Rolling out new telecommuting tools

To: UC Santa Cruz Faculty and Staff

From: Sarah Latham, Vice Chancellor, Business and Administrative Services

COVID-19 has resulted in broad changes to our operations and how we work. This includes the expansion of employees working remotely from home or other off-site locations. While in many cases, remote work is situational and will eventually return to working on-site, there are other cases in which working remotely, part-time or full-time, can be a long-term model for our employees. Throughout the pandemic, I have received feedback from many employees inquiring about whether remote working arrangements can be expanded permanently. Depending on the specifics of a particular job and the needs of the department, the answer to that question could be yes.

Early in the pandemic, as part of the Operations and Employee Recovery and Resiliency Task Force, we launched a Leveraging Opportunities Workgroup. The purpose of this group, chaired by Associate Vice Chancellor for Financial Affairs and Campus Controller Biju Kamaleswaran, was to identify the opportunities that emerge from COVID-19 and the ways in which we can enhance and improve operations long-term based on our successful adaptations. Their first assignment was focused on telecommuting. Through their diligent work, we now have several new tools that support both Situational Telecommuting (i.e., working remotely due to COVID-19 that will not continue long-term) and Routine Telecommuting and Remote Work (i.e., working remotely part-time or full-time that is implemented because it works well long-term for the employee and their department and will continue beyond COVID-19). These tools are outlined below. These new documents supersede the prior Staff HR Manager's Guide and sample agreement that have been in place for several years. 

Situational Telecommuting: Current COVID-19 situation

  • Guidelines: Provides employees and managers with expectations and requirements for working remotely without a pre-established alternative work arrangement. Areas addressed include duties and assignments, communication, work environment, safety, equipment, and reimbursable expenses.

Routine Telecommuting (working part-time off-site) & Remote Work (working full-time off-site)

  • Guidelines: Provides employees and managers with requirements for established telecommuting and remote work arrangements, including eligibility, work schedules, availability, communication, and remote worksite safety.
  • Self-Assessment: A one-page survey that helps inform compatibility for working remotely with criteria including appropriate job duties, success in current position, self-management, flexibility, communication skills and an appropriate remote working environment.
  • Self-Certification Safety Checklist: Guides the employee in assessing the overall safety of the proposed alternate worksite and computer workstation, including UCSC ergonomics training and worksite assessment.
  • Agreement: Outlines agreed-upon conditions, requirements and expectations to ensure successful telecommuting and remote work arrangements. This document is prepared jointly by the employee and manager and subject to the department head/senior manager’s approval.

Resource Needs for Remote Worksites: Key resources along with sourcing options to help support employees in optimizing their remote worksites.

We will be hosting a Telecommuting Resources Roundtable on November 20, 2020, from 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM. This will include an opportunity to hear more about the tools outlined in this email, as well as to hear from subject matter experts about the best practices for working remotely. You may submit a question in advance for our panel here. Roundtable dial-in information will be shared soon.