Working during COVID-19

Overview

The University of Washington’s commitment to safely and effectively meeting the public health challenge presented by COVID-19 extends to ensuring that University employees can work from home or another remote location whenever necessary in the coming weeks. Teleworking (or telecommuting) arrangements are not new, but because they may be unfamiliar to employers and managers who have never done so, this resource will help you and your team navigate potential teleworking scenarios.

Included in these new resource pages, you will find guidance for supervisors, employees and departments designed to help set up temporary remote work arrangements quickly and successfully.

What is teleworking and how does it differ from other forms of remote work?
Telecommuting is a work arrangement in which some or all of the work is performed from home or another off-site location. In general, regular office hours are worked and deviations from that schedule require supervisor approval.

Which jobs are suited for teleworking?
Teleworking is easiest to implement for jobs or tasks that require reading, writing, research, working with data and talking on the phone. In general, and at management’s discretion, a job is suited to teleworking if the job or some components of it can be done off-site without disruption to the flow of work and communication.

Which jobs are not as well suited for teleworking?
It is not uncommon to require employees in positions requiring in-person contact/customer service or that rely upon specific equipment or supplies to work on site. Management and/or supervisory roles also generally may be excluded from consideration for telecommuting arrangements unless a department finds such an arrangement practical in meeting job responsibilities. Some jobs that may not seem appropriate at first may be modified so that employees can telework.

What’s most important to starting a productive teleworking arrangement?
When clearly outlined and executed teleworking arrangements can prove beneficial to employees and managers alike. Managers should articulate clear procedures regarding check-in times and hours of availability. With proper planning, communications problems can be minimized. Indeed, well-planned flexible work arrangements sometimes enable departments to extend their service hours, and to make more effective use of space and equipment.