Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA)

Telecommuting

Telecommuting is the practice of using telecommunication technologies to facilitate work at a site away from the traditional office location and environment.

Telecommuting:

  • Enables a staff member to work from an off-site location for all or part of the regular workweek,
  • May be appropriate for only some staff and jobs,
  • Must comply with federal, state and municipal laws that apply to staff at GVSU. This includes, but is not limited to, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA),
  • Will specify the number of hours to be worked at home and the specific time in which this will occur (eg., every Tuesday, the first Monday of the month, etc.),
  • Is not an organizational-wide benefit that is available to all staff, and in no way changes the standard policies, terms, and conditions of employment with GVSU.

Other considerations:

  • GVSU does not cover or provide for the additional cost of an off-site office, including that of additional telephone lines, telephone use charges and Internet Service Provider (ISP) charges, etc.
  • Staff members working under a telecommuting arrangement will come on-site for periodic meetings and interactions with the unit head/supervisor. 
  • Telecommuting does not connote the professional or management practice of working at home after hours to work on reports or presentations or to catch up on reading.
  • If  children or adults in need of continuing or extended care are in the home during the employee's at-home working hours, another individual should be present to provide the primary care.

Get the Form to request a Telecommunting Agreement.

Advantages and Challenges

 

Advantages Challenges
Telecommuting reduces or eliminates a staff member's daily commute, which can lead to lower stress levels and lower personal expenses. Staff members who telecommute have fewer opportunities for face-to-face communication with their supervisor and co-workers; as a result, they may find it difficult to avoid feelings of alienation - "out of sight - out of mind."
Staff members who telecommute are likely to be more productive because of fewer interruptions. Telecommuting will be difficult to implement successfully unless there is a high level of trust and on-going communication between the appointing officer, unit heads/supervisors and staff.
Telecommuting may be a good arrangement for staff members doing project-oriented or independent work. It is also a good arrangement for staff members whose work requires long periods of quiet, focused time. It may be difficult to implement a successful telecommuting arrangement if a staff member uses telecommuting as a substitute for their regular dependent care arrangements.
Telecommuting has the potential to attract and retain staff members and decrease absenteeism and tardiness. The initial cost for a home office set up may be expensive: technology, telephone, safety, tech support, etc.  GVSU does not pay for such costs (see request for Telecommuting Agreement Form).
Telecommuting may promote a more environmentally friendly work arrangement due to the decreased usage of fuel for commuters. Depending on the off-site location, local tax implications may apply.  Contact Payroll at payroll@gvsu.edu or 616-331-2237 for assistance.   
 
If a FWA is agreed to, typically a staff member will be able to return to their original work arrangement.  However, this should be discussed during the approval process. 

 

Page last modified February 27, 2013