Maine Media Workshops + College recognizes that for certain positions, or under certain circumstances, telecommuting can be effective. Telecommuting is an employer option, not an employee right and is appropriate only when it results in a benefit to the institution. Telecommuting may not be suitable for all employees and/or positions. Maine Media may implement telecommuting as a work option for certain eligible employees.
The purpose of these policies is to define telecommuting and the guidelines and rules under which it will operate. There are significant economic, personal, and production benefits of telecommuting, but there are a number of potential downfalls. These policies are designed to help supervisors and employees understand this type of work environment and their associated rights and responsibilities. These policies and guidelines provide a general framework for telecommuting at Maine Media. It does not attempt to address the special conditions and needs of all employees, nor is it intended to interfere with existing schedules which can vary daily.
Updated: May 2020
Telecommuting allows employees to work at home, on the road or in a satellite location for all or part of their workweek. Maine Media considers telecommuting to be a viable, flexible work option when both the employee and the job are suited to such an arrangement. Telecommuting may be appropriate for some employees and jobs but not for others. Telecommuting is not an entitlement, it is not a company wide benefit, and it in no way changes the terms and conditions of employment with Maine Media Workshops + College.
Telecommuting can be informal, such as working from home for a short-term project or on the road during business travel, or a formal, set schedule of working away from the office as described below. Either an employee or a supervisor can suggest telecommuting as a possible work arrangement.
Any telecommuting arrangement may be on a trial basis and discontinued at will and at any time at the request of either the telecommuter or Maine Media. Every effort will be made to provide adequate notice of such change to accommodate commuting, child care and other issues that may arise from the termination of a telecommuting arrangement. There may be instances, however, when no notice is possible.
Individuals requesting formal telecommuting arrangements must be employed with Maine Media for a minimum of 12 months of continuous, regular employment and must have a satisfactory performance record.
Before entering into any telecommuting agreement, the employee and supervisor, with the assistance of the human resource department, will evaluate the suitability of such an arrangement, reviewing the following areas:
Employee suitability The employee and supervisor will assess the needs and work habits of the employee, compared to traits customarily recognized as appropriate for successful telecommuters.
Job responsibilities The employee and supervisor will discuss the job responsibilities and determine if the job is appropriate for a telecommuting arrangement.
Equipment needs Workspace design considerations and scheduling issues. The employee and supervisor will review the physical workspace needs and the appropriate location for the telework.
Tax and other legal implications The employee must determine any tax or legal implications under IRS, state and local government laws, and/or restrictions of working out of a home-based office. Responsibility for fulfilling all obligations in this area rests solely with the employee.
If the employee and supervisor agree, and the human resource department concurs, a draft telecommuting agreement will be prepared and signed by all parties, and the trial period will commence.
Evaluation of telecommuter performance during the trial period will include regular interaction by phone and e-mail between the employee and the supervisor, and weekly face-to-face meetings to discuss work progress and problems. At the end of the trial period, the employee and supervisor will each complete an evaluation of the arrangement and make recommendations for continuance or modifications. Evaluation of telecommuter performance beyond the trial period will be consistent with that received by employees working at the office in both content and frequency but will focus on work output and completion of objectives rather than on time-based performance.
An appropriate level of communication between the telecommuter and supervisor will be agreed to as part of the discussion process and will be more formal during the trial period. After conclusion of the trial period, the supervisor and telecommuter will communicate at a level consistent with employees working at the office or in a manner and frequency that is appropriate for the job and the individuals involved.
On a case-by-case basis, Maine Media will determine, with information supplied by the employee and the supervisor, the appropriate equipment needs (including hardware, software, modems, phone and data lines and other office equipment) for each telecommuting arrangement. The human resource and IT department will serve as resources in this matter. Equipment supplied by Maine Media will be maintained by Maine Media. Equipment supplied by the employee, if deemed appropriate Maine Media, will be maintained by the employee. Maine Media accepts no responsibility for damage or repairs to employee-owned equipment. Maine Media reserves the right to make determinations as to appropriate equipment, subject to change at any time. Equipment supplied by Maine Media is to be used for business purposes only. The telecommuter must sign an inventory of all Maine Media property received and agree to take appropriate action to protect the items from damage or theft. Upon termination of employment, all Maine Media property will be returned to the company, unless other arrangements have been made.
Maine Media will supply the employee with appropriate office supplies (pens, paper, etc.) as deemed necessary. Maine Media will also reimburse the employee for business-related expenses that are reasonably incurred in carrying out the employee’s job.
The employee will establish an appropriate work environment within his or her home for work purposes. Maine Media will not be responsible for costs associated with the setup of the employee’s home office, such as remodeling, furniture or lighting, nor for repairs or modifications to the home office space.
Consistent with Maine Media’s expectations of information security for employees working at the office, telecommuting employees will be expected to ensure the protection of proprietary company and customer information accessible from their home office. Steps include the use of locked file cabinets and desks, regular password maintenance, and any other measures appropriate for the job and the environment.
Employees are expected to maintain their home workspace in a safe manner, free from safety hazards. Maine Media will provide each telecommuter with a safety checklist that must be completed at least twice per year. Injuries sustained by the employee in a home office location and in conjunction with his or her regular work duties are normally covered by the company’s workers’ compensation policy. Telecommuting employees are responsible for notifying the employer of such injuries as soon as practicable. The employee is liable for any injuries sustained by visitors to his or her home worksite.
Telecommuting is not designed to be a replacement for appropriate child care. Although an individual employee’s schedule may be modified to accommodate child care needs, the focus of the arrangement must remain on job performance and meeting business demands. Prospective telecommuters are encouraged to discuss expectations of telecommuting with family members prior to entering a trial period.
Telecommuting employees who are not exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act will be required to accurately record all hours worked using Maine Media’s time-tracking system. Hours worked in excess of those scheduled per day and per workweek require the advance approval of the telecommuter’s supervisor. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in the immediate termination of the telecommuting agreement.
Ad Hoc Arrangements
Temporary telecommuting arrangements may be approved for circumstances such as inclement weather, special projects or unexpected circumstances. These arrangements are approved on an as-needed basis only, with no expectation of ongoing continuance.
Other informal, short-term arrangements may be made for employees on family or medical leave to the extent practical for the employee and the organization and with the consent of the employee’s health care provider, if appropriate.
All informal telecommuting arrangements are made on a case-by-case basis, focusing first on the business needs of Maine Media Workshops + College.
REMOTE ACCESS POLICY FOR INFORMATION SYSTEMS
Update: May 2020
Remote access to Maine Media Workshops + College network is essential to maintain our Team’s productivity, but in many cases this remote access originates from networks that may already be compromised or are at a significantly lower security posture than our corporate network. While these remote networks are beyond the control of Maine Media’s policy, we must mitigate these external risks the best of our ability.
The purpose of this policy is to define rules and requirements for connecting to Maine Media’s network from any host. These rules and requirements are designed to minimize the potential exposure to Maine Media from damages which may result from unauthorized use of Maine Media’s resources. Damages include the loss of sensitive or confidential data, intellectual property, damage to public image, damage to critical Maine Media internal systems, and fines or other financial liabilities incurred as a result of those losses.
This policy applies to all Maine Media employees and personally-owned computers or workstations used to connect to Maine Media’s network. This policy covers any and all technical implementations of remote access used to connect to Maine Media’s networks.
It is the responsibility of Maine Media’s employees with remote access privileges to Maine Media’s network to ensure that their remote access connection is given the same consideration as the user’s on-site connection to Maine Media.
General access to Maine Media’s network is strictly limited to Maine Media employees, contractors, vendors and agents (hereafter referred to as “Authorized Users”). When accessing Maine Media’s network from a personal computer, Authorized Users are responsible for preventing access to any Maine Media computer resources or data by non-Authorized Users. Performance of illegal activities through the Maine Media’s network by any user (Authorized or otherwise) is prohibited.
Remote access may be requested/authorized by the employee’s department director. The department director will contact Maine Media’s IT consulting firm to authorize remote access. Once remote access is granted the employee may contact the IT consulting firm for remote access connection options, including how to obtain a remote access login, troubleshooting, etc.
Secure remote access must be strictly controlled with encryption (i.e., Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and strong pass-phrases. Maine Media’s IT consulting firm will supply this information upon request after employee has approval for remote access.
Authorized Users shall protect their login and password, even from family members while using a computer to connect remotely to Maine Media’s corporate network. Authorized Users shall ensure the remote host is not connected to any other network at the same time, with the exception of personal networks that are under their complete control or under the complete control of an Authorized User or Third Party.
Use of external information system resources to conduct Maine Media business must be approved in advance by Maine Media’s IT consulting firm.
All hosts that are connected to Maine Media internal networks via remote access technologies must use the most up-to-date anti-virus software, this includes personal computers. Third party connections must comply with requirements as stated in the Third Party Agreement.
Personal equipment used to connect to Maine Media’s networks must meet the requirements of Maine Media-owned equipment for remote access. Maine Media’s IT consulting firm will need access to employee’s personal computer, remotely, to ensure that requirements are met. Failure to allow remote access for these purposes will result in loss of employee’s permission to telecommute.