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Remote Work Guidelines

Human Resources


Remote Work Guidelines – A Pilot Program

The purpose of this pilot program is to introduce a framework for approving and managing remote work by University of Winnipeg support staff following the pandemic.  These guidelines will be assessed on an ongoing basis and will be refined as necessary to support the University’s management of remote work arrangements.  The pilot program itself will also be reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure that it supports the University’s overall strategic directions.

General Overview of Remote Work (RW) Arrangements

RW arrangements involve working at an alternate location other than on the University of Winnipeg campus or other designated worksite – normally from home.

The University’s priority is to ensure that operational needs are met and that students and the UW community are provided with a campus environment that is vibrant, engaging, and responsive to their needs.  The introduction of RW arrangements should not take away from the fact that in-person services and support are integral to the University’s strategic direction of Student Experience and Success.  RW arrangements should not interfere with an individual employee’s ability to perform their duties and responsibilities nor should they interfere with a department or unit’s ability to meet its operational goals.  Where several employees in the same department or unit request RW arrangements, individual requests will need to be considered in light of the overall needs of the department. 

As the University approves employees to return to work on-campus, the expectation will be that employees return to campus unless they have an authorized RW arrangement.  Employees may request an RW arrangement, using the Remote Work Arrangement Request Form (Appendix “A”).  Not all positions are suitable for an RW arrangement and the approval of RW arrangements shall be at the discretion of the employee’s immediate supervisor and the appropriate administrator.  RW arrangements are not an entitlement and will be considered in light of the factors detailed below.  

RW arrangements will normally be on a part-time basis.  However, in certain situations full-time RW arrangements may be considered. Some RW arrangements may only by approved for certain periods of the year.  For example, during times of high service needs, it may be required that all employees within a department or unit be present on campus.

RW arrangements outside of Manitoba will not normally be considered due to jurisdictional differences including employment law, insurance, and taxation issues.  Temporary remote work outside of Manitoba may be approved where the employee is working from a secondary RW location (e.g. cottage), provided that the employee’s primary RW location is in Manitoba.

Benefits of an RW arrangement may include:

  • Increased employee satisfaction and engagement;
  • Recruitment and retention of talented staff; and
  • Decrease pressure on the allocation of on-campus workspaces through the development of shared workspaces (often referred to as hot-desking), and reallocation of dedicated workspace to those working on-campus full-time.

Questions about these RW guidelines may be directed to your Human Resources Consultant.

Factors for Consideration in Approving an RW Arrangement

Requests for RW arrangements will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the appropriate administrator (the employee’s excluded manager, e.g. Dean, Director, etc.) in consultation with the employee’s immediate supervisor. Factors to consider when determining employee eligibility are outlined below.

  1.  Operational Needs, Nature of Work, and Employee Suitability
    1. These factors would support an RW arrangement:
      • The work can be completed remotely without affecting the unit’s operations including productivity and service goals.
      • The work can be completed remotely without increasing the unit’s costs.
      • The employee’s duties and responsibilities are clearly defined.
      • Performance expectations and deliverables can be objectively measured.
      • The employee has received satisfactory performance reviews and has demonstrated strong work habits, self-motivation, and the ability to work independently to sustain their overall quality and quantity of work.
    2. These factors would not support an RW arrangement:
      • The RW arrangement negatively affects the University’s ability to provide students and the UW community with a campus environment that is vibrant, engaging, and responsive to their needs.
      • The employee works with confidential hard copy documents that cannot be maintained off campus.
      • The employee’s position requires them to meet regularly with students or other University employees and stakeholders in-person.
      • The employee regularly collaborates with other employees and the RW arrangement makes it difficult to effectively maintain communications within the unit.
      • The employee is new and cannot effectively complete onboarding and orientation during the RW arrangement.

  2. Equipment, Home Office, and Internet Access

    Due to the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic, many employees were shifted to remote work and had to adapt to working without the same office space and equipment that would normally be available.  Once allowed to return to work on campus, consideration should be given to operational needs, which include access to equipment, home office space, and Internet access requirements.
    1. These factors would support an RW arrangement:
      • The employee has a dedicated home office space.
      • The employee is able to arrange a secure and reliable home internet connection.
      • University-issued computing equipment is used solely by the employee and for work purposes only.
      • The employee has an appropriate University-issued computer system to support the proposed RW arrangement.
    2. These factors would not support an RW arrangement:
      • The employee requires regular access to campus equipment and resources such as a photocopier, printer, scanner, fax machine, or shredder.
  1.  

Expectations During RW Arrangements

If an RW arrangement were approved, the following expectations would apply:

  1. Employment Expectations
    1. Remote work does not alter the fundamental terms and conditions of employment with the University. Employment legislation, policies and procedures, collective agreements, handbooks, contracts, and other employment terms remain in effect for the duration of the RW arrangement.
    2. The Employee must be at work and available during their regular working hours. The employee and their manager must arrange for regular communications throughout the RW arrangement.  If an employee is not going to be available during their regular working hours, the employee must notify their supervisor and obtain the appropriate prior approval.
    3. A Working Alone plan must be completed for RW arrangements in accordance with the University Working Alone/In Isolation Policy and Procedures. Please complete the Safe Work Procedure: Remote Work – Working Alone (Appendix “C”) and submit with your Request Form.
    4. Employees may be required to attend on-campus at the request of their manager. Such requests may occur on short notice.
    5. Employees shall not conduct in person meetings in their remote workplaces.
    6. Except in exceptional circumstances, confidential documents must remain on campus. The employee is responsible for protecting the confidentiality of any privileged and/or confidential University information while it is being transported to and from their home and while it is in their home.  Confidential information must be secured in a locked office or cabinet.
    7. Employees are responsible for ensuring appropriate dependent care is in place; remote work is not a substitute for dependent care obligations.
    8. Initially, an approved RW arrangement will be a maximum term of 6 months and subject to a review conducted at 3 months. Subsequent reviews shall take place every 6 – 12 months.
    9. The RW arrangement may be terminated by either the employer or employee. Normally, two weeks’ notice of termination will be provided.

  2. Work Space & Equipment Expectations
    1. Employees must provide a dedicated remote workspace where they can perform their duties without interruption and ensure that telephone calls and meetings involving confidential or sensitive matters can be conducted in private.
    2. Employees approved for an RW arrangement may not be allocated dedicated office space on-campus and may be assigned on campus space that is configured for part-time or shared use.
    3. Employees are responsible for furnishing their remote workspace. The employee’s remote workspace may be subject to an assessment by the University to ensure compliance with applicable health and safety requirements. Please complete the Safe Work Manitoba Office Ergonomics Risk Factor Checklist (Appendix “B”) and submit with your request form.
    4. While working with or using UWinnipeg IT resources, employees are bound by the Acceptable Use of Information Technology Policy.
    5. The employee will be responsible for providing a satisfactory internet connection and other measures necessary to support UWinnipeg’s remote connectivity and cyber security requirements.
    6. To ensure TSC managed computers are maintained and secured, use of VPN is required.
    7. The expectation is that all equipment owned by the University and used at the remote workplace is to be cared for as if it were on campus. Should there be any loss to any University property while in their possession, the employee must notify their manager as soon as this is known. If the item lost is a UWinnipeg IT resource, the Technology Service Desk should also be notified immediately.
    8. The employee must ensure the security of University data. No one other than the employee will have access to University electronic files (including, but limited to, email). All University digital files should only be stored on UWinnipeg-managed devices, UWinnipeg file systems or approved UWinnipeg SaaS solutions.
    9. Employees are covered by the University’s General Liability Insurance while acting on behalf of the University in an RW arrangement. Employees are strongly encouraged to maintain personal liability insurance (homeowner or tenant), which covers the employee’s liability while on their premises for personal reasons. This personal policy will be at the employee’s expense.
    10. The University will not be held liable for any damages to an employee’s property, or for any injuries to family members, visitors, or others in the employee’s home or damages to their property.

Application Process

Employees may make a formal request for an RW arrangement to their immediate supervisor using the RW Request Form.  Employees should assess their ability to accomplish the objectives and expectations of their position prior to requesting an RW arrangement.  Please complete the below forms (Appendix "B" to "D") and submit with your Request Form (Appendix "A").

The administrator shall approve or deny the request, in consultation with the employee’s immediate supervisor, and upon consideration of the above-noted factors.  They may consult with Human Resources as needed.

Approval may be subject to a home office assessment by UWinnipeg Safety and Health. 

Forms