UW Department of Computer Science & Engineering

Occasional Telecommuting Policy

Last changed: 7/3/00 by Ed Lazowska


The purpose of this policy is to outline the requirements for employees of CSE to engage in telecommuting on an occasional basis. The policy applies when a well-defined task is to be performed in a finite amount of time.  Tasks covered by this policy should have a duration of approximately one day.   It must be evident that this temporary arrangement would provide an increase in the productivity for both the employee and the department.  Each occasion shall be planned and documented as outlined below.

This policy does not cover telecommuting on a regular basis, although it is the department's intention to consider this in the future.   Other examples of situations not covered include working at home for some number of days each week or working a portion of each day at home. 


Occasionally, situations arise in which, if an employee could free himself or herself from normal office interruptions for a day or two, some desperately needed task could be completed. Thus, we recognize that for many employees, both the department and the employee will benefit from an occasional, justified, and documented telecommuting day.

The main challenge that arises from arranging for an employee to telecommute is "coverage" issues for "little emergencies" in Sieg -- coverage issues that are similar to those that we cope with already for vacation or sick days. It is important to ensure that telecommuting by one employee does not impose an undue burden on another employee.

It is intended, then, that occasional telecommuting be an arrangement between an employee and his or her supervisor in terms of justification and documentation. Coverage issues should be arranged between the employee and the co-workers who would be directly affected. We hope to provide a framework in which these goals can be accomplished without hurt feelings, but an employee who feels that an undue burden is being imposed by a co-worker's telecommuting, and who cannot work this out peer-to-peer, should contact his or her own supervisor or one of the CSE staff ombudspeople to resolve the problem.

Arranging a Day of Telecommuting

Since the employee is to be given credit for work done while telecommuting, the employee and his or her supervisor should agree on a plan that includes all of the following points:

This plan should be in writing and may be in the form of an email.  It is not the intention of this policy that the provision of the documentation shall impose an undue burden of time on the employee or supervisor.   A sentence or two explaining each of the above points is sufficient.

Final Documentation

At the conclusion of the task, the above agreement should be printed out, together with a short description of what was accomplished.  The employee and the supervisor shall sign this paper and give it to the payroll coordinator, who shall add it to the employee's personnel file.

Regular Telecommuting

Subsequent to the development of this CSE policy for occasional telecommuting, UW has set forth a campus-wide policy for "telework" -- regular telecommuting. If you're interested in reading this policy, it's here.