Remote work principles and guidelines
Updated Nov. 11, 2021
The Media School fully acknowledges the vital importance and necessity of an on-campus presence for students, visitors, faculty, and staff. At the same time, we do recognize that remote work arrangements (RWA), when successfully implemented, can allow employees to meet job-related expectations while offering an effective alternative to on-campus work.
Following a review of university policy HR-06-08, and in consultation with the Deans, IU Human Resources, and campus colleagues, The Media School wishes to offer the possibility of limited remote work, with supervisor approval, to staff members who hold positions that allow such accommodation. The following guidelines are designed to set clear expectations for directors, supervisors and their staff to ensure the establishment of proper remote work arrangements within The Media School.
Per University Human Resources, remote work is not a right of employment and may not be available to all employees. Some positions, such as some student-facing or facility-dependent roles, may require a 100% on-campus presence and will not be eligible for a remote work arrangement.
Much or most of our work is expected to continue in the way that it did before remote work was common, and a balance of in-person and remote work is required to ensure that the fundamental in-person character of the university is maintained. Remote work is an arranged privilege, and it is not subject to grievance procedures. Staff are in no way obligated to pursue a remote work arrangement.
Staff requesting a remote work arrangement should plan to spend most of their working time on campus, or per a schedule deemed appropriate by the supervisor. Beginning Dec. 6, 2021, through the spring 2022 semester, eligible Media School employees will be offered one remote workday per week. At the end of the academic year, this arrangement will be revisited, but the expectation will continue to be that most working time will be spent on campus.
Full review and approval of a remote work arrangement is at the discretion of the supervisor, pending approval from the deans.
A fixed remote work schedule should be set so that the employee’s remote workday is the same each week. A “floating” remote workday is not an allowable arrangement. Supervisors should plan to coordinate staff meetings via Zoom and/or in person to continue organizational training, staff development and engagement opportunities.
IU will not fully replicate workspaces at both on-campus and off-campus locations. Employees are expected to use IU-provided technology on campus and when working remotely. Staff eligible for remote work who do not yet have an IU-provided laptop or similar device may use personal technology to connect to IU systems, safely and securely, in the short term. Participating staff are required to submit an IU Remote Work Agreement and acknowledge all remote work requirements, and any changes to the remote work plan must be documented.
Initial remote work arrangements will be reviewed at least once during the 2022 spring semester, and the overall continuation of remote work is subject to change at any time per Media School leadership. If a remote work arrangement will end, the employee will be given at least two weeks of notice prior to that change, unless the arrangement is not working and so problematic that an immediate change is required.
Remote work arrangement procedure
Staff who are interested in an ongoing remote work arrangement should first discuss their plan and potential schedule with their supervisor. Ron McFall, director of administration and strategic initiatives, can serve as a resource to think through any issues or challenges related to a particular position.
Once a hybrid remote work plan has been agreed upon by the supervisor and staff member, the supervisor should submit the proposed plan via a Google form. This form will collect the supervisor’s name, staff member’s name, day of the week that the staff member will be scheduled to work remotely and any unique details or information related to that specific arrangement. Note: You must be logged into your IU Google account to access this form.
Plans will be reviewed with the deans, and if approved, staff will initiate a formal Remote Work Arrangement with IU HR. This RWA will be routed for approval to the supervisor and to Ron and Rebecca Stanze before being submitted to IU HR for approval.
Additional scheduling and operational considerations
- Some staff report to two supervisors. Both supervisors should be involved in the planning conversation and should be asked to approve the RWA.
- RWA schedules may be temporarily discontinued to address high-priority needs, such as peak operational periods, special events or projects, or if additional coverage is required due to staff absences or vacancies. Adequate notice and lead time will be provided.
- Supervisors might require new employees to work 100% on campus during the training/evaluation period.
- With rare exception, staff should schedule their remote workday Tuesday through Thursday. Mondays and Fridays are strongly discouraged for use in the RWA due to the high volume of student/visitor traffic on those days and our requirement to provide student services. Most hybrid RWAs will result in staff working standard office hours.
- Staff working remotely should not ask on-campus staff to complete tasks on their behalf. If a position requires a daily presence on campus to complete on-campus tasks, that staff member should be present all week and would not be eligible for an RWA.
- Once finalized, staff remote/on-campus schedules will be communicated in a centralized manner.
Short-term remote work
Staff who are not interested in or do not qualify for an RWA may still encounter situations where working remotely in the short term can allow them to continue to make valuable contributions while also addressing personal needs. Staff with an RWA in place may also encounter challenges outside the days they are scheduled to work remotely. The RWA guiding principles above also apply to short-term or emergency remote work arrangements, primarily:
- Short-term remote work may never be an option for some staff positions, due to their role and responsibilities. IU provides a generous supply of time off that ideally would cover the time needed away from the office.
- Previous remote work approval does not mean that future requests will be approved.
- When working remotely, it is expected that work should be completed with the usual expectation of high-quality results, the employee should be as available and responsive, and hours should be worked on the same schedule as work done on-campus.
Short-term remote work procedures
Requests for short-term remote work should be made in advance, if possible, but as soon as the need arises. Requests should be emailed to supervisors and supervisors are authorized to approve or decline the request, although Ron or Rebecca can serve as a resource to discuss any issues. The accommodation of a sudden need to work remotely can provide the flexibility for staff to address unexpected life circumstances, but it is not intended to be a frequent request.
Before approving a request, supervisors should consider the employee's ability to:
- Meet the requirements listed above.
- Focus on work sufficiently despite minor illness or other home-related distractions.
- Continue to successfully meet the objectives and requirements of their standard work responsibilities.
Some scenarios appropriate for short-term remote work are:
- COVID-19 pandemic-related situations, such as a quarantine requirement for self or family members. COVID-related scenarios may require more flexibility regarding expectations around the employee's ability to work a standard schedule or not have ongoing childcare or eldercare responsibilities.
- Minor personal illness or other short-term health concerns.
- Household emergencies that require the staff person's presence but little attention.
- Sudden, brief interruption of childcare or eldercare.
Scenarios not appropriate for short-term remote work include:
- Prolonged or continued need to stay home for childcare or elder care.
- Out-of-town travel without extenuating, urgent circumstances.