Remote Work Basics
Successful remote work requires individuals and teams to address such basics as technology and equipment, information security, ergonomic considerations, employee wellbeing, along with non-K-State work — including personal considerations such as caregiving — while remote working, and work location.
Types of Remote Work
There are three different kinds of remote work arrangements:
- Regular/Recurring remote work arrangement: May be either 100% remote or partially remote (hybrid). (Requires a remote work agreement.). An example of a hybrid remote work arrangement is an employee who works on campus three days a week and works from home two days a week.
- Periodic/Intermittent remote work arrangement: May be for a short-term request. (Requires documentation but not a remote work agreement.) An example of a periodic arrangement is an employee who will work from home one day a month for the next three months.
- Temporary/Emergency remote work arrangement: may be for short-term illness, emergencies, natural disasters, or pandemic health crisis. (Requires documentation but not a remote work agreement.)
If a department is considering a remote work arrangement for their entire workforce, the department head should engage with HR as soon as possible.
Remote Work Locations
An employee who is working remotely must reside within the United States in order to comply with all federal and state laws, filings, or tax requirements. No remote work arrangements are allowed for employees who are international.
Remote Work Reviews
New remote work arrangements should be reviewed for efficiency and effectiveness at 30-, 60-, and 90-day intervals. Following this, remote work arrangements may be reviewed as needed, or at minimum, on an annual basis. Supervisors can access the Remote Work Arrangement Review form as needed.
Modifications to a remote work arrangement should be documented on either the existing form or captured on a new Remote Work Agreement form. A modified agreement should be initialed by the original signatories and copies should be provided accordingly. The employee should be informed at least 10 business days before the modifications take effect.
There may be various reasons why a remote work arrangement ends before the original end date specified in a Remote Work Agreement. The employee or the supervisor may begin the process to end a remote work arrangement early.
Employee initiates the process
An employee may identify their own preference to end a remote work arrangement. Prior to communicating with the supervisor, the employee is encouraged to think through the following:
- There may or may not be adequate workspace available at the campus or facility location.
- Appropriate workspace equipment or supplies may be needed to support an onsite work arrangement.
- The ending of a remote work arrangement may impact the dynamics of team processes and the work environment.
- The employee’s request to end a remote work arrangement may be denied by the supervisor or university leadership.
Supervisor initiates the process
A supervisor may identify a business need to end a remote work arrangement. To proceed, the supervisor should complete the Remote Work Arrangement Review. The supervisor is encouraged to consider the following questions when ending a remote work arrangement:
- Is there adequate workspace identified at the campus or facility location for the employee to work onsite?
- Is there appropriate workspace equipment or supplies available at the campus or facility location for the employee to be successful in their position?
- Is notice able to be provided to the employee at least 10 business days before the employee is expected to report to the campus or facility location?
Process for ending a remote work arrangement early
To end a remote work arrangement early, the following steps should be completed:
- The adjusted end date should be documented and initialed (by the original signatories) on the existing Remote Work Agreement form.
- Copies of the modified form should be given to the employee; a copy should be kept in the department and a copy should be sent to email@example.com for inclusion in the employee’s file.
- The form should be sent to the departmental HR liaison to update the appropriate fields in HRIS.
Careful consideration should be given as departments prepare for an employee to work from a remote location. Supervisors may also be considering how to approach workspace needs for those who are working in a hybrid remote work schedule.
- The intent is not to provide employees with two fully equipped workspaces (remote and on-site).
- If an employee works on-site regularly for a majority of the week (at least 3 days/week), the department should provide a designated individual workspace for the employee with appropriate equipment and supplies.
- If an employee works remotely regularly for a majority of the week (at least 3 days/week), the department may consider providing a shared workspace for the individual to use when on-site. A shared workspace may include a computer or monitor with appropriate peripheral devices and connections that can be used by multiple employees.
- If a department has a vacated office space as a result of remote work, the department head or supervisor should notify the appropriate leader as recommended by their appropriate dean or vice president. Should the dean or cabinet member determine that the use of space is changing or there is space to return, they may contact Facilities Campus Planning and Project Management at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The department should provide an employee the equipment deemed necessary by the department (computer, chair, etc.) to complete work responsibilities at the location the employee spends the majority of the work week.
- Access Remote Workspace Safety Checklist to assist with setting up a safe remote workspace.
- Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) can assist with advice and referrals for assessing activities, work environments and equipment in various work settings. For more information, visit EHS ergonomics website or contact email@example.com for information.
Remote Work IT and Security
Consistent with K-State’s expectations of security for employees working at a campus workspace, employees who are working remotely are expected to ensure the continued protection of information that complies with state and federal privacy laws. A variety of resources is available to remote employees on the K-State IT website.
Managing Off-Site Inventory
Departments should complete a Department Equipment Inventory Form and Agreement which outlines the Kansas State University property that the remote employee will have in their position during the remote work arrangement. This form should be completed and signed by the employee, supervisor, and appropriate dean or cabinet member. If the employee leaves the university, the department is responsible for the return of all university-owned property.
Departments are encouraged to review the Remote Work policy to become familiar with appropriate reimbursements with the establishment of a remote work arrangement.
For a regular, recurring 100% remote work arrangements, the university may grant a one-time maximum $1,000.00 taxable stipend to an employee for expenses associated with the establishment of remote work if there is a business need (provided the department has necessary funding available permitted).
For a regular, recurring 100% remote work arrangement, the university will reimburse employees for travel to and from their identified campus or facility location if it the distance exceeds a 60-mile radius and is authorized within the remote work agreement. Mileage reimbursement will not be considered for periodic, intermittent, or temporary remote work arrangements.
The university will not be responsible for operating costs associated with the employee’s satellite work location including but not limited to home maintenance, digital subscriber line (DSL), cable, cell phone bills, Internet, utilities, any associated incidental costs (such as property or liability insurance), or other incidental expenses (utilities, cleaning services, etc.).
The university will not be responsible for the installation of basic telephone service, internet access, or cable in employee’s satellite work location unless otherwise covered in the remote work agreement.
Supervisors and managers who are supervising employees in a remote work arrangement should consider many factors that make managing remote work distinctly different from on-campus work. While trends may drive the organization of remote work, managing remote work arrangements in an effective manner is important to the remote employee and the team.
Communication within teams is at the core of all successful remote work arrangements. A communication plan is important and will include considerations technology/tools as well as address accessibility/inclusivity, formal and informal communications, expectations of team members and mutual accountability, evaluating communications success, and guarding against the pressure or expectation of constant work. Sometimes employees who work remotely feel that they are "out of the loop" and are overlooked when it comes to various kinds of workplace opportunities. Departments should plan for intentional communication before and during the establishment of a remote work arrangement.
Managing team performance is about setting expectations and measuring performance outcomes in relation to these expectations. Empowering and managing hybrid teams does require some additional insight. Tools and resources are available to assist supervisors with this skillset.
Remote work is successful when teams manage productivity by setting goals and clearly defining deliverables. Supervisors and employees should consider whether the quantity, quality, and timeliness of work has been maintained, enhanced, or diminished with the introduction of remote work. They should also consider how remote work has affected stakeholders, impacted processes, and whether remote work has led to new opportunities.
For additional resources for managing and supervising remote employees, please visit the Resources for Success While Working Remote website.