Remote Work & Telecommuting Policies
Dear DU staff members,
As many staff members begin working on campus ahead of the fall term, I would like to share two policies, the pilot remote work policy and the telecommuting policy. The University built these policies, which pertain to staff, with considerable care and consultation based on what we learned from the extended period of remote work made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic. Each policy will be reevaluated and may be revised next spring based on this next year’s experiences.
Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic, among other more devastating consequences, changed the way we work. The University recognizes that while many of us are enjoying a gradual return to a version of life more similar to what we knew before COVID-19, the pandemic is not “over,” and we will need to remain flexible and agile as we move through this next year. We developed the remote work and telecommuting policies understanding the need to balance our commitment to an engaging, active, vibrant campus with the individual needs of our community members. The pilot remote work policy will apply to all campus-based staff. The telecommuting policy is for the rare circumstance when a staff member is approved to work exclusively off-campus and typically outside the Denver metro area. Both the Remote Work Policy and the Telecommuting Policy are available online.
Remote work is an option for certain eligible staff to spend a portion of their time working away from campus after making an agreement with their unit leader. Each college/school/unit, as defined by the applicable vice chancellor, dean or vice provost, will use the Remote Work Policy to determine if they wish to implement remote work in their unit for the 2022 fiscal year. If they elect to do so, unit leaders will develop their unit’s Remote Work Plan, which will determine which staff positions in that unit are eligible for remote work as it aligns to operational need.
The expectation is that DU’s staff will once again deliver exceptional in-person service to our students and the community by the start of the fall 2021 term. Therefore, it is expected that the majority of work will be done on campus unless noted by exceptions approved by the unit leader. That said, remote work may be available for individuals and positions that meet certain eligibility requirements—namely staff who can work independently, are in good standing without documented performance concerns, meet expectations in their current role and who come to a specific agreement with their unit supervisor.
- Before a staff member may apply for remote work, the unit must develop a Remote Work Plan that designates the staff member’s position as eligible for remote work. Unit leaders are encouraged to complete their Remote Work plans no later than August 13.
- If a staff member’s position is approved for remote work in their unit’s Remote Work Plan, that staff member may submit a “Remote Work Request Form” to their unit leader. This form will be available on the HRIC website beginning the week of August 2. (The requests will not be reviewed until the Remote Work Plan has been developed.)
- DU’s unit leaders and supervisors are committed to making equitable decisions regarding requests for remote work.
- Each unit’s needs are unique; there are no guarantees that decisions regarding remote work will be identical across units or departments.
- Reasons for denied remote work requests will be shared and documented with the individual staff member and HR.
At DU, telecommuting—working exclusively off campus and most often outside the Denver metro area—is rare and, by design, only an option in specific circumstances.
Details to note:
- Telecommuting must be pre-approved and only permitted in circumstances detailed in the Telecommuting Policy.
- Positions moved to a telecommuting arrangement (as opposed to remote work in the Denver metro area) because of the COVID-19 pandemic will be subject to the Telecommuting Policy.
- As with remote work, telecommuting is only permitted for certain positions able to work independently and for those who can meet all the essential functions of the position while working wholly off campus.
- Existing staff who wish to telecommute must submit a Request to Telecommute to their supervisor. (The form will be available on the HR website the week of August 2.) The supervisor will evaluate if the position is eligible based on the Telecommuting Policy and if telecommuting meets their unit’s needs and, if so, will seek approval of the unit leader.
Telecommuting or Remote Work Agreements that Predate the COVID-19 Pandemic
Both the pilot remote work and the telecommuting policies recognize that some staff had remote work or telecommuting arrangements prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. If that agreement is documented and existed prior to March 1, 2020—and is still working as determined by the supervisor—it may continue so long as the staff member executes the applicable remote work/telecommuting work agreement.
On behalf of the entire University, thank you for your dedication, patience, consummate professionalism and flexibility as we adapted how we worked this past year in order to protect the community and continue to advance the mission of DU. The new pilot Remote Work Policy and revised Telecommuting Policy are designed to bring clarity and guidance to the entire DU community as we begin adapting, once again, to new circumstances. If you have any questions regarding these policies, please visit the FAQ online or contact your unit leader or HR Partner.
Interim Vice Chancellor of Human Resources