Remote Work Guidance

HRBP iconTo provide the opportunity for work/life balance, job satisfaction and the ability to be a more inclusive workplace, Wichita State University recognizes the need to have Remote Work as an option. Remote Work may be an option for employees whose position is conducive to Remote Work and in cases where it is mutually agreeable to the Employee and the Leader. To facilitate Remote Work Situations and mitigate the unique administrative and legal issues inherent in them, these guidelines have been established. It is important to remember that Remote Work is a privilege, not an entitlement. Remote Work is approved by Leaders on a case-by-case situation, based on the feasibility of the request and consistent with the mission of the University and the respective department or unit. Some positions and situations are not suitable for Remote Work.

Some Remote Work situations are less complex, and the Leader may approve the request by simply documenting what has been agreed to. Other more complex situations, may require completion of a Remote Work Request form that will be reviewed by the Unit Leader and Senior Leadership prior to the start of Remote Work.

Remote Work Requests are required by the University if:

  • Regular Remote Work (as defined below) is performed at an Alternate Work Location outside the state of Kansas;
  • Remote Work is being performed internationally; or
  • The Employee is on an H1B/VISA and the Alternate Work Location is different than the Assigned Work Site approved on the H1B/VISA application.

If none of the above are applicable and a Remote Work Request is not required, Remote Work involving an Alternate Work Location should be documented in writing and retained in the department. Suggested topics for Leaders to include in discussion with the Employee and memorialize in writing is provided below under "APPROVAL OF REMOTE WORK"

Definitions

Alternate Work Location: "Alternate Work Location" shall mean the Leader-approved alternate location where the Employee will be performing his or her work on a temporary, occasional, or regular basis. The Alternate Work Location is not the Employee's Assigned Work Site. An Alternate Work Location may consist of one or more locations during any given workweek, but it shall not cross over into two different states or countries for more than thirty days without a separate Remote Work Request.

Assigned Work Site: "Assigned Work Site" shall mean the location where the Employee is regularly assigned to perform his or her work. The Assigned Work Site is typically a location owned, operated, managed, leased or controlled by the University and is in the State of Kansas. The Assigned Work Site may consist of one or more locations, but it cannot include the Alternate Work Location.

Employee: "Employee" shall mean an individual who provides services to the University on a regular basis in exchange for compensation and receives a W-2 for such services. This includes temporary and part-time Employees.

Leader: "Leader" shall mean individuals at the University who have direct supervision of the Employee.

Remote Work: "Remote Work" shall mean work duties that are performed somewhere other than the Employee's Assigned Work Site.

Remote Work Request: "Remote Work Request" shall mean the form that is completed and submitted for review. This form is used to document Alternate Work Locations that are located outside of Kansas or for an Employee on an H1B/VISA working outside of the Assigned Work Site on the H1B/VISA.

Remote Work Arrangement: "Arrangement" shall mean the documented conversation that happens between Employee and their Leader to memorialize the understanding between the Employee and the Leader when a Remote Work Request is not required.

Senior Leadership: "Senior Leadership" shall mean a Vice President or Vice President level equivalent.

Unit Leader: A "Unit Leader" shall mean the person who has direct or indirect supervisory authority over the Employee. Unit Leaders may include the following positions (or their designee): Deans, Center Directors, Executive Directors, General Counsel, Vice Presidents, and the President.

Remote Work

Each Remote Work situation is unique, depending on the needs of the position, Leader, and Employee. The Employee and Leader should work together to ensure that the Alternate Work Location is safe, free from distractions, is conducive to maintain appropriate confidentiality of records and information. The Employee must have access to a quiet, remote space to perform work and have access to a secure, high speed internet connection.

While working remotely, Employees must comply with all policies, regulations and laws regarding their employment and generally have the same conditions for compensation, benefits, leave, privileges, rights and review procedures as Employees who are not working remotely. While some remote work will necessitate the presence of pets, family members, or house guests in the Remote Work location, such presence cannot negatively affect the productivity of the Employee.

An injury that occurs on the job during established working hours at an Alternate Work Location must follow the University procedures for reporting accidents. Refer to the Workers Compensation information on the HR web page.

Types of Remote Work

Occasional

Occasional Remote Work is infrequent, not regularly scheduled requests to perform work remotely. Situations that may be approved as Occasional Remote Work might include:

  • Unable to travel or report to the Assigned Work Site due to emergency or unforeseeable circumstances such as an inoperable vehicle or temporary travel restrictions.
  • A personal need at home, such as a meeting a service technician that cannot be done outside business hours but in which the Employee is still able to fulfill all work obligations.
  • A temporary workplace disruption, such as office remodeling, a power outage, etc.
  • A need to work remotely on a short-term and infrequent basis and is approved by the Leader.

Temporary

Temporary Remote Work is short-term, defined as 30 days or less. If a question exists about the potential effectiveness of Remote Work, the Leader may authorize Remote Work on a temporary basis with regular and scheduled reviews to determine within those 30 days if occasional or regular Remote Work is an option.

Regular

Regular Remote Work is continuous (does not fall within Occasional or Temporary Remote Work Types), scheduled, and may include multiple Alternate Work Locations. It can be for a defined timeframe or on-going. Regular Remote Work must be approved by the Leader and may require additional approval from Unit Leader and Senior Leadership before the Regular Remote Work begins.

Remote Work as a Workplace Accommodation

Employees may request Remote Work as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") or as the result of a covered illness or injury pursuant to state or federal laws. Employees should request Remote Work by completing a Workplace Modification Employee Request Form and submitting this form to his/her Leader. Employees with medical conditions or disabilities that require an accommodation to perform their essential job duties will work through the request for accommodation process with their Leader and can reach out to their Leader and/or assigned Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP) with questions.

Remote Work Outside of the State of Kansas

Remote Work where the Alternate Work Location is outside of the state of Kansas (including outside the country) will be subjected to applicable laws of the state or country where the Employee resides and/or works. Such Remote Work may have a negative impact on the department as it relates to payroll taxes, unemployment and workers compensation benefits, work authorization restrictions, insurance, and general liability. As a result, all Remote Work that includes an Alternate Work Location outside the state of Kansas, must be reviewed by Human Resources and the Office of General Counsel for a risk analysis prior to the approval of remote work. Approvals may be required by Unit Leader and Senior Leadership if the Alternate Work Location is at a location that has been deemed by the University as needing additional review.

It is the Employee's responsibility to notify the WSU Payroll Office about any tax location changes.

Denial of Remote Work

Some positions cannot be performed remotely and some Employees are not eligible for Remote Work. Remote Work shall be considered on a case-by-case situation. There may be a number of factors that deem a Remote Work Request ineligible. Such factors include, but are not limited to:

  • The essential functions of the Employee's position cannot be performed, with or without an accommodation, in an Alternate Work Location or for the period requested;
  • Remote Work would cause an undue hardship on the Unit or the University;
  • The data security requirements for the position cannot be met or maintained at the Alternate Work Location without additional equipment or significant expense;
  • In-person attendance is required during some or all of the work day (e.g., training, planning meetings, research);
  • The Employee is not qualified due to chronic poor performance, history of low productivity, proven inability to complete work without supervision, etc.; or
  • Remote Work cannot be supported due to tax, insurance or other legal requirements that apply as a result of the Employee reporting to work at the Alternate Work Location.

Leaders are encouraged to partner with the HRBP in evaluating a Remote Work Request denial.

Leaders should document any decision to deny a Remote Work Request in writing and communicate the decision to the Employee.

Approval of Remote Work

Remote Work Requests are required by the University if:

  • Regular Remote Work (as defined above) is performed at an Alternate Work Location outside the state of Kansas;
  • Remote Work is being performed internationally; or
  • The Employee is on an H1B/VISA and the Alternate Work Location is different than the Assigned Work Site approved in the H1B/VISA application.

All Remote Work Requests should be a discussed between the Employee and their Leader. If the Leader is in agreement, with supporting the Remote Work Request, then an online form should be filled out by the employee.  If risks are identified, the Leader will receive communication from the General Counsel’s office and the HRBP will work with the department on any next steps and required approvals.

If a Remote Work Request is not required and the Remote Work is occurring at an Alternate Work Location, Leaders are encouraged to have a conversation with the Employee and memorialize the understanding of the Arrangement in writing. An optional form is available for this purpose. The aforementioned optional form, or any other documentation is to be retained in the department and could include any or all of the following information:

  • Employee's Assigned Work Site
  • Employee's Requested Alternate Work Location
  • The Remote Work schedule:
    • Establish working hours during which staff must be available for communication.
    • Set expectations for team communication method(s) (phone, email, zoom/teams, etc.) and any regular meetings that require participation.
    • Establish regular schedule for conversations by phone or electronic communication during the workweek.
    • Specify the method for reporting work results. Identify expectations for communicating any barriers that prevent completion of work.
    • Establish any arrangements or expense payments for associated travel if applicable for on-site meetings.
  • Equipment needed and expectation of use:
    • Identify what level of support will be provided by the department (office furniture, paper, mailing/shipping funds, office supplies, computer, printer, phone, internet, or remote access service and devices).
    • Set expectations of University provided equipment (i.e. "University laptop and hotspot shall be used for all work performed – no personal computers," "Employee shall use personal printer but may submit request for reimbursement of costs incurred for printer paper and toner with valid receipt and as long as submitted within ten (10) days of purchase," etc.).
    • Identify mechanisms to return University property and equipment if arrangement changes or ends.
  • Information security expectations:
    • ITS Remote Working resources.
    • Compliance with all software licensing, virus protection, data security measures (i.e., Duo authentication) is required.
    • Security and confidentiality of University records must be maintained and stored in University identified drives accessed via secure remote access technology.
    • The Employee must immediately report any damage to equipment, either physical or through malicious malware, phishing, etc. to ITS. For malicious malware, email spamreport@wichita.edu for immediate support.
    • Data Security Plan, as needed.

Executing an approved Remote Work Request or Arrangement does not provide the Employee any right or guarantee to continuous or ongoing Remote Work. The approved Request or Arrangement is intended to memorialize the understanding between the Employee and the Leader of the Remote Work, the Leader's communication expectations, and any equipment or other conditions. The approved Request or Arrangement is not a contract of employment and does not provide any contractual rights to continued employment. It does not alter or supersede the terms of the existing employment relationship. All Wichita State University policies and procedures continue to apply. All Remote Work Requests and Arrangements must receive approval and are not effective until all required levels of Leadership have approved.

The Employee or the Leader can end or alter the Remote Work Request or Arrangement at any time. All Employee-proposed changes to an existing Remote Work are subject to Leader approval.

The Employee is expected to report to the Assigned Work Site at the time the Remote Work ends (unless extended).

Ad-hoc modification(s) to the Remote Work Request or Arrangement should be documented and discussed between the Employee and Leader. Long-term or substantial modifications should be appropriately documented through a revised Remote Work Request or Arrangement.

Leaders are encouraged to review all Remote Work Request and Arrangements at least once annually.

Notice to Payroll of remote Work Request

All approved Remote Work Requests must be reported to Payroll by the Employee before the end of the first pay period in which the Remote Work begins so that any tax or other withholding requirements can be adjusted.

Terminating Remote Work

Remote Work may end or be revoked at any time by the Leader. Reasons for ending Remote Work may include but are not limited to the same reasons set forth under the section "DENIAL OF REMOTE WORK." The Employee is expected to report to the Assigned Work Site within 10 business days from the date the notice is provided.

Leaders are encouraged to partner with their HRBP if they are contemplating ending Remote Work.

Ensuring Successful Remote Work

Leaders may use the guidelines below to identify situations that may be conducive to Remote Work:

  • Review and confirm that the job requirements of the position can be performed remotely.
  • Choose positions that have clearly defined tasks and essential functions with results that can be measured effectively without frequent and regular direct supervision.
  • Ensure that the Remote Worker has proven he/she is self-motivated and responsible, well-organized, and self-disciplined.
  • Ensure the Remote Worker is familiar with the position requirements, is knowledgeable about procedures and policies, and is an effective communicator with a history of dependability, reliability, and responsible discharge of work duties.

Possible Equipment Needs for a Remote Worker

Most Employees need some equipment, no matter where they work. Equipment expands the types of work they can do away from their primary work site, which enables them to work remotely more effectively.

In the event of equipment failure or service interruption, the Employee must notify the Leader immediately. Responsibility of replacement due to failure or loss will be subject to review based upon the nature of the circumstances identified. Commonly utilized office supplies will be provided by the Unit as needed. Employee's out-of-pocket expense for other supplies will be reimbursed only by prior approval of the Leader.

Examples of equipment that may be needed by a Remote Worker include:

  • Phone (home or cell)
  • Voice mail
  • Computer
  • Email
  • Fax machine
  • Modem
  • Printer
  • Software
  • Technical support

Handling Equipment Needs

When addressing a Remote Worker's equipment needs, Leaders should consider the following options to reduce the burden on the department and the Employee:

  • Remote Worker plans Remote Working days, so they do not need additional equipment.
  • Remote Worker uses their own computer.
  • Department may provide some things, such as a modem, broadband connection, or a second phone line.
  • Department may provide laptops for Employees to check out on Remote Working days.
  • Department may provide or purchase equipment for Remote Working.
  • Employee may have their office phone routed to their personal home or cell phone.

Training Remote Workers

Training is vital to Remote Working success. Leaders are encouraged to train their Employees about policies, processes, forms, and restrictions that may impact them while working remotely. Proper training helps reduce the number of potential problems by providing Remote Workers the opportunity to:

  • Learn about departmental policies and Leader expectations.
  • Ask questions and raise concerns.
  • Develop workable solutions.
  • Understand what makes Remote Working successful in this position.
  • Communicate with payroll if their work is located out of state.
Common Considerations for a Leader

Leaders are often challenged by a number of questions when Remote Work is being evaluated. Leaders are encouraged to work with their HRBP to talk through these questions when considering requests for Remote Work:

  • Does the Employee have satisfactory performance that meets or exceeds the expectations of his/her current Leader?
  • Are adequate staff available at the non-remote location to perform job duties that cannot be performed remotely?
  • Will changes in workload, work schedule, position duties, or office or department offerings need to occur to ensure the unit can continue to meet its objectives?
  • Is there a business need for Remote Work?
  • Could services be improved if Remote Work was implemented?
  • Could implementation of Remote Work help retain top talent?
  • What precedent is being established, and will others in similar situations be allowed to work remotely at an alternate location?
  • How will departmental impacts be addressed?
  • How will Employee completion of job assignments be tracked?
  • What expectations are there for the Employee to work remote (i.e.: expectation to return to campus for meetings, etc., start/end work, availability/accessibility of the Employee, etc.)?
  • How is success defined in this remote role?
  • How will the change be implemented and communicated to team members?
  • How will you track and monitor hours that are reported by non-exempt staff for approval, and ensure compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?
    • Non-exempt Employees are required to report all hours worked, are eligible for overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek and must be paid for all time spent during travel, in accordance with state and federal wage and hour laws.
  • Are there additional budgetary considerations for the Employee to work remote (e.g. travel, equipment needs, overtime, etc.?
  • Are budgetary resources available for any required compensation of time for travel, commuting to campus, overtime , equipment needs, etc.?
  • Will there be any requirements for in-person attendance (e.g. training, planning, meetings, research, etc.) that should be discussed and documented?

Back to Top


Who to Contact

HR Business Partners
Find your division's HR Business Partner
Or email HR.ServiceCenter@wichita.edu 
Human Resources Logo

SME: RR/LA/MH/JE
Updated: 06/02/2021 SRAP