COVID-19 Information for Faculty/Staff: Telecommuting/Working Remotely

Abstract image of campus science building.

If approved to telecommute, do I need to fill out a formal Telecommuting Agreement?

All employees who can work from home should continue to do so for Summer and Fall 2020. Administrators should continue to support telecommuting and flexible schedules. If there are critical operational needs to warrant increasing on-campus staffing, please work with your respective Vice President for approval.

Employees who are working remotely should have aTelecommuting Agreement form on file and do not need to complete a new one for Summer or Fall 2020. The forms are to be provided to each divisional Vice President and do not need additional HR approval.

Am I required to have a dedicated home office to telecommute?

The employee and supervisor determine the equipment and supplies necessary for the employee to perform the duties of their position.

I have been approved to telecommute, but I do not have proper equipment. What can I do?

In order to perform their work effectively, employees may use University equipment at the telecommuting location, with the approval of their supervisor. The equipment must be protected against damage and may be used for University work only. University-owned equipment will be serviced and maintained by the University. Employees must have all state property that is removed from their University workplace documented in accordance with the University Equipment Checkout Policy.

How much notice is required to start/end telecommuting?

The employee and supervisor establish telecommuting start and end dates. The employee and/or supervisor may end participation in the program at any time.

What are some helpful tips for telecommuting?

  • Set a clear schedule. Make sure your family, friends, and housemates understand that you should not be interrupted during work hours.
  • If your work hours coincide with others being at home, you will need to establish your own workspace. Many people use a spare bedroom, but a corner of the kitchen or a spot next to a favorite window may work great too. Decorate your space with items that you find inspiring or encouraging or that help you stay focused.
  • Maintain separate work and personal email accounts. If you need to check work emails in the evening or on weekends, limit it to a scheduled time (such as right after dinner). Consider if an email requires an immediate response or if it can wait until you are back on duty.
  • Create “clock in” and “clock out” rituals. Use a morning task such as making coffee to get into work mode. When you are finished for the day, it may be helpful to do something that forces you to disengage from your computer, such as doing chores or taking a walk.
  • It can be awfully tempting to roll out of bed, grab a cup of coffee, and head to the office. Resist that urge. There is a lot of benefit from making a physical transformation to begin the workday, even if that means just changing into something simple.
  • Do not sleep in. Really. Create a consistent rhythm to your days including a regular start time. Also, try not to linger. Working out of the home office means that work is always accessible. When you are done, try to stay done.
  • Admittedly this might depend on the amount of space you have at your disposal, but try mixing up how you work in your environment. Answer emails at a standing desk. Write memos/letters sitting down in a chair with a laptop. The changing perspective and movement helps keep you healthy and ideas flowing.
  • The thing most people fear about working out of a home office is that sense of being disconnected from a social office environment. Do not hesitate to call/text/message/skype/video conference/etc. colleagues to check in. Not every communication needs a specific goal.
  • Video conferencing is a great tool for remote working, but there is plenty of room for missteps. One of the biggest is that unfortunate tendency to look at the screen instead of the camera when you are talking. One trick is to put a picture of someone you like to talk to adjacent to the camera and talk to them when you are making that excellent point.
  • This one is really important for those of you with kids who can get REALLY excited when mom or dad is now home during the day. There is no such thing as "off limits space" for a kid, so just let them in. When you DO need privacy, a better bet is a mutually understood sign or signal that lets them know that, for the moment, the home office is out of bounds.

Additional resources can be found at

How do I ensure my home workspace meets safety standards?

There is a helpful safety checklist available at the following link