Telecommuting Resources for Managers
Telecommuting is a work arrangement that enables a staff member to work at home from another off-site location. Telecommuting may be appropriate for only some staff members and jobs.
Manager FAQs for Telecommuting
1. Why is a standard Telecommuting Agreement and guidelines being created now?
a. Michigan Medicine Leadership is supportive of Telecommuting arrangements, when appropriate and possible, per management discretion. As a way to alleviate our parking and physical space capacity issues, Leadership recognizes the need to have standards across Michigan Medicine for easy implementation of a telecommuting arrangement. Michigan Medicine departments have discretion to implement a telecommuting arrangement, it is not a requirement, however encouraged when possible.
2. How should I apply the Telecommuting guidelines and standards?
a. While the guidelines and standards were geared more toward employees in a regular telecommuting arrangement, the guidelines and standards can be applied to sporadic/occasional telecommuting arrangements, in addition to employees in both non-exempt and exempt positions. If an employee is in a regular/consistent telecommuting event, a telecommuting agreement should be completed. A telecommuting agreement does not have to be completed for sporadic/occasional telecommuting events. Please consult with your HR Business Partner on any specific questions you may have on the Michigan Medicine guidelines or standards.
3. I have an employee(s) who telecommute with an agreement in place already – Do I need to use the new Michigan Medicine standard agreement?
a. Yes, the new Michigan Medicine standard agreement is to be used for all employees who are in a telecommuting arrangement. Please switch to the new Michigan Medicine standard agreement at the time of the next renewal of the agreement (if there are specific details in your current agreement that you want to add to the standard agreement, please consult with your HR Business Partner). Any new telecommuting arrangements, from February 26, 2018 forward, please use the new Michigan Medicine standard agreement.
4. If I am interested in having employees telecommute, how do I get IT support/guidance?
a. If you are ready to move forward with moving your employee(s) off-site to begin telecommuting, you (as a supervisor, manager, or director) will need to visit the HITS Service Portal and complete the “Telecommuting IT Preparation for Approved Work from Home” catalog item to submit your request for consideration. Documentation regarding the process for HITS telecommuting preparation can be found here. Please complete this form, even if the user already has the necessary devices to telecommute, as HITS must update documentation to ensure proper support for the devices.
5. What are the standard equipment recommendations for telecommuters, and how do I procure them for my telecommuter(s)?
a. The standard IT configuration for telecommuters is as follows:
Devices: CoreImage laptop, docking station, keyboard, mouse, two 22” monitors, and all necessary cables
Software: Aspect, Cisco Jabber
Devices: CoreImage laptop, docking station, keyboard, mouse, one 22” monitor (if needed), and all necessary cables
Printers will not be deployed to personal residences, nor is printing promoted due to security concerns for sensitive data. Headsets are the responsibility of the telecommuter’s department. Physical phones, if needed, are the responsibility of the telecommuter.
To place your equipment request in queue, please visit the HITS Service Portal and complete the “Telecommuting IT Preparation for Approved Work from Home” catalog item. HITS strives to maintain equipment neutral count, therefore please expect that the appropriate HITS contact to have a discussion with you regarding what current equipment the employee(s) have and how to best utilize current and new resources to meet the specific needs to the telecommuting situation. Managers should NOT approve any telecommute IT requests that will result in the employee having multiple IT devices to use in both the workplace and at home.
6. As a manager, how can I best ensure my telecommuters are productive and how can I measure performance?
a. Telecommuting is a privilege and not an employee right, therefore management approval of which employees they approve to telecommute is essential. Managers should establish clear performance and communication expectations prior to having employee(s) telecommute, this will help to ensure telecommuters are productive. Productivity and performance should be measured the same way, according to the same criteria, as if the employee(s) was working onsite. Completing a telecommuting agreement will also establish what day(s) and an exact time frame of when the telecommuter is expected to be available.
b. Performance and productivity measures is dependent upon the specific job. Some jobs lend well for tracking work and productivity, while others are more subjective. Non-exempt jobs typically have specific measures that are easier to track, while exempt level jobs, exact work output, may be harder to track given the nature of the job. Performance and productivity measures for exempt level positions should focus around the goals and outcomes of the particular job versus hour to hour work.
c. Please work with your HR Business Partner to discuss how best to measure performance and productivity for the specific job your telecommuting employee(s) holds.
7. How can I ensure my telecommuter(s) is still connected to myself and the team?
a. There are many different ways you can ensure team connections. Please consult with your HR Business Partner to discuss. There are many factors to consider in how you set up telecommuting arrangements including but not limited to: specific job and team needs, if you have 1 telecommuter or many, depending on the number of days per week your telecommuter(s) work from home, etc. These factors will guide you on the practices and expectations you want to set with your telecommuter(s).
8. Who is responsible for paying expenses associated with travel costs to attend required onsite meetings, conferences, training sessions, and similar activities for employees living in the State of Michigan and living outside the State of Michigan?
a. For employees living in the State of Michigan, all travel costs are the responsibility of the employee, this is considered local travel. For employees living out of the State of Michigan, travel costs are at the discretion of the department. The department should take into consideration its financial capacity, frequency of required travel, the need for travel related to the position/role, and should consider impacts and decisions prior to hiring an out of state employee. The department should discuss travel expenses with the out of state employee upon hire. Compensation for work day and actual travel are separate considerations from travel costs, please consult with your HR Business Partner to ensure you are compliant with the Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
9. How should the sending out and retrieval of equipment from remote employee be managed?
a. The department and remote employee will need to agree and discuss how this process will be managed when creating the telecommuting agreement. The department has discretion on whether it will pay to ship or retrieve equipment to/from the remote employee or if the department will require the employee to pay for the shipping and retrieval of equipment. It could be a combination where the department agrees to pay to ship equipment to the remote employee and the remote employee agrees to pay to ship the equipment back upon termination or appointment. The department should consider the work the employee conducts, HIPPA and PHI data, research data, and whether the data the employee has needs to be secured and may want to consult with HITS, if this is the case.
- HITS is not responsible for the cost of shipping devices/equipment.
- If the equipment is determined to need hardware repair, the customer is required to bring the broken asset to their main office location at Michigan Medicine. Once onsite, the customer is to contact the HITS Service Desk to inform and request their local device support team pick-up the device for repair.
- If the telecommuter lives out of state or region, the telecommuter can ship the asset back to their main office to triage the device to/from HITS. The department will be responsible for returning the device to the telecommuter once repaired.