responsibilities as you work remotely.

Guidelines

Note:  BOR regulations are in black.  Additional explanation are in grey.

This regulation applies to all university employees who are not on approved leave.  

Remote work refers to an employee working at any other place other than a University of Alaska on-campus location. Employees may work remotely for a variety of reasons. These may include checking email while on vacation, working from a hotel room while in travel status for attending a conference, meeting a potential donor at their office, working from home two days a week on a regular basis, etc.  The Remote Work regulations (R04.01.051) apply to all employees working remotely no matter the frequency, the location, or the circumstances. However, many of these remote work situations do not require a formal remote work agreement.  These guidelines are to help employees and their supervisors to understand remote work, the obligations of employees and supervisors in a remote work situation and the process for when a formal remote work agreement is needed. 

Employees who are on any kind of approved leave are not working, and this regulation would not apply.  For example, faculty on sabbatical are considered to be on leave from their university duties.  Other scenarios include employees that are taking care of a family member while on continuous Family Medical Leave, employees on annual or sick leave, etc. 

Remote work is a management-approved arrangement in which the employee works at a location away from a university managed workplace. Under this arrangement, the employee maintains close contact with their supervisor and coworkers through various forms of communication technology and fulfills all performance expectations.

Remote work requirements

Work Hours and Scheduling 

  • The employee shall be reachable by supervisor approved communication methods during the employee’s work hours. 
  • The employee shall be on-site at their department or program to attend required meetings and training sessions, and to perform work as requested by the supervisor. 

Remote Work Location and Safety 

  • The employee shall maintain an appropriate remote workplace. The university is not responsible for costs associated with setup, maintenance, or utilities (including telecommunications) of a remote work location, or the tax, insurance and other legal implications of remote work. The responsibility for understanding and fulfilling all such obligations shall rest solely with the employee. 

Utilities include internet, phone, electricity, water, heat, etc.  The university does not normally provide office furniture at the remote location such as desks and chairs, etc.  

Contacting emergency services (e.g., 911) when working remotely should be done from a personal landline or mobile device. 

  • An employee with a disability who desires a remote work arrangement as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act shall submit a request to the affirmative action coordinator in accordance with University Regulation 04.02.033 and engage in the ADA process.
  • The university reserves the right to access the remote workplace in order to assess the occupational safety of the workplace, or to investigate any claims against the university arising out of or connected with the remote workplace.  The university will, as needed, arrange such access with the employee at a mutually convenient time during normal business hours.  

An assessment for the occupational safety of the workplace does not, in most cases, require an onsite inspection.  These assessments can occur in many different formats such as a self-assessment questionnaire, submission of photos of the work site, video or Zoom inspection, etc. If an on-site assessment is needed, this will be coordinated through the university risk services office. 

There are some situations in which an onsite inspection would be required. For example, employees who are injured at the remote workplace while completing their duties may have a workers compensation claim that needs to be investigated and may require photos or inspection of the physical location. This claim would require the university of a university representative to visit the site.  

Visits to the remote workplace will be arranged in advance and at a mutually negotiated date and time. 

  • The employee shall immediately report to the supervisor any work related injuries occurring at or which are related to the workplace.  
  • The university is not responsible for injury to any other person or to property arising out of the use of or activities at the remote workplace. 
  • The employee shall not hold in-person business visits or meetings at the employee's remote workplace unless specifically authorized in writing by the employee's supervisor.

Equipment 

  • Pursuant to Board of Regents’ Policy P04.10.010, the use of university equipment is governed by the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act and may not be used to benefit personal or financial interests.
  • All equipment, records and materials provided by the university remain the property of the university and shall be immediately returned to the university upon separation of service or upon request, whichever occurs first. 

For example, if you terminate your employment, you will return your equipment. Supervisors and employees should take into consideration how equipment will be issued and returned to the university. University procurement, receiving, and accounts payable processes must be followed as appropriate.

  • Employees are responsible for maintenance and repair of personal equipment.  

Equipment includes personal technical devices, but also desk, chairs, book shelves, etc. 

  • The university is not liable for loss, damage, repair, or wear to employee-owned equipment.
  • Information Resources Equipment
    1. University-owned equipment is preferred for university work at remote locations.  
    2. Any use of personally-owned information resource equipment is subject to R02.07.066
    3. Supervisors may prohibit use of personally-owned information resource equipment.  

Using personal equipment exposes university to risks and requires employees to give up certain rights (i.e. confiscation of personal property). It is better for the university to provide the equipment to make sure security measures are kept up to date on computers.

Supervisors should be following their department/institutions best practices when assessing whether or not to allow use of personal devices. In general, employees should use university-provided equipment. 

The university does not generally provide phones or cell phone allowance. Use of phones for multi-factor authentication is not considered a business use of a personal device. However, use of a personal phone for checking emails, downloading documents, etc, is considered use of a personal device for business purposes and may be subject to confiscation. 

Information Security 

  • Employees shall comply with all laws, rules and procedures applicable to university employment, including Regents’ Policy and University Regulation 02.06, and shall safeguard all information. 
  • Employees shall ensure that appropriate security mechanisms are present and enabled on all equipment used for university business, and shall ensure that security updates are maintained on such equipment consistent with guidance provided by UA Information Technology. 

Security measures are established by the university IT offices.  

University owned equipment should already have the proper security measures installed. Employees should not disable them. If there is a problem with the equipment, contact the university IT offices for assistance. Subsequent versions of the guidelines will include direct links to the IT resources and guidance.

  • The employee shall return all documents, equipment, and information (physical or electronic) to the university at the end of the assignment or upon request. 
  • The university shall follow the procedures applicable to university-owned equipment in Regents’ Policy and University Regulation 02.07. 

Geographic differential

  • Any geographic differential will only be paid if the employee is working in the same geographical area as their campus.

People that are working remotely from a location with a geographic differential and who work for a campus with a geographic differential will receive a geographic differential based on their assigned campus. Exceptions to this are allowed by the chancellor’s approval. 

  • The employee will be responsible for any expenses for travel to or from the remote work location, except as otherwise specified and approved by the supervisor. Travel at university expense must comply with University Regulation 05.02.060. 
  • If these regulations conflict with an applicable collective bargaining agreement, the provisions of the bargaining unit agreement shall take precedence over this regulation.

Remote Work Approval

  • Remote work must be approved in advance by the employee’s supervisor. 

Working conditions, schedules, job requirements are the responsibility of the supervisor and discussions between the supervisor and employee should be occurring when considering a remote work arrangement. 

  • Prior to approval, the supervisor will ensure that remote work supports the position’s purpose and the institution’s objectives.

If the employee and supervisor do not agree on the outcome of the discussion, then this would be handled the same as any employee/supervisor disagreement.

An assessment of the position, the remote workplace and the employee’s abilities to work remotely should be conducted to help the supervisor to determine the appropriateness of a long term remote work arrangement. Assessment and discussion of the workplace is required in order to assure a long-term physical work arrangement that will promote proper work space ergonomics to reduce potential injury and create a safe working environment. 

UA HR is available to help support supervisor and employee discussions.

An assessment tool is available to help supervisors and employees identify if remote work is appropriate.  This tool is developed and maintained by HR and is available on the website.  

  • Remote work arrangements are granted on a revocable basis. 

Revocable by the supervisor only. If an employee would like to return to the office, then a conversation should occur with the supervisor and a request made to revoke the agreement.  

If the remote work is required as a condition of employment it should be part of the position description. If remote work is no longer feasible, the change must be reflected in a revised position description which would be reviewed by HR following their normal process.

  • UA Human Resources maintains a formal remote work request and agreement process. The purpose of a formal remote work agreement is to:
    • document the arrangement, including the work schedule and location;
    • ensure tax compliance, and;
    • document mutual understanding of university regulations.

The employee will request a remote work arrangement from the supervisor. The supervisors may complete the remote work assessment. If, based on the supervisor’s assessment, remote work is an option, the employee and supervisor will work together regarding schedule, location, expectations, etc. 

  • Supervisors or employees may elect to use the formal process at any time.  The formal remote work agreement is mandatory when:
    • the remote work recurs on a regular basis and is significant (more than 20% of biweekly time), or;
    • the remote location is out of state for 30 days or more per calendar year.

 

Post-COVID Workplace Project