Telecommuting FAQs

FAQs for M&P Employees
FAQs for HR Administrators

FAQs for M&P Employees

If I am interested in telecommuting, how do I go about requesting this option from my supervisor?

We recommend that you review the Guidelines for Telecommuting at UBC to understand the principles, roles and responsibilities of entering into the telecommuting agreement. You will then need to complete the Application for Telecommuting and submit the application to your immediate supervisor. Your supervisor will review your application and determine whether or not telecommuting is suitable for your position and operationally effective for the department. If your supervisor approves your application you and your supervisor will need to complete the departmental Telecommuting Agreement.

  • Telecommuting Guidelines for M&P Staff: PDF | Word DOC
  • Telecommuting Application for M&P Staff: PDF | Word DOC
  • Telecommuting Agreement for M&P Staff: PDF | Word DOC

Will I need to provide my own computer/laptop if I choose to telecommute?

M&P staff members who are approved for telecommuting are responsible for providing a suitable and off-site workspace at their own expense. Please refer to the Guidelines for Telecommuting at UBC for important requirements around workspace, equipment, and protection of proprietary information while working off-campus.

Will my hours of work change because I choose a telecommuting option?

If an application is approved, the specific terms and conditions of the telecommuting arrangement will be set out in a written agreement between the M&P staff member and the supervisor. The written agreement will identify contact information detailing:

  • Hours and days of work
  • Hours and days per week in the department
  • Hours and days per week off-site
  • Agreement on prior notice if the schedule is on an ad hoc basis
  • Agreement on whether UBC owned or personal computers will be used
  • M&P staff member contact information for all times when working off-site
  • And, performance standards and/or goals and objectives.

Do I need to purchase additional equipment for my home office to be set up for telecommuting?

The use of UBC supplied and owned computers/laptops are preferred for telecommuting. This may take the form of laptops permanently assigned to an employee as their work computer, a laptop from a pool of departmental laptops which is returned when not in use, or a UBC computer taken home and left at home. It is also possible to use your home personal computer for telecommuting. If you use your home personal computer and you need to upgrade your security or other systems, this will be at your own expense unless the department agrees otherwise.

Why are the telecommuting guidelines only for M&P staff and not other employee groups at this time?

Some departments with M&P staff are already engaged in telecommuting so the impetus was to address guidelines for M&P first. M&P positions also lend themselves to telecommuting a little more easily than many of our other positions. We are however, looking at telecommuting as a possibility for our other employee groups.

Can my supervisor terminate my telecommuting arrangement?

Telecommuting agreements will be monitored by the supervisor to ensure goals and objectives are met and that the effectiveness of the department is maintained. Telecommuting arrangements and agreements may be terminated by either party as follows:

(a) By the M&P staff member upon two weeks’ notice to his/her supervisor and,
(b) By the Supervisor upon two weeks’ notice to the M&P staff member.

FAQs for HR Administrators

The following FAQs were developed for HR Administrators who may have questions around the telecommuting guidelines for their Management & Professional (M&P) staff. Don’t see an answer to your question below? Please contact your HR Advisor directly for further details.

What should I consider when I receive an application for telecommuting?

All applications for telecommuting should be reviewed carefully. Careful consideration should be given to the frequency of telecommuting and the impact on the department. Think about the type of work that can occur at home and the type of work that won’t be able to get done. Think about customer service and how customers will be impacted. Think about the impact on subordinates, colleagues and clients. If you have concerns ask the applicant how they think these things could be handled. Don’t dismiss the application out of hand, but do think carefully about the impact on the department.

Is it necessary to sign the Telecommuting Agreement?

Yes it is essential that a telecommuting agreement be reviewed by both the applicant and supervisor. The terms of the agreement must be fully understood. Workspace, equipment, and protection of proprietary information must be clear to both parties.

What do I do if the Telecommuting arrangement isn’t working out?

Be clear on what it is that isn’t working out. Meet with the employee to share your concerns and discuss the issues. They may have ideas for correcting the problem. If the concerns can’t be satisfactorily addressed you can provide the employee with two weeks notice to end the agreement.

Do we need to track telecommuting requests or send copies of the agreements to Human Resources?

Make sure you keep the original telecommuting agreement in your department files. Human Resources does not need a copy of the Agreements.

Will other employee groups also be pursuing telecommuting guidelines in the near future?

We hope to consider the possibility of telecommuting for other employee groups but we need to work within the collective agreements and handbooks and we need to engage in discussion with our stakeholders and unions prior to making a determination on whether or not it will be feasible.

Do these guidelines also apply to M&P staff in the Okanagan, at Robson Square and at the hospital sites?

Yes, the guidelines apply to all UBC M&P staff.

How do we ensure the confidentiality of UBC work is preserved in off-site offices of telecommuters?

Prior to signing the agreement with an employee, review the UBC policies and department policies on privacy and confidentiality. Also, ensure your department creates a checklist of all computer security requirements necessary. Review all policies and checklists with the employee prior to the sign off of the agreement.

How were the Telecommuting Guidelines created? Was there a consultation process or committee tasked to this?

A number of faculties and departments across UBC advised Human Resources that they already had existing telecommuting arrangements in place, and still others were looking at developing guidelines. In consultation with these departments and our legal counsel Human Resources developed draft guidelines.

Additionally, the Focus on People consultation with staff and administrators indicated that telecommuting was an important consideration for the health and wellness and retention of staff. More recently, a number of administrators across the university have provided input into the guidelines. AAPS Executive members have also previewed the material.

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