Working from Home Guidelines

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Working from Home Guidelines


Designated Officer: Director, Human Resources
Date Reviewed: June 2013


1. Overview 

An application for a Working from Home (WFH) arrangement is considered on a case by case basis by the Supervisor for subsequent consideration and approval by the Head of School/Cost Centre Manager. The opportunity to work from home is not an entitlement and can only occur by formal agreement between the University and a staff member. A WFH arrangement is a formal arrangement with the working arrangements clearly documented. The Supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the requirements under these guidelines have been satisfied prior to approving an application for a WFH arrangement. All of the working conditions at the home based worksite need to be negotiated and thoroughly documented. Careful planning and consultation is needed to maximise the benefits to the University and the staff member.

Academic Staff – it is recognised that depending upon teaching, research and professional commitments, Academic staff may at times work from home or alternative work locations. Academic staff need to be aware that their absence from campus may have an impact on their colleagues, students, and faculty initiatives and responsibilities.

Professional Staff – working from home arrangements for Professional staff may be appropriate for defined/regular periods of time or on an ad hoc or one-off basis. The WFH agreement will outline the duties to be performed whilst undertaking home based work, the mechanisms for monitoring output, as well as the supervision arrangements, prior to the WFH agreement being put in place.

2. Suitability

The Supervisor should consider the general nature and requirements of the staff member’s work duties and the staff member’s ability to work autonomously. A staff member who requires close supervision or close interaction with other staff may not be suitable for the independent nature of a working from home arrangement.

3. Requirements for home based worksite

In accordance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the University of the Sunshine Coast Health and Safety policy it is important that:

  • the home based work site is a safe area to work;
  • systems of work undertaken in the home based work site are safe;
  • staff working from home are provided with appropriate training to enable them to perform their work safely; and,
  • all incidents are investigated and hazards are adequately controlled.
3.1. Staff responsibilities

Staff approved to work from home must:

  • adhere to all the University’s policies and procedures;
  • maintain accurate and up to date records of hours worked at home within normal span of hours;
  • by agreement, provide authorised University staff or other approved parties with access to the home based worksite where necessary for matters such as WHS inspections, and retrieval of any University-supplied equipment; and,
  • take reasonable precautions necessary to secure the University’s equipment.
3.2 Supervisor responsibilities

The Supervisor must:

  • monitor the WFH arrangements to ensure that agreed work outcomes are consistently being delivered;
  • review and sign off on records of hours worked (timesheets) as required;
  • monitor and review the WFH arrangements on a regular basis as recorded in the WFH agreement;
  • schedule communication meetings including methods of disseminating information to staff who are working from home;
  • provide equipment and tools required to perform the tasks required (does not include work station furniture additional services or costs - see Section 8. and 10.); and,
  • accurately document the ownership and usage arrangements of the equipment and assets at the home based site in the WFH agreement.

4. Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) considerations

4.1 Staff responsibilities 
  • ensure the home based worksite complies with WHS requirements at all times. The staff member is responsible for all costs associated with compliance;
  • report any health and safety risks in the home based worksite, and notify immediate supervisor of any work related accident, injury, illness or disease arising from home based work; and,
  • maintain a clear delineation of when they are working and when they are not working and maintain accurate records (timesheets).
4.2 Supervisor responsibilities
  • ensure staff are properly aware of the relevant University policies and procedures;
  • prior to approving a WFH arrangement, the supervisor must ensure the staff member has completed all online WH&S training; and,
  • investigate any incidents in accordance with University’s WHS policy.

5. Communication

The staff member agrees to be contactable and available for communication with the University during the periods in which home-based work is carried out. The methods of communication should be detailed in the WFH agreement.

6. Insurance

The staff member agrees to notify his/her household insurer (if required) of WFH arrangements and provide the name of the insurer to the University.

The staff member indemnifies the University against all loss or damage to the staff member’s property and all claims by third parties in respect of personal injury and property damage except to the extent caused by the negligent act, error or omission of the University.

7. Equipment

The University and the staff member will compile a list of equipment used by the staff member in the course of carrying out work at the home based work site. This list will specify who owns the equipment.

8. Services

Not all on-campus services are available or supportable when used from the Staff Member’s Home Based Worksite. The Staff Member accepts this situation and agrees not to impose any overheads on the University for additional services. Note, IT Services is developing capabilities and policy in the area of Mobility which may extend available online services in the future.

9. Training

As a minimum, all staff, prior to commencing to work from home must have completed training in WHS Ergonomics and completed the University’s ergonomic checklist.

10. Risk assessment

Prior to the commencement of any working from home arrangement a risk assessment must be completed. The risk assessment information is under the USC Contact Person tab of the Contractor management page.

11. Costs

A working from home arrangement must be cost neutral to the University.

12. Termination of agreement

Either party may terminate the agreement, provided that the party wishing to terminate gives reasonable notice. It is agreed that reasonable notice will be four weeks if the previously agreed period for working from home was for six months; or two weeks if the previously agreed period for home based work was less than six months.

13. Definitions

  • ‘Home Based Work’ means performance of University work for agreed hours from the home based site.
  • ‘Home Based Worksite’ means an agreed area in the staff member’s private dwelling.
  • ‘Hours of Work’ means ordinary hours to be worked by a staff member, as detailed in their contract of appointment.
  • ‘Office Based site’ means the location where the staff member would ordinarily work at the University if there were no home based work arrangements.
  • ‘Mobility’ means the ability of Staff Members to access a selected range of online services from a variety of supported platforms and devices which are generally accessible from many locations using standard network technologies.
  • ‘Staff Member’ means a person employed by the University who has ongoing or fixed term or casual contract.
  • ‘Supervisor’ means the person who is responsible for the day to day supervision of the staff member.
  • ‘Working from Home (WFH) Arrangement’ means an approved arrangements for a staff member to carry out defined duties from his/her home based worksite during the agreed working from home hours on an ongoing basis or for a specified period of time, the terms of which are set out in a ‘working from home agreement’ entered into between the Staff Member and the University.

Work from Home Agreement

Download: Work from Home Agreement (PDF 180KB)

Working from Home Arrangements Self-Assessment Checklist 

Prior to approval of any Working from Home (WFH) arrangement, an employee must complete and sign the Self-Assessment Checklist (available in MyUSC Forms Library) in relation to his/her proposed home based work site and submit with WFH application for approval.

Further assistance and guidance can be obtained from Human Resources.

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