Remote Worker Policy
Hobart and William Smith Colleges considers working remotely to be a viable alternate work arrangement in cases where individual, job and supervisor characteristics are best suited to such an arrangement. Working remotely allows an employee to work at home or in a satellite location for all of their regular workweek. This is a voluntary work alternative that may be appropriate for some employees and some jobs. It is not an entitlement; it is not a campus-wide benefit; and it in no way changes the terms and conditions of employment with the Colleges.
Employees working remotely are expected to adhere to all rules and policies outlined in the Employee Handbook and distributed by campus offices.
This policy has been developed to protect sensitive or valuable data and maintain the overall security of the Colleges’ data and equipment while employees are working remotely. In addition this policy recognizes and defines the duty of care of the Colleges to the remote working employees in regard to their health and safety and fair treatment.
Employees must ensure security of information and systems accessed through mobile and remote working arrangements are given due consideration. It is important that staff understand the Responsible and Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources Policy and their respective responsibilities in relation to that policy, which must be adhered to at all times.
Eligibility and Process
In principle, any position at HWS could be considered for remote working. Nevertheless, it is clearly the case that some activities can only be adequately carried out on-site, while others may be carried out equally or even more effectively at a remote location - usually the employee’s home.
A proposal to conduct remote working needs should be submitted and carefully reviewed in terms of: the cost of providing equipment; health and safety and communications considerations; security, data protection, and other legal issues; working and reporting relationships and any requirements to attend on campus work activities or events.
The Remote Working Policy should not be used as an alternative to caring for dependents. For leave of absence options, please contact Human Resources.
For the maintenance of personal security, the Colleges strongly advises against any external work contacts visiting an employee when they are working at home and that such visits should take place on the Colleges campus or a public location. For the employee’s own security it is also recommended that employees who are remote working should:
Not release any personal data or information to external contacts such as home address or personal telephone number.
All employee’s remote working business lines should be unlisted.
Always ensure that colleagues are aware of the remote working employee’s whereabouts and that you are able to be contacted within your contractual working hours.
Ensure your Outlook Calendar is accurate and up-to-date with all appointments. If you are attending any remote meetings, ensure the meeting coordinator knows you will be remote, so proper accommodations can be made.
Security of Equipment and Data
To ensure safety and security is maintained at all times, a separate allocated room should be used for remote working, where possible.
Consistent with the institution’s expectations of information asset security for employees working on campus or remote employees will be expected to ensure the protection of proprietary institutional employee, student, or alumni information accessible from their home office.
The Colleges Information Technology Services (ITS) provides guidance on security of computer equipment. Guidance from ITS should be adhered to when remote working; this includes locking a device when not in use, ensuring that data is encrypted in the event of device loss and not disclosing any passwords, PINs or encryption keys. It is the responsibility of the remote worker to safe-guard and protect any of the Colleges information that they hold. Remote workers must have an understanding of digital risks, use secure working practices and apply encryption and back-up procedures as appropriate. If the remote worker is not confident in this area, they should seek assistance from the ITS Helpdesk prior to working remotely.
Digital information must only be downloaded or uploaded over a secure connection. WiFi networks offered to individuals in public spaces are generally unsecure and extra measures must be taken to safeguard against information loss. VPN service provides a secure channel for data transfer over unsecure networks and should be used by remote workers when interacting with HWS resources. This includes but is not limited to use with desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Health and Safety
The underlying principle of this section is that the standards of care towards remote working should be equivalent to that of employees working on campus. Therefore, it is essential that the conduct of HWS business from an employee’s home or elsewhere does not adversely affect the health and safety of the individual or others.
The employee undertaking remote working, is expected to take primary responsibility for ensuring safe and healthy working conditions while working offsite. If in the event, further clarification or advice is needed, the manager and employee should ensure they consult with Human Resources.
If involved in an accident at the home Workers’ Compensation only applies if the remote employee is injured while performing work-related activities.
The department manager will discuss and agree with the employee prior to commencing remote working, what equipment and IT requirements will be needed to enable the individual to work effectively from home. Any equipment provided by the Colleges will remain the property of the Colleges at all times.
With regard to the equipment, the remote worker will be expected to:
Provide high speed internet and a wireless router
Take reasonable care of the equipment;
Take all reasonable steps to minimize the risk of theft or damage to Colleges property;
Comply with software licensing terms and conditions;
Return to the Colleges, the equipment at the end of the remote working arrangement.
In the event that equipment becomes obsolete, the cost of recovering the items from the remote worker’s home will be covered by the respective department.
In the event the employee moves to another residence under the Remote Working agreement, the employee must make their manager aware.
Financial Matters and Insurance
The employee will establish an appropriate work environment within their home for work purposes. The Colleges will not be responsible for costs associated with initial setup of the employee's home office such as remodelling, furniture or lighting, nor for repairs or modifications to the home office space.
The Colleges will not reimburse any expenses incurred through remote working apart from items such as postage and packaging.
The Colleges will not reimburse an employee for electricity costs incurred while remote working.
Employees will be reimbursed for work-related travel expenses which are approved by their manager. For further clarification on the reimbursement of expenses, please refer to the Reimbursement Guidelines found on the Business Office website.
Employees are advised to seek clarification and advice from their relevant mortgage/insurance provider with regards to Remote Working and the impact it may have on their insurance. The employee would be responsible for any additional insurance coverage.
Employees are advised to seek clarification and advice from a tax advisor with regards to the possibility for them to file for home office tax deductions. The employee would be responsible for applying for any deductions.
Terms and conditions
Remote working employees, maintain their existing terms and conditions of employment apart from their designated place of work. Prior to commencing Remote Working the employee and their manager should agree on the work schedule of the employee and the times they will be available for contact. The employee should be made aware if they will be required to visit campus on occasion as required by their manager or department.
If either party requests the remote work arrangements to end, then it is preferred that 90 days’ notice be given to the other party, but no less than 30 days’ notice should be given.
To ensure the remote working arrangement is effective, an annual review will be conducted to ensure the business needs are met and the arrangement is still viable.
On an ongoing basis Remote Working agreements will be reviewed at least annually to ensure the arrangement continues to meet any change in business demands. Remote Working agreements may also be reviewed as a result of any departmental changes.
Questions regarding this policy should be directed to Human Resources at ext. 3312 or HR@hws.edu.