For an increasing number of businesses, telecommuting has proved to be beneficial to both employer and employee. When the needs of the business do not require workers to be physically present in order to perform their work, or where the availability of sufficient suitable space is otherwise a problem, telecommuting might be the answer. However, there are a few conditions that must be met if a telecommuting arrangement is going to work out.
The checklist can be used to evaluate the acceptability of a worker's home office for telecommuting purposes. It also contains a telecommuting agreement that can be used to set forth the terms and conditions under which you will allow a worker to telecommute. The telecommuting site checklist provides a means of objectively evaluating the workspace that an employee proposes to use. An unsuitable site is a strong indication that a worker won't be able to perform as expected in a home office setting. The telecommuting agreement, as modified to reflect the exact needs of your business, sets the expectations of both parties regarding how and where work will be performed.
Telecommuting Site Checklist
This checklist should be completed during a site visit to the employee's proposed home office. The adequacy of the workspace must be determined between you and the employee. The success of the telecommuting arrangement depends on the assessment of the workspace and the ability of the employee to successfully complete the required work in this environment. If the workspace is not adequate, the telecommuting agreement will not work.
- Does the space seem adequately ventilated?
- Is the space reasonably quiet?
- Are all stairs with four or more steps equipped with handrails?
- Are all circuit breakers and/or fuses in the electrical panel labeled as to intended service?
- Do circuit breakers clearly indicate if they are in open or closed position?
- Is all electrical equipment free of recognized hazards that would cause physical harm (frayed wires, bare conductors, loose wires, flexible wires running through walls, exposed wires fixed to the ceiling)?
- Are electrical outlets three-pronged (grounded)?
- Are aisles, doorways and corners free of obstructions to permit visibility and movement?
- Are file cabinets and storage closets arranged so drawers and doors do not open into walkways?
- Do chairs appear sturdy?
- Is the space crowded with furniture?
- Are the phone lines, electrical cords and extension wires secured under a desk or alongside a baseboard?
- Is the office space neat and clean?
- Are floor surfaces clean, dry, level, and free of worn or frayed seams?
- Are carpets well secured to the floor and free of frayed or worn seams?
- Is there a fire extinguisher in the home, easily accessible from the office space (required)?
- Is there a working (test) smoke detector within hearing distance of the workspace (required)?
- The employee agrees to arrange for an energy audit of the home by the local utility company and fire safety inspection by the local fire department within 30 days of the signing of this agreement, provided they can be accomplished free of charge.
- We agree that in our opinion this is an acceptable home office space that allows the employee a reasonable opportunity to meet the job requirements as a telecommuter.
Site Inspected by: ____________________________________________
The following constitutes an agreement between [Your Business] and
[Employee] agrees to participate in the telecommuting program and to adhere to the applicable guidelines and policies. [Your Business] concurs with the employee's participation and agrees to adhere to the applicable guidelines and policies.
Terms and conditions. The telecommuting agreement is subject to the following terms and
Duration. This agreement will be valid for a period of [specify term] beginning on [start date] and ending on [end date]. At the end of that time, both parties will participate in a review, which can result in the reactivation of the agreement.
Work hours. Employee's work hours and work location are specified in the Attachment at the end of this agreement.
Pay and attendance. All pay, leave and travel entitlement will be based on the employee's primary business location. Employee's time and attendance will be recorded as performing official duties at the primary business location.
Leave. Employees must obtain approval before taking leave in accordance with established office procedures. By signing this form, employee agrees to follow established procedures for requesting and obtaining approval of leave.
Overtime. The employee will continue to work in pay status while working at the home office. An employee who works overtime that has been ordered and approved in advance will be compensated in accordance with applicable law and rules. The employee understands that [Your Business] will not accept the results of unapproved overtime work and will act vigorously to discourage it.
By signing this agreement, the employee agrees that failing to obtain proper approval for overtime work may result in removal from the telecommuting program or other appropriate action.
Business-owned equipment. In order to effectively perform their assigned tasks, employees may use [Your Business] equipment at the telecommuting location with the approval of [Your Business]. The equipment must be protected against damage and unauthorized use. [Your Business] owned equipment will be serviced and maintained by [Your Business]. Any equipment provided by the employee will be at no cost to [Your Business], and will be maintained by the employee.
Inspection. The telecommuting location will be inspected periodically to ensure that proper maintenance of [Your Business] equipment is performed, and that safety standards are met. Notice must be given to the employee at least 24 hours in advance of the inspection, which must occur during normal working
Liability. [Your Business] will not be liable for damages to the employee’s property that result from participation in the telecommuting program.
Reimbursement. [Your Business] will not be responsible for operating costs, home maintenance or any other incidental cost (e.g., utilities) whatsoever, associated with the use of the employee's residence. The employee does not relinquish any entitlement to reimbursement for authorized expenses incurred while conducting business for [Your Business].
Workers' Compensation. The employee is covered under the Workers' Compensation Law if injured in the course of performing official duties at the telecommuting location.
Work assignments. The employee will meet with [designate contact person] to receive assignments and to review completed work as necessary or appropriate. The employee will complete all assigned work according to work procedures mutually agreed upon by the employee and [the contact person] according to guidelines and standards stated in the employee's performance plan.
Employee evaluation. The evaluation of the employee's job performance will be based on norms or other criteria derived from past performance and occupational standards consistent with these guidelines. For those assignments without precedent or without standards, regular and required progress reporting by the employee will be used to rate job performance and establish standards. The employee's most recent performance appraisal must indicate fully achieved standards.
Records. The employee will apply approved safeguards to protect [Your Business] records from unauthorized disclosure or damage. Work done at the telecommuting location is considered [Your Business] business. All records, papers, computer files and correspondence must be safeguarded for their return to the primary business location.
Curtailment of the agreement. [Specify whether the employee may continue working for your business if the employee no longer wishes to telecommute. Also specify the circumstances under which the telecommuting agreement will be terminated by your business (e.g., if continued participation fails to satisfy business needs) and the consequences of that termination on the worker's continued employment.]
Performance location. The employee agrees to limit performance of assigned duties to the primary business location or to the approved home location. Failure to comply with this provision may result in termination of the telecommuting agreement and/or other appropriate disciplinary action.
Employee: ___________________________________ Date: _________________
[Contact person]: ______________________________ Date: _________________