Telecommuting FAQs for Classified Professionals

Sonoma County Junior College District

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Classified Professionals:

Temporary Telecommuting Guidelines, as of March 26, 2020

In order to minimize the spread of COVID-19 virus, the Sonoma County Junior College District has advised that all employees avoid on-site work as much as possible by working remotely to implement social distancing work practices on a temporary basis. Telecommuting will be encouraged consistent with the mission of the District and respective department or unit when it is appropriate and viable for work to be performed remotely. These guidelines are a temporary measure to address the current health situation and will be only used for that purpose.

 

Questions & Answers

  1. Will my job description change while I am telecommuting?

To the extent possible, all existing duties, obligations and responsibilities remain unchanged. Telecommuting employees are expected to abide by all District and departmental policies and procedures, rules and regulations, and Collective Bargaining Agreements. With that said, some employees may be asked to perform essential duties that are not normally their responsibility during the current health situation.

While temporarily telecommuting, employees should continue to maintain confidentiality, professionalism, productivity, performance, communication, timeliness of assignments, and responsiveness standards as normal.

 

  1. How should I stay engaged with my job duties and maintain standard communication practices with my supervisor and colleagues?

While you are telecommuting, you will still perform your assigned work duties and be accessible during the established telecommuting work schedule, as if you are working at your District worksite. Some of your duties may vary if you have work that is not possible to be performed off-site and there are other essential District needs that you could assist with.

You should be accessible during your temporary telecommute work schedule via the manner and technology that is best for you and your supervisor, which may include a laptop computer, mobile phone, email, messaging application, video conferencing, instant messaging and/or text messaging. Employees will participate in scheduled work meetings, trainings, and other department activities as part of your regular duties or as requested by your supervisor. Employees should check and respond to District- related email, telephone, or other designated communication methods on a consistent basis as if you were working at a District work site.

 

  1. What do I need to know about the technology that I am using in order to perform work while telecommuting?

All standard District rules and policies governing use of equipment and technology still apply (See Board Policy 2.13/(P). District-provided equipment will be serviced and maintained by the District. Employees are responsible for servicing and maintaining any personal equipment, materials, and technologies used by the employee for District purposes.

If you will use a personal mobile device or personal desktop while telecommuting, you should consult with your manager as well as the District’s Information Technology team to ensure appropriate set up of your personal device(s).

Please see these tips for network security and for working remotely (provided by our Information Technology department).

 

  1. What will my work schedule be while I am telecommuting?

You will establish your assigned work schedule with your supervisor. Your work schedule may vary from your normal schedule, which may not coincide with the District’s core hours (see Article 6 of the District/SEIU contract). If you need a variable schedule based on caring for children or others while you are working from home, please work with your supervisor.

Classified Professionals must still take rest and meal breaks while telecommuting in compliance with the District/SEIU Labor Union Agreement. Classified Professionals must consult with their supervisors in advance for any approval to work additional hours outside of their temporary telecommute work schedule, including overtime and/or compensatory time.
 

  1. What should I do in order to prepare my home work environment for performing my work remotely?

Employees are responsible for maintaining a safe and ergonomically appropriate telecommuting worksite. Employees are encouraged to work with the supervisor to make arrangements to pick up any equipment from their District work sites to be utilized from home while they are telecommuting. Contact Toni Chase or Robin McHale for questions about creating an ergonomically appropriate workspace. Please also see either option 1 or option 2 for online resources for preparing your home worksite.

The District is not liable for damages to the employee’s personal or real property during the course of performance of official duties or while using District equipment in the employee’s residence or other property, except where required by law. Please also see Safety & Ergonomic checklist at the end of this document for more information.

Employees should work with their supervisor if they have supplies or equipment needs while working remotely.

 

  1. What if I get injured when I am working from home?

All injuries incurred by employees during established work hours and all illnesses that are job-related, must be reported promptly to your supervisor and Robin McHale.

 

  1. What if I don’t have enough to do from home?

You are encouraged to work with your supervisor to discuss ideas for meaningful work during the current health situation. This could include completing online trainings (additional online trainings will be added in the near future), developing work procedure manuals and cross training with co-workers. The District and SEIU are also expediting the development of the employee questionnaires for the classification study so that Classified Professionals may work on their responses while they are telecommuting.

 

  1. What should I do if I am sick or need to request vacation time or leaves of absence while I am telecommuting?

You will follow standard practices, policies, and procedures for requesting sick and vacation time by notifying your supervisor. Contact Linda Jay or Danielle Donica in Human Resources if you need to request a leave of absence.

 

  1. How will my temporary telecommuting arrangement be revised or terminated?

This arrangement is being agreed to in order to address the current health situation. The District may adjust or end your temporary telecommuting arrangement as needed. If possible, at least 48 hours’ advance notice of any changes will be provided to you to adjust or end your temporary telecommuting arrangement.

 

  1. I prefer telecommuting, can I do it permanently?

This arrangement is in response to the pandemic and to ensure the health of our community. Successful telecommuting will not be the basis for a request for future telecommuting that is not related to the current health situation.

 

 

Safety and Ergonomic Checklist

The following checklist can be used as a guide for preparing your in-home alternative work site. “No” responses may indicate an inadequate work space that should be modified.

  1. Electrical
    • Are there an adequate number of electrical outlets to support equipment in the work area?
    • Are the electrical cords not frayed or otherwise damaged?
    • Are extension cords not used as a permanent source of electricity?
    • Are electrical equipment and tools properly maintained?
    • Are computers, peripheral equipment, fax machines, and similar devices connected to surge protectors?
  1. Fire Protection
    • Smoke Detector
      • Is there is a smoke detector placed near the work area and any equipment used to support teleworking?
      • Is the detector approved by Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) and can be tested for proper operation?
      • Are smoke detectors tested monthly C.L.C. Section 6401.7(a)2)?
    • Fire Extinguisher
      • Is a 2A10BC fire extinguisher available?
      • Is the fire extinguisher fully charged?
      • Is the fire extinguisher within 10 feet of the teleworking equipment and is easily accessed
  1. Emergency Procedures
    • Is there an evacuation plan?
    • Is there more than one way to exit the workspace (e.g. doors, windows)?
    • Is there a fully stocked first aid kit on site?
  1. Environment
    • Is the work area uncluttered and free of tripping hazards?
    • Is all equipment adequately supported and secured to prevent falling?
    • Does the work area have adequate lighting?
    • Are potentially hazardous chemicals not stored in or around the work area?
  1. Work Station Ergonomics
    • Positioning When Seated
      • Forearms and wrists can be parallel to the floor and upper arms resting at sides when at the keyboard/work surface
      • Thighs are parallel to the floor when seated
      • Feet are supported and heels are on a flat surface
      • At least 2” of clearance between thighs and the work surface
      • Space between the edge of the seat pan and back of knees (approximately the width of a closed fist)
      • Top of the monitor is at a comfortable height (no need to tilt head forward or backward to view)
      • Monitor screen is a comfortable distance from eyes (no need to lean forward or backward to clearly view text)
      • Head and neck rest in a neutral position
    • Chair Adjustment
      • Chair height allows seating in a neutral position
      • Backrest supports the curve of lower spine so spine is slightly arched
         
    • Foot Support
      • Feet sit comfortably on the floor or a footrest
      • If used, footrest allows for seating in a neutral position
      • Footrest allows for leg movement and is removable
  1. Work Station Arrangement
    • Workspace
      • Materials and equipment used frequently easily accessed and placed within 16” of reach
      • Materials and equipment used infrequently placed within 16” to 24” reach
      • Frequently used materials positioned to eliminate harmful posture and motions
      • Documents placed on the same visual plane as the screen to reduce back and forth neck motions
      • Telephone(s) placed within proper reach and on the side opposite the dominant writing hand
      • Majority of reaching motions necessary occur below shoulder height and above knee height