Remote Working and Telework Policy
|Effective Date:||December 1, 2020|
|Downloadable Version:||Remote Working and Telework Policy|
|This document is available in alternate format on request.|
The Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning (hereafter referred to as “Humber” or “the College”) recognizes the potential benefits that flexible working arrangements can bring to both the employee and the College. With the philosophy of maintaining highly productive working situations and engendering exceptional employee engagement, this policy is intended to address the remote working aspect of flexible working arrangements by providing guidance on remote working. As an institution, we recognize that well-managed remote working arrangements can be beneficial to both Humber and its employees and can help Humber respond to challenges and opportunities presented by the changing landscapes of higher education, the business community and the working world.
The policy is intended to enable and support the development of such well-managed remote working arrangements. The ultimate decision regarding whether an individual or group will be permitted to work remotely requires management approval as well as adherence to applicable legislation, regulations, common law and collective agreements with labour unions (where applicable). The policy is not intended to override or supersede any of the foregoing. The policy is also not intended to confer any right to any individual or group to work remotely without undertaking the prescribed assessment and approval process.
The policy is intended to promote fairness, due process and well-being for all Humber employees while recognizing and addressing the many considerations that must be made in administering remote working arrangements. Safety and well-being of employees is of paramount importance. Alignment with Humber’s corporate Strategic Plan and operational planning is also vital to achieving a successful and sustainable approach to remote working.
This policy covers the typical conditions under which remote working arrangements would be considered. It covers multiple types of remote working situations including situations wherein critical incidents have occurred requiring mandatory remote working, such the Covid-19 pandemic and Humber’s response as directed by Public Health officials. This policy is intended for use outside of any world-wide pandemic situation or national emergency.¹
Humber is committed to creating opportunities that promote employee well-being and engagement, advance the ability for employees to work productively to achieve institutional goals and objectives and create a culture of performance and care. By implementing a remote working arrangement policy, Humber hopes to achieve the following benefits:
- Sustained employee productivity, innovation and effort
- Decrease employee turnover and absences
- Increase our ability to attract and retain top talent
- Improve employee satisfaction
- Use physical space effectively
- Improve employee well-being, health and work-life balance
- Support Humber’s Sustainability Plan and reduce Canada’s environmental footprint
This document is available in alternate format on request.
This policy comes into effect on December 1, 2020 and covers the concept of employees working from home or from a designated alternative remote worksite that is not the College campus workplace, which is generally referred to as remote working, teleworking, or telecommuting. While remote working is a form of flexible working arrangements, this policy does not cover other forms of flexible working arrangements such as:
- Flex time
- Compressed work week
- Reduced work week
- Job sharing
This policy and related supporting documents appended hereto outline the broad expectations for the College and employees around remote work including:
- Types of remote working arrangements
- Terms of participation and eligibility requirements
- Accountability and evaluation
- Guidelines and requirements – which include: legal rights and obligations, security and confidentiality, work performance and other related conditions.
This policy applies to all Humber employees. This policy can also apply to teams working on projects. Whereas this policy applies in a broad sense to all employees, it is recognized that not all jobs can be performed remotely or are suitable in all situations for remote working, and it is therefore expected that before remote working can be applied, it must satisfy the requirements outlined within this policy.
A workplace: any place where an employee is engaged in work for their employer. This includes locations where work is being performed outdoors, on third-party premises or from the employee’s home.
Flexible Working Arrangements: Flexible working arrangements are changes to an employee’s terms and conditions of employment that may include, but are not limited to: flex time, compressed work week, reduced work week, job sharing, and remote working.
Remote worker: an employee who works outside the traditional office on a consistent or defined period of time.
Remote working: is a work arrangement in which some, or all, of the work is performed from home or another off-site location usually with the aid of technology sources such as a telephone, laptop, desktop computer, business communication resources and other technology tools.
Remote Working Arrangement: Approved arrangement for the employee to carry out defined duties from the employee’s home-based worksite or designated remote worksite during the agreed hours on an ongoing basis or for a specified period of time, the terms of which are set out in a ‘Remote Working Agreement’ entered into between the College and the employee, and if the employee is unionized, will abide by the Collective Agreement.
Working hours: are defined in the individual employee’s contract and may vary depending on role. Core working hours of the College generally fall between 8:00 am – 6:00 pm on weekdays.
Responsibilities Under This Policy:
The following departments have responsibilities under this policy to implement, manage and maintain the conditions outlined within this policy and all supporting documents and processes:
Occupational Health and Safety:
- Provide health and safety-related advice and training where required on the implementation of this policy.
- Review and recommend provisions for safe remote working – including physical and equipment requirements.
- Assist with conducting assessments related to remote working situations that may impact the ability of the employee to safely perform their job, or that may put others at risk.
- Support the process of incident/accident reporting.
Information Technology Services:
- Provide training and advice on technological support and/or issues, where required on the implementation of this policy.
- Support the ability of remote employees to perform their remote work effectively and safely through the provision of approved technology resources, tools, software and access.
- Provide guidelines, expectations and requirements to maintaining the College’s confidential data, system integrity and security.
- Provide resource aids to the employees to learn how to use certain technologies.
- Resolve access issues as they occur.
- Investigate compliance with institutional policies.
Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness:
- Provide HR-related training and advice where required on the implementation of this policy.
- Provide clear guidelines for the assessment and determination of eligibility for remote working.
- Devise HR practices that support remote working.
- Provide training as needed.
Legal and Risk Management:
- Provide legal advice and opinions on questions related to the successful implementation of this policy.
- Address legal compliance issues.
- Provide legal and employment law advice on contracts and required agreements that govern remote working.
Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Diversity:
- Provide advice and opinions on questions related to human rights, accommodation and equity.
- Monitor the remote working process to ensure human rights, equity and accommodation needs are respected and met.
Managers and Supervisors:
- Ensure that all employees within their work team are aware of this policy and the provisions outlined herein.
- Track any borrowed equipment loaned by Humber.
- Conduct the remote working assessments as required, based on a request, or based on the determination that the job can be/will be a remote working job. Assessments should be conducted using the “Remote Working Arrangement Assessment” form, attached hereto as Appendix B.
- Work in collaboration with the Occupational Health, Information Technology Services and Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness divisions to implement remote working arrangements.
- Check that appropriate precautions are being taken in accordance with the prescribed control measures to reduce any risks that may arise due to remote working arrangements.
- Ensure necessary records are kept related to remote working arrangements
- Ensure a formal “Remote Working Arrangement” document is completed and agreed to by the employee, attached hereto as Appendix C.
- Manage the performance of the remote worker.
- Ensure employees who are working remotely are well connected with the work of the team and the College community.
- Request access to remote working arrangements.
- Comply with the conditions outlined in this policy.
- Comply with the conditions outlined in the Remote Working Arrangement developed and agreed to by the employee and the supervisor/manager.
- Maintain a strong connection with their work team and the College community through active participation in activities such as meetings, discussions and training.
Types of Remote Work Arrangement:
There are four (4) types of remote work covered under this policy:
Occasional or as-needed remote work. Typically a short-term remote work arrangement where the employee works from home or some other location for all or some of their regularly scheduled work hours in order to deal with circumstances that may include:
- Situations such as services/deliveries that require the employee to be available at home for the services/deliveries.
- Short-term emergencies that make it dangerous or creates a situation that prolongs the time it takes getting to work. This may include weather conditions where the campus is closed or other short-term emergencies which make physical presence on campus a risk.
- Focus days when an employee requests time to work remotely to be able to better focus on and dedicate time to a specific project or piece of work.
- Strike or work stoppages that may present risks to employees’ person or property.
- Unexpected or planned activities occurring at any of Humber’s campuses that create a risk to employees coming on Campus. This may include public works, health and safety risks, security breaches, strikes by external contractors, or other workplace hazards and events.
A time limited, temporary or flexible remote work arrangement. A longer term arrangement, where the employee works from home part of the time on a regular basis, under the following types of circumstances:
- A short term project.
- Temporary medical reasons (based upon a full assessment and recommendation from a qualified medical practitioner and in consultation and in accordance with Humber’s disability management process and policy). Such an arrangement would not fall under this policy, but rather would be considered a medical accommodation and would follow the process and procedures for that process.
- Work related travel away from campus.
- A special contractual agreement or condition requiring the employee to work from home 2-3 times per week or for a specifically defined number of days per week.
- As a contingency plan requirement, defined by Humber.
- Other circumstances agreed upon the employee, and, at the manager’s discretion.
A permanent remote worker. This involves regular remote work, where the employee works from home 100% of the time and may never or rarely come to the College. This type of jointly contracted work arrangement is rare, and occurs typically under the following circumstances:
- Is contracted as a remote worker and typically is not required to be on any of Humber’s campuses.
- The employee negotiates a remote work arrangement during the offer process.
- A talent acquisition concern, where the hard to find skill set is possessed by an employee who either negotiates remote work during the offer process, or is located where they cannot attend on site. The employee can deliver the same level of effectiveness (meeting agreed deliverables, quality of output and providing the same level of availability and responsiveness) working remotely, and where face to face or on-campus working is not a strict requirement.
- Temporary campus closure or relocation.
- A diagnosed medical condition, in accordance with Humber’s disability management process and policy that prevents the employee from being physically on Campus. Such an arrangement would not fall under this policy, but rather would be considered a medical accommodation and would follow the process and procedures for that process.
- The result of a divisional/departmental review of operational efficiencies that justify remote working arrangements as a bona-fide solution to institutional issues of space challenges, retention, motivation, productivity, overhead expense and environment imprint management, which would present options around remote work arrangements.
Critical situation remote work. An unexpected, undefined and evolving situation that forces all employees or a large percentage of employees to work from home or some other location. Remote working in critical situations may be mandatory as opposed to optional. Such situations are temporary by nature and temporary remote working arrangements are understood not to alter the nature or typical working arrangements of any job. Generally, the timeframe for this work arrangement is undetermined and dictated by circumstances outside the direct control of the College, such as:
- Political situations – at a national or provincial level that exposes employees to safety risks if they venture to and from the College.
- Health situations – such as a pandemic where relevant Public Health officials have prescribed or directed that employees remain off campus, stay at home or practice physical distancing or have recommended the closure of the College. Example, the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Any act affecting employees’ ability to work at College campuses that can be categorized as a force majeure (an act that occurs due to a superior or irresistible force, or an event or effect that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled such as a natural disaster).
For each type of remote working arrangement described above, there are many considerations, specific eligibility and careful documentation requirements. Each of these are described within the supporting guideline documents and forms.
Not all jobs are appropriate for remote working arrangements. When considering which types of jobs can be considered for a remote working arrangement, the following guidelines are provided to guide the management review and approval process:
Jobs suitable for remote working arrangements:
- Jobs with a high level of autonomy and minimal requirements for face-to-face interactions.
- Jobs that require reading, writing, research, working with data, or talking on the phone.
- Jobs that can be done off-site without disruption to the flows of work and communication.
- Jobs that are specifically contracted or developed to be executed remotely.
- Jobs that can be executed with minimal disruption to student or employee support services
- Jobs that can be performed at the remote working location in a similar manner as if it were being performed on campus.
- Jobs for which the output or outcome is measurable.
- Situations where employees can arrange time off to focus on critical work or project work on a case-by-case basis, which would not be a regular remote work arrangement.
Jobs not suited for remote working arrangements:
- Jobs requiring full-time in-person contact/customer service to support the core functions of the College, such as student and/or employee support services that cannot be provided remotely at the level of service required by the College.
- Jobs that rely upon specific equipment or supplies to work on-site which cannot be easily and effectively moved to a remote environment.
- Jobs working with sensitive documents.
- Jobs which must comply with rigorous discovery and compliance requirements.
In determining if a job is a good candidate for remote work, the job should meet at least 2-3 of the criteria described above. It should be noted that the eligibility considerations provided above are general in nature and would be impacted by remote working arrangements defined in Section 2. It should also be noted that critical situations outlined in 8.4 may require remote work to be performed even for jobs that might not otherwise be suited for remote work in accordance with this Section 3.
Determination and Implementation Guidelines, Processes and Forms:
The remote working arrangement is considered an alternative way of working to meet the goals and objectives of the College. While remote working arrangements may advance a commitment to, and a culture of employee well-being and engagement, it is not considered an entitlement and must be supported by the employee’s manager.
Remote workers are expected to meet all responsibilities, perform all duties and comply with all the policies that apply to any employee in similar roles, regardless of location.
All remote working requests from employees will be reviewed and approved at the sole discretion of the direct supervisor/manager and may be terminated by the supervisor/manager at any time with reasonable notice. The College has the right to refuse remote work requests and to terminate remote work arrangements.
The College may determine that certain work is to be performed remotely, and in such cases will provide reasonable notice and explanation behind the decision to any employees affected.
This policy provides a general framework for Humber’s approach to remote working. While employees and supervisors have the flexibility to develop arrangements tailored to employees and departmental needs, the basic requirements set forth in the accompanying guidelines document must generally be met.
More specific guidance, processes and forms for the determination and implementation of remote working arrangements are set out in Appendix A, “Remote Working Guidelines”. Employees are expected to comply with the conditions outlined in this policy and to the guidelines set forth in the “Remote Working Agreement” to which both the employee and the direct supervisor must sign.
All parties involved in the remote working arrangement should strive to achieve the purpose as detailed within this policy, while recognizing and taking positive steps to address some of the challenges that arise related to remote working, such as:
- Difficulty ‘unplugging’ after work.
- Separating home and work.
- Rise in loneliness or other mental health issues due to isolation.
- Difficulty collaborating.
- Difficulty transitioning back to the campus office or workspace when required.
The Directive on Telework (Government of Canada – April 01, 2020)
The Health Protection and Promotion Act of Ontario
The Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act
Appendix A: Remote Working Guidelines
Appendix B: Remote Work Arrangement Assessment Form
Appendix C: Remote Working Agreement Template
Appendix D: Remote Working Home Workspace Self-Assessment Checklist
Acceptable Use Policy for Technical Services
Accommodation for Employee with Disabilities Policy
Occupational Health and Safety Policy
¹This policy has been drafted in 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic. While this situation has informed considerations and guidelines, this policy is ONLY relevant and active from the date of approval.