Telecommuting enables an employee to work off-site for all or part of the workweek on a regular basis. Duke considers telecommuting to be a viable alternative to working from a central Duke worksite in cases where the characteristics of the employee, supervisor, and work are compatible with such an arrangement, and the physical environment, equipment, and technology are adequate to support it.
Telecommuting is a work arrangement that enables a staff member to work at home from another off-site location for all or part of the regular workweek. Telecommuting may be appropriate for only some employees and jobs. It is not an organizational-wide benefit that is available to all employees, and in no way changes the standard policies, terms, and conditions of employment with Duke. Telecommuting arrangements must comply with federal, state and municipal laws that apply to employees at Duke. This includes, but is not limited to, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).
Typically, a Telecommuting arrangement 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.). In cases where the department agrees to support some or all of the costs of an off-site office, the supervisor and staff member should discuss all applicable costs, including that of additional telephone lines, telephone use charges and Internet Service Provider (ISP) charges, as appropriate.
Staff members working under a Telecommuting arrangement will come on-site for periodic meetings and interactions with the 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.
Note: When telecommuting arrangements require use of computing technology from an off-site office, it will be necessary to arrange through the entity or department specific and detailed arrangements for support of the technology, as well as appropriate access to Duke's network. Consideration should also be given to possible working hours and the comparable availability of various administrative systems. Additionally, it is important for supervisors and staff members to be aware of the costs that will be incurred for establishing appropriate hardware, software, and connectivity; costs that will be incurred operating and maintaining that setup; costs of providing support for that setup; etc.
Advantages and 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 supervisor and staff member.|
|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.|
Jerry found that a telecommuting arrangement helped him complete regular reports that required a large amount of undisturbed time to produce. He now works on these reports from home on Tuesdays. The arrangement has helped Jerry meet report deadlines more effectively, reduce his stress level and become more efficient with his time in the office.