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Remote Work - Request a Remote Work Agreement

This article explains the process for Extension employees to request a remote work agreement as well as the review of remote work arrangements (modifications, denials, revocations).

Request a Remote Work Agreement

Overview

Extension supports the use of appropriate flexible and remote work options for employees. We anticipate the use of different work arrangements (on-site, hybrid, and fully-remote) going forward. Some job responsibilities in Extension are conducive to remote work, and many are most effectively performed in-person. Work arrangements must comply with and align with university policy. Under the policy, hybrid and fully remote work arrangements require the approval of a remote work agreement, which is a formal, detailed document that remains on file in the employee’s personnel record. The decision about whether to enter a formal remote work agreement involves consensus between an employee and their supervisor, with agreement by their Dean's Leadership Team member (e.g. Assistant Dean, Associate Dean) and the Dean’s office, with review by Extension HR. This is to ensure that the proposed work arrangement is feasible, secure, reliable, effective, and meets the needs of the Division of Extension.

Short term needs (e.g. quarantine due to exposure, surgery that temporary limits mobility) should be handled using flexible work guidelines or leave. A remote work agreement is only applicable if a work site change will exceed 30 days in length. 

Instructions to Request a Remote Work Agreement

1) Review the UW-Madison Remote Work Policy

Supervisors and employees should thoroughly review the UW-Madison Remote Work Policy prior to beginning the evaluation and approval process for remote work agreements.

2) Review Division of Extension Decision-Making Factors

The employee should use the unlabeled comment box at the end of the remote work agreement request form to write a justification for the request speaking to these factors.

Decision-Making Factors

A.    Job responsibilities 

(e.g. jobs that require physical presence for effective performance are not suitable for remote work)

  • Limits on Amount of Remote Work: Remote work should, in most cases, be limited to no more than 40% of an employee’s hours. 
    • This reflects the nature of the vast majority of our positions’ internal and/or external relationships. Requests for a higher percentage require a more thorough assessment against the criteria outlined in the campus policy as well as the criteria enumerated in this article. 
  • Availability During "Core" Business Hours: Employees – regardless of whether they are working remotely or in-person - must be generally available during “core” business hours (9 am – 3 pm, M‐F) unless their position requires a significant amount of non‐core hours for teaching or other Extension activities.
    • Note: Core hours do not reflect all hours worked; rather they reflect the hours within which most internal collaboration should be focused.
    • Note: Employees who work non-standard hours/days due to teaching or other job duties will in some circumstances only be available for a subset of the core hours.
  • Impact on Key Partners and Customers: The impact of remote work on key partners and customers should be negligible or positive. Many Extension positions are located in facilities of priority partners. In addition, presence is a high priority for some of our core customers. Employees with remote work agreements should take the responsibility for setting up the tools needed to engage virtually with partners and other colleagues when needed.

B. The effective functioning of the overall unit

(e.g., trainees may need in-person assistance; flow of information may be shared more quickly among those physically present; etc.);

  • County Team & Program Impact: Each applicable subset of Extension (e.g., county team, program) should outline how they will function effectively and efficiently with some/all members of team having some portion of their work remote.
  • Attending Meetings in Person: Employees are required to physically attend meetings and other functions when requested by their supervisor, remote schedule notwithstanding. 
  • Managing Staff Remotely: In the instance of a supervisor requesting remote work, they should outline in their remote work agreement how they will successfully manage their staff while working remotely.

C. Potential cost savings to the university, S/C/D, and department;

  • Cost Savings for County & Extension Partners: Consideration will also be given to cost savings for the applicable county or another Extension partner.

D. The needs and preferences of the employee;

E. Employee performance;

F. Equipment needs, workspace design considerations, office space, and scheduling issues; and

  • Note: The employee is responsible for providing all equipment needed to work remotely, except for a laptop computer.

G. Adverse impact between employees with similar job responsibilities in the work unit (prevent inequities).

Additional factors that S/C/Ds wish to consider should be discussed with divisional HR.

  • One additional clarification with respect to the application of this policy in Extension is that the policy applies to all employees. Given the unique relationship between Extension and our county partners, it is important that we assess all positions against the criteria.
 

3) Employee/Supervisor Discussion of Proposed Remote Work Arrangement 

The supervisor and employee should discuss the following items:

  • Employee remote work location
  • Work hours/schedule
  • Frequency of remote work (e.g., three days on-site, two days remote)
  • Presence in virtual and on-site meetings
  • Work and performance expectations
  • Metrics of monitoring work performance
  • Remote work environment
    • Remote work environments should simulate office-like conditions where an individual can ensure productivity levels similar to working on campus. Employees working in a remote environment should be free from regular distractions to their work responsibilities.  An employee must ensure that their remote workspace has the privacy, physical and technical security, appropriate equipment, software, and internet access to adequately perform their work responsibilities.
  • Equipment needs
  • Unit/department plan for remote work
  • Employee and supervisor responsibilities outlined in UW–Madison Remote Work Policy

4) Download & Review the Employee Checklist for Completing a Remote Work Agreement

The employee checklist can be used for the completion and approval of the remote work agreement submission. The employee and supervisor can use this checklist to track relevant information.

Download & Review the Employee Checklist for Completing a Remote Work Agreement

5) Complete & Submit Remote Work Agreement for Approval

Taking the information decided during the supervisor/employee discussion, the employee will initiate the remote work agreement approval process. Remote work agreements will be approved by an employee’s supervisor, Dean's Leadership Team Member, the Dean's Office, and Extension Human Resources. The employee and supervisor will receive e-mail notifications at each step of the process when an action is taken. 

6) Implement Remote Work Agreement 

Once a remote work agreement has been implemented, it is important to ensure the arrangements stay on track. This includes:

  • Regular check points (e.g., bi-weekly employee/supervisor one-on-one meetings)
  • Performance evaluation meetings (e.g., mid-point conversation, summary evaluation)
  • Remote work agreements should be reviewed and updated at a minimum annually.
  • Remote work agreements must designate the employee’s onsite and remote work locations effective throughout the remote work period. Any changes in remote work location during a remote work agreement require the approval of a new remote work agreement.
  • Remote work agreements can be updated or canceled as warranted due to changes in factors such as evolving work responsibilities, availability of equipment, and business needs. Some updates may require the approval of a new remote work agreement.

Review of Denial, Modification, or Revocation of Remote Work Arrangements

A remote work agreement may be denied, modified, or revoked. The supervisor must discuss the reasons for the denial, modification or revocation with the employee and provide a reasonable notice period before the revocation or modification goes into effect. Denials, modifications, and revocations of remote work agreements may be reviewed. (See sections III.6 and X of the UW–Madison Remote Work Policy).

If an Extension employee requests a remote work arrangement and the request is denied at any level of the approval process, or if a supervisor modifies or revokes an established remote work agreement, the employee may request a review of the decision by the Extension Dean’s Office using the following process:

  • Requests for review should be sent to hr@extension.wisc.edu.
  • Components of review requests:
    • The employee should outline the details of the denial, modification, or revocation decision, including the supervisor’s stated reasons for the denial, modification, or revocation
    • In cases of revocation or modification of an approved remote work agreement, the employee should cite the notice period provided before the revocation or modification goes into effect.
    • The employee should submit their request after being notified of the denial, modification, or revocation.
  • The Extension Dean’s Office will issue a decision prior to the revocation or modification effective date.
  • The timelines outlined here may be extended by mutual agreement.
  • The decision from the Extension Dean’s Office is final and cannot be appealed.

Remote Work Resources

Get Help

Questions? Contact hr@extension.wisc.edu




Keywords:Hybrid Fully "Out of State" International Arrangement "On Site" Workplace Flexibility telecommuting   Doc ID:112712
Owner:Nathaniel S.Group:Extension Employee Handbook
Created:2021-07-29 07:44 CSTUpdated:2021-09-16 08:30 CST
Sites:Extension Employee Handbook
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