Telecommuting

High-performing exempt employees whose job responsibilities are suited to working remotely may be allowed, requested, or required to perform some of their work from off campus under specific circumstances. 

Purpose/Reason for Policy: To facilitate arrangements under which employees may meet their responsibilities to the College while telecommuting as part of their work schedule. 

Scope/Covered Persons: This option is only available to Guilford College staff who are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act [exempt]. Faculty members are governed by other policies and contractual considerations and are not limited by these provisions. Hourly staff are not eligible for telecommuting. 

Definitions:  

Telecommuting: A work-at-home arrangement or a remote-access arrangement where job responsibilities are undertaken off campus for at least part of the workweek on a regular basis. 

The Policy:  Each request to telecommute will be decided on an individual basis under the guidelines set forth below. In certain cases, telecommuting may be a requirement of the position, and employees will be so notified at the time of hire.

Eligibility: Situations where a telecommuting option may be considered: 

  • The employee has demonstrated sustained high performance
  • The manager believes that the employee can maintain the expected quantity and quality of work while telecommuting.
  • Quality of service can be maintained for students, faculty, and other members of the department and College community.
  • The nature of the employee’s job does not require being present on a regular basis.
  • Telecommuting does not require that other employees take on additional work that is not already part of their jobs.

Situations where a telecommuting option would not be considered:

  • The nature of the job requires the employee's physical presence (e.g. telecommuting may not be appropriate where the employee must supervise the work of other employees), or efficiency is compromised when the employee is not present.
  • The employee's performance evaluations do not indicate sustained high performance.
  • The employee's observed productivity levels are not satisfactory and/or consistent.
  • The employee requires close supervision as indicated, for example, by the employee's consistent need for guidance on technical matters.
  • The employee's current assignment requires frequent supervision, direction or input from others who are on-site.
  • The employee has received disciplinary action or has a demonstrated attendance problem.
  • The employee has fewer than six months of service in the administrative unit or division (except in the limited circumstances described below).

Telecommuting is not intended to permit employees the flexibility to work at other jobs or to run their own businesses.

In some cases, departments may wish, as a recruitment tool, to permit a new employee to telecommute as part of the hiring arrangement. The person responsible for approving telecommuting arrangements in the division or administrative unit should contact the HR office to request a waiver of the six-month waiting period.  

Permission to telecommute is dependent upon the employee having a suitable work location at the off-site premises, and on compliance with the requirements set forth below.

Roles and Responsibilities: Vice presidents of each division are authorized to approve telecommuting arrangements.

Compliance: Failure to fulfill normal work requirements, both qualitative and quantitative may be cause for revocation of telecommuting privileges, disciplinary action or termination of employment.

Procedures: Initiation of a telecommuting arrangement can be at the request of either the College or the employee. Permission to engage in telecommuting is at the discretion of the division or administrative unit in which the employee is employed. Participation in telecommuting is voluntary on the part of the employee, except in cases where the position requires it and notification has been provided to the employee at the time of hire. Employees who wish to telecommute must first discuss the request with their immediate supervisor, who must support the request prior to executive approval.
The following guidelines apply to telecommuting arrangements: 

  • Employees must maintain a normal workload.
  • A specific work schedule, including work days and hours, must be agreed upon in advance.
  • Employees must be on site as necessary to attend meetings, training sessions, or similar events or occurrences; costs for travel and lodging are to be agreed upon by the employee and department.
  • Employees who are unable to work due to illness must use emergency leave and must report their absence to their supervisor.
  • Employees who wish to be relieved of responsibility for work on a particular day or days must use vacation, floating holidays, or personal leave.
  • Employees are responsible for the safety and security of all college property and proprietary information.
  • Employees who work at home will not provide primary care for children or elders who would otherwise require a provider's care during agreed upon telecommuting hours.
  • As liability may extend to accidents which could occur in the alternative work location, the college retains the right to make on-site inspections of this work area, at a mutually agreed upon time, to ensure that safe work conditions exist.
  • Departments may establish additional guidelines based on the employees role.
    The College assumes no liability for injuries occurring in the employee's home workspace outside of work hours.
  • Responsibility for the care of College property such as computers, printers, fax machines and other equipment lent to an employee is the employee's responsibility while it is not on college premises. It is the employee's responsibility to make sure that their homeowners or renters insurance covers damage or injury arising out of or relating to business use of the home.
  • Employees should note that some homeowner policies do not automatically cover injuries arising out of, or relating to, the business use of the home. For the employee's protection, employees should have their homeowners/tenants liability policy endorsed to cover bodily injury and property damage to all third parties arising out of or relating to the business use of their home.
  • Employees who live in rented property should be aware that their lease might not permit business use of the premises.
  • Duration: All telecommuting arrangements are granted on a temporary and revocable basis, and may be discontinued by the College at any time and for any reason. In addition, an employee may discontinue participation in telecommuting at any time (except in those circumstances where telecommuting is required of the position). 
  • In making telecommuting arrangements, both the department and the employee must be mindful that the policy is designed to provide a relatively long term working arrangement, and it should not be used as a constant series of short-term arrangements. Employees who change their mind frequently about participating will not be permitted to continue telecommuting. 
  • Where telecommuting is a requirement of the position at the time of hire, and the division or administrative unit wishes to terminate the telecommuting arrangement, the employee may be offered another position on campus, when possible. If no position exists, or if the employee is unable to accept a position on campus, the employment arrangement may be severed in accordance with College policy.

Approval Authority: President of the College

Responsible Office: Alisa Quick, Director of Human Resources, King Hall 101D, 336.316.2135, quickat@guilford.edu 

Revision History: Updated in the Employee Handbook revision of 2018