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Remote Working Policy

Remote Working Policy

Date Approved: 2022
Date Revised: N/A

Introduction

Cambrian College of Applied Arts and Technology (hereafter referred to as “Cambrian” or “the College”) recognizes the potential benefits that flexible working arrangements can bring to both the employee and the College. With the philosophy of maintaining highly productive working situations and furthering employee engagement, this policy is intended to address the Remote Working aspect of flexible working arrangements by providing guidance on Remote Working. As an institution, we recognize that well-managed Remote Working Arrangements can be beneficial to both Cambrian and its employees and can help Cambrian respond to challenges and opportunities presented by the changing landscapes of higher education, the business community and the working world.

The policy is intended to enable and support the development of such well-managed Remote Working Arrangements. The ultimate decision regarding whether an individual or group will be permitted to work remotely requires management approval as well as adherence to applicable legislation, regulations, common law, and collective agreements with labour unions (where applicable). The policy is not intended to override or supersede any of the foregoing. The policy is also not intended to confer any right to any individual or group to work remotely without undertaking the prescribed assessment and approval process.

The policy is intended to promote fairness, due process and well-being for all Cambrian employees while recognizing and addressing the many considerations that must be made in administering Remote Working Arrangements. Safety and well-being of employees is of paramount importance. Alignment with Cambrian’s corporate Strategic Plan and operational planning is also vital to achieving a successful and sustainable approach to Remote Working.

This policy covers the typical conditions under which Remote Working Arrangements would be considered. It covers multiple types of Remote Working situations including situations wherein critical incidents have occurred requiring mandatory Remote Working, such the COVID-19 pandemic and Cambrian’s response as directed by Public Health officials. This policy is intended for use outside of any world-wide pandemic situation or a local or national emergency.1

1 This policy has been drafted in 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic. While this situation has informed considerations and guidelines, this policy is ONLY relevant and active from the date of approval.

Purpose

Cambrian is committed to creating opportunities that promote employee well-being and engagement, advance the ability for employees to work productively to achieve institutional goals and objectives, and to create a culture of performance and care. The purpose of this policy is to:

  • Sustain employee productivity, innovation, and effort
  • Decrease employee turnover and absences
  • Increase our ability to attract and retain talent
  • Improve employee satisfaction
  • Use physical space effectively
  • Support Cambrian’s strategic priority of Wellness

Scope

This policy applies to all Cambrian employees. This policy can also apply to teams working on projects. Whereas this policy applies in a broad sense to all employees, it is recognized that not all jobs can be performed remotely or are suitable in all situations for Remote Working, and it is therefore expected that before Remote Working can be approved, it must satisfy the requirements outlined within this policy.

Definitions

Remote Worker: an employee who works outside the traditional office casually, on a consistent basis, or for a defined period of time.

Remote Working Arrangement: a work arrangement in which some, or all, of the work is performed from home or another off-site location usually with the aid of technology sources such as a telephone, laptop, desktop computer, business communication resources and other technology tools

Remote Working Agreement: a documented entered between the College and the employee that outlines the terms of a Remote Working Arrangement that will be for an ongoing basis or for a specified period of time.

Policy Statement

  1. The College approves four types of Remote Working Arrangements. Only two of the four types, Hybrid and Fully Remote will require an application and approval process (Remote Working Agreement) according to this policy and the Remote Work Assessment and Approval Operating Procedure.
    1. Hybrid: A position that can have its time split between remote and on-site e.g., 80/20, 60/40. This arrangement would require a documented agreement specifying which days are to be worked on campus and which are to be at home for a pre-determined period.
    2. Fully Remote: A position that involves regular remote work, where the employee works from home 100% of the time and may never or rarely come to the College. This type of jointly contracted work arrangement is rare, and occurs typically under the following circumstances:
      1. The employee is contracted as a Remote Worker and typically is not required to be on any of Cambrian’s campuses.
      2. The employee negotiates a Remote Working Agreement during the offer process
      3. The College has a talent acquisition concern, where the hard-to- find skill set is possessed by an employee who either negotiates remote work during the offer process or is located where they cannot attend on site. The employee can deliver the same level of effectiveness (meeting agreed deliverables, quality of output and providing the same level of availability and responsiveness) working remotely, and where face to face or on-campus working is not a strict requirement.
      4. A diagnosed medical condition, in accordance with Cambrian’s Workplace Accommodation Policy that prevents the employee from being physically on Campus. Such an arrangement would not fall under this policy, but rather would be considered a medical accommodation and would follow the process and procedures for that process.
      5. The result of a divisional/departmental review of operational efficiencies that justify Remote Working Arrangements as a solution to institutional issues of space challenges, retention, motivation, productivity, overhead expenses, and/or environment imprint management, which would present requirements or opportunities for Remote Working Arrangements
    3. The following two Remote Work Arrangements are not subject to this policy but are included for clarification. These work situations are subject to applicable supervisor and College decision-making.
      1. Flexible: Typically, a short-term Remote Working Arrangement where the employee works from home or some other location for all or some of their regularly scheduled work hours to deal with circumstances that may include:
        1. Focus days when an employee requests time to work remotely to be able to better focus on and dedicate time to a specific project or piece of work.
        2. A short term project
        3. Other circumstances agreed upon by the employee, and, at the manager’s discretion
      2. Critical Situation Remote Working: An unexpected, undefined, and evolving situation that forces all employees or a large percentage of employees to work from home or some other location. Remote working in critical situations may be mandatory as opposed to optional. Such situations are temporary by nature and temporary Remote Working Arrangements are understood not to alter the nature or typical working arrangements of any job. Generally, the timeframe for this work arrangement is undetermined and dictated by circumstances outside the direct control of the College, such as:
        1. Political situations – at a national or provincial level that exposes employees to safety risks if they venture to and from the College.
        2. Health situations – such as a pandemic where relevant Public Health officials have prescribed or directed that employees remain off campus, stay at home or practice physical distancing or have recommended the closure of the College. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic.
        3. Any act affecting employees’ ability to work at College campuses that can be categorized as a force majeure (an act, even or effect that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled such as a natural disaster).
  2. Employees must meet eligibility criteria for a Remote Working Arrangement
    The following guidelines inform the management review and approval process to determine which jobs at the College are appropriate for Remote Working Arrangements.

    1. Jobs that are typically well-suited for Remote Working Arrangements
      1. Jobs with a high level of autonomy and minimal requirements for face-to-face interactions
      2. Jobs that require reading, writing, research, working with data, or talking on the phone
      3. Jobs that can be done off-site without disruption to the flows of work and communication
      4. Jobs that are specifically contracted or developed to be executed remotely
      5. Jobs that can be executed with minimal disruption to student or employee support services
      6. Jobs that can be performed at the Remote Working location in a similar manner as if it were being performed on campus
      7. Jobs for which the output or outcome is measurable.
    2. Jobs that are not well-suited for Remote Working Arrangements
      1. Jobs requiring in-person contact/customer service to support the core functions of the College, such as student and/or employee support services that cannot be provided remotely at the level of service required by the College
      2. Jobs that rely upon specific equipment or supplies to work on-site, which cannot be easily and effectively moved to a remote environment
      3. Jobs working with sensitive documents and confidential information.
  3. The Remote Working Arrangement is considered an alternative way of working to meet the goals and objectives of the College. While Remote Working Arrangements may advance a commitment to, and a culture of employee well-being and engagement, these arrangements are not considered an entitlement and must be supported by the employee’s manager and the eligibility criteria outlined in this policy.
  4. Remote Workers are expected to meet all responsibilities, perform all duties and comply with all the policies that apply to any employee in similar roles, regardless of location.
  5. Remote Working Agreements must be reviewed and approved by Human Resources and the applicable Dean/Director and may be terminated at any time with reasonable notice.
  6. The College has the right to refuse Remote Working Arrangements. Furthermore, despite having a Remote Working Agreement, there may be situations where employees are required to return to in-person work on campus to help support critical resource shortages or for other significant needs, as determined by their direct supervisor/manager.
  7. The College may determine that certain work is to be performed remotely, and in such cases will provide reasonable notice and explanation behind the decision to any employees affected.
  8. This policy provides a general framework for Cambrian’s approach to Remote Working Arrangements. While employees and supervisors have the flexibility to develop arrangements tailored to employees and departmental needs, the basic requirements set forth in the accompanying guidelines document must generally be met.
  9. Specific guidance, processes and forms for the determination and implementation of Remote Working Arrangements are set out in the Remote Work Assessment and Approval Operating Procedure.
  10. Employees must comply with the conditions outlined in this policy and to the guidelines set forth in the Remote Working Agreement.

Responsibilities and Accountabilities

Human Resources is responsible for

  • Providing Human Resources training and advice where required on the implementation of this policy
  • Providing clear guidelines for the assessment and determination of eligibility for Remote Working Arrangements
  • Devising HR practices that support Remote Working Arrangements
  • Approving, co-signing, and maintaining a copy of each Remote Working Agreement

Supervisors/Managers are responsible for

  • Ensuring that all employees within their work team are aware of this policy and the provisions outlined herein
  • Following the Remote Work Assessment and Approval Operating Procedure and complete all applicable forms in partnership with employees
  • Working in collaboration with the Joint Health and Safety Committee, Information Technology Services and Human Resources Department to implement Remote Working Agreements.
  • Checking that appropriate precautions are being taken in accordance with the prescribed control measures to reduce any risks that may arise due to Remote Working Arrangements.
  • Ensuring necessary records are kept related to Remote Working Agreements
  • Managing the performance of the Remote Worker
  • Ensuring that employees who are working remotely are well connected with the work of the team and the College community

Employees are responsible for

  • Requesting access to Remote Working Arrangements by following the Remote Work Assessment and Approval Operating Procedure
  • Complying with the conditions outlined in this policy
  • Maintaining a strong connection with their work team and the College community through active participation in activities such as meetings, discussions, and training
  • Ensuring that any space where they work remotely is provisioned appropriately (e.g., technology, privacy, etc.) to support Remote Working

Joint Health and Safety Committee are responsible for

  • Providing health and safety-related advice and training where required on the implementation of this policy
  • Reviewing and recommend provisions for safe Remote Working – including physical and equipment requirements
  • Assisting with conducting assessments related to Remote Working situations that may impact the ability of the employee to safely perform their job, or that may put others at risk
  • Supporting the process of incident/accident reporting

Information Technology Services are responsible for

  • Providing training and advice on technological support and/or issues, where required on the implementation of this policy
  • Supporting the ability of remote employees to perform their work effectively and safely through the provision of approved technology resources, tools, software, and access
  • Providing guidelines, expectations, and requirements to maintaining the College’s confidential data, system integrity and security
  • Tracking and maintaining all IT equipment used by Remote Workers

Human Rights, Equity and Diversity are responsible for

  • Providing advice and opinions on questions related to human rights, accommodation, and equity as they pertain to this policy and remote work

Facilities are responsible for

  • Supporting, helping deliver and set up, and track any borrowed equipment (e.g., chairs, standing desks, etc.) loaned by Cambrian for Remote Working Agreements