Remote working tips

Alternative work arrangements allow employees to work at home or any location that allows connection to university resources. Additionally, these arrangements are cost effective in terms of administrative space located on campus and help with environmental stewardship by lessening the number of commuters on the road. They are granted to employees with the approval of their supervisor and/or the appointing authority, with the understanding that a supervisor still may change work expectations or an employee’s work schedule, and that changing circumstances may cause the arrangement to be discontinued or modified at any time.

Please keep in mind that not all positions and not all employees are suited to remote working. Each employee must work with their supervisor to determine whether an alternative work schedule is right for the work they do.

Remote working is not an entitlement or universitywide benefit, and it in no way changes the terms and conditions of employment with University of Colorado. Remote workers are held to the same standards and policies as those working on campus, including keeping our university data secure, being responsive and respectful to those we work with, and providing quality work deliverables.   

Review the How do I...Remote / Alternative Worker's Guide to Technology Success for more information.

Creating your home workspace

Remote working necessitates a dedicated space that clearly separates your work from your home environment. Even if you can’t dedicate a whole room as your home office, create a space that communicates to you–and the rest of your family–that while you are there, you are at work. It can be anything from a transformed closet to a corner of your living room that has a desk, chair, and computer monitor. Whatever it is, setting space aside helps prevent you from blurring the lines between work and personal life and to maintain a good work-life balance. Here are some considerations for selecting a remote workspace.

  • Pick a room in your house that is quiet, out of the flow of traffic, and that is comfortable to work in for long periods of time.
  • Select a stable internet provider with enough bandwidth to support the work you do.  
  • Customize your workspace for efficiency, which will help with productivity.
  • Keep your workspace clean and uncluttered with non-work-related items.
  • Consider investing in a comfortable, ergonomic desk chair and appropriate lighting for your work area. 
  • Ensure power cords are concealed and do not pose a trip hazard, and that file boxes and other work-related equipment are not stored in your walking path.
  • Talk with your supervisor about ways they can help you be more efficient, such as possibly temporarily bringing equipment home from your campus workspace (like you’re your computer, monitors and headset). Ensure that you keep an inventory of equipment you take home on file with your supervisor.
  • Create an OIT Service Desk ticket requesting that your work phone be set up on Jabber so that you can receive calls through your computer as though at your campus desk.  
  • Protect your body by ensuring that your workspace is set up ergonomically. The National Institutes of Health provides a self-assessment checklist to help ensure that your workstation is safe.
  • And don’t forget to stand up, stretch, and walk around periodically! Mayo Clinic provides a guide to office stretches to help keep you from stiffening up.   

Etiquette and expectations when working remotely

Working remotely requires the same diligence in completing work and the same responsiveness to email and phone calls as being physically located in a campus office. Here are the minimum expectations and etiquette for working from home–be sure to speak with your supervisor regarding additional expectations they have for you.

  • Agree to communication guidelines with your supervisor and team members to establish a common expectation for responding to queries and emails.
  • Decide with your supervisor and team members whether it would be helpful to designate core hours or days when team members are in the office or available for meetings and conference calls.
  • Consider using Microsoft 365 productivity tools like Teams, OneDrive, Planner and ToDo to collaborate with and keep in touch with your team members and campus partners. Zoom is also available to all employees to facilitate face-to-face meetings, and staying connected.
  • Let colleagues, supervisors, and customers know where and when you are working. It is important that others know how to reach you and when you are available for meetings.
  • Keep your Microsoft Outlook calendar up-to-date and share at least your free/busy status with all university and affiliate employees.
  • Be available on Teams for instant messaging (or whichever communication tool your team uses). Your up-to-date calendar will automatically update your status (available, busy, away, do not disturb) when using Microsoft Outlook.
  • Set time aside at least daily to respond to email and voice mail.
  • Have a working computer camera to participate in video calls. In a remote environment, seeing people in a meeting is more important than ever. If you don’t have a camera, speak with your supervisor about helping you order one.
  • Use email effectively, which includes creating a subject line that alerts the reader to the topic, the level of urgency, and the required action.