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Telecommuting | Policies | CSUSM


Definition: California State University San Marcos acknowledges that, with current communication technology, it is possible for some employees to perform a variety of duties and job functions from their homes or other adequately equipped sites.Telecommuting is to be considered a voluntary commitment on the part of the employee and the university. Telecommuting opportunities must support program requirements and follow university telecommuting procedures. The appropriate administrator(s) and employee(s) must file formal telecommuting documents in Human Resources Management.
Authority: California Government Code, Chapter 3, Sections 14200 - 14203; Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Units 2, 5, 7 and 9.
Scope: This policy and any related procedures apply to all eligible employees.
Responsible Division: Finance & Administrative Services
Approval Date: 09/27/1999
Originally Implemented: 09/27/1999
Signature Page/PDF: View Signatures for Telecommuting Policy
Related Documents and Forms: View Telecommuting Principle and Guidelines



A. The Telecommuting program at California State University San Marcos is designed to provide flexibility in work options.

B. Telecommuting is a voluntary, cooperative arrangement between a supervisor and/or the appropriate administrator and an employee based upon:

1. The needs of the organizational unit and the university.

2. The employee's past and present levels of performance.

C. Telecommuting is not an entitlement. If awarded, the privilege may be terminated, at will, at any time by either the supervisor or the employee.

D. The fundamentals of this program are included in the "Telecommuting Principles and Guidelines." (See Attachment A)


A. Employees wishing to establish a telecommuting schedule should review the "Telecommuting Principles and Guidelines," (particularly the sections on Job, Telecommuter and Supervisor characteristics), review the Telecommuting Agreement, and consult with their supervisor.

B. A request to enter into a Telecommuting Agreement should be forwarded in writing to the supervisor providing justification for the assignment. The request should identify:

1. work hours;

2. location;

3. work space;

4. type of equipment required; and

5. any expenses generated as a result of the assignment.

C. The supervisor and/or the appropriate administrator will review the employee's request to determine if the request can be accommodated. A Telecommuting Agreement cannot be implemented without approval of the immediate supervisor.

D. The supervisor and/or the appropriate administrator will review the plan and obtain the Vice president's approval. Within 30 days the supervisor will provide the employee with a written response approving or denying the request.

E. If approved, the telecommuting schedule will be regularly reviewed to ensure that the option continues to meet organization unit and university needs.

F. A copy of the Telecommuting Agreement must be filed in the employee's personnel file in Human Resources Management.


The telecommuting work option applies to all non-faculty classifications.

Telecommuting is a cooperative arrangement between a supervisor and an employee, not an entitlement, and is based on:

1) The needs of the organizational unit and the university.

2) The employee´s past and present levels of performance.

Jobs suitable for telecommuting are characterized by clearly defined tasks and work products. A telecommuter´s performance is measured by accomplishments, not work location. Telecommuting is a tool allowing for flexibility in work options.

Telecommuting does not change the basic terms and conditions of employment with the university.

Each telecommuting arrangement is jointly agreed upon by the supervisor and/or the appropriate administrator and the employee. Final approval for a telecommuting plan rests with the appropriate Vice president. Telecommuting is voluntary and may be terminated, at will, at any time either by the supervisor and/or the administrator or the employee.

University-provided equipment at a designated off-campus work site is not an entitlement of telecommuting. Depending on the job, equipment needs for telecommuters may vary from a basic computer complement or laptop computer to a full range of equipment such as computer, modem or data line, printer, and fax machine. The appropriate administrator will approve equipment requests and provide funding.

Telecommuters usually work off-site on a schedule mutually agreeable to the employee and the immediate supervisor and/or the appropriate administrator. Full-time telecommuting is permissible only when necessary and justified.

Telecommuters´ salary, job responsibilities, advancement opportunities, benefits and university-paid insurance coverage do not change as a result of telecommuting. Any significant change to a staff employee's duties, resulting from a Telecommuting Agreement, may be reviewed using the university reclassification procedures.

Telecommuters will have regularly scheduled work hours agreed upon with their supervisors and/or the appropriate administrator, and remain obligated to comply with all university rules, policies and procedures.

Telecommuters will be as accessible as their on-site counterparts during their agreed upon regular business hours, regardless of work location.

Telecommuters will take all precautions necessary to secure privileged information and prevent unauthorized access to any university system from an off-campus work site.

If telecommuters work at home, they will have a designated workspace agreed to by the supervisor and/or appropriate administrator, and maintained by the employee, and subject to supervisor visits to ensure that safe working conditions exist. The telecommuter will be responsible for any costs related to remodeling, necessary furniture, and other initial set-up requirements of the designated workspace.

Telecommuters will manage dependent care and personal responsibilities in a way that allows them to successfully fulfill job assignments.

Telecommuter´s tax implications related to a homework space are the responsibility of the employee, who is advised to consult a tax expert.

Telecommuting expenses not specifically outlined in the equipment/expenses list accompanying the approved Telecommuting Agreement will be reviewed and approved or rejected on a case-by-case basis by the appropriate administrator.

Telecommuters, their supervisors and/or the appropriate administrator, and the Vice president will sign a Telecommuting Agreement that can be terminated at any time by either the supervisor and/or the appropriate administrator or the employee.

There are three selection criteria that should be considered while assessing the feasibility of telecommuting in a particular unit: the characteristics associated with the job, the individual employee and the supervisor.

Job Characteristics -- Generally, jobs well suited for telecommuting have the following characteristics:

* Limited need for face-to-face communication (communication can be effectively handled over the telephone, voice mail, or electronic mail).

* Individual already works alone handling information, such as writing, reading, telephoning, planning, computer programming, analyzing and managing budgets, etc..

* Clearly defined tasks and work products.

* Measurable work activities.

* Objectives with identifiable time frames and check points.

* Tasks requiring concentration and/or large blocks of time when the employee works independently of others.

* Minimal requirements for frequent access to hard copy files or special equipment.

Effective telecommuting arrangements are the result of employees and supervisors working closely together to ensure successful completion of work assignments. Successful telecommuters are strong performers with in-depth knowledge of the job, who are self-disciplined, highly motivated, and productive when working alone. Telecommuting is not for the employee who is just learning his/her job. Many excellent employees will not be candidates for telecommuting simply based on the requirements of their specific jobs.

Telecommuter characteristics:

* Proven ability to perform and high-job knowledge.

* Self-motivation, self-discipline, self-direction.

* A desire to make telecommuting work.

* Above average skills in planning, organizing, managing time, and meeting clear standards and objectives.

Supervisor Characteristics - The role of the supervisor is just as critical to the success of a telecommuting arrangement as that of the telecommuter. Supervisory traits that help make telecommuting work include:

* An open, positive attitude towards telecommuting.

* A mutual trust and respect in ongoing relations with the telecommuter.

* Above-average organizational and planning skills.

* The ability to establish clear objectives and measurements.

* Skill in providing regular feedback.

* Ability to facilitate open communication.

* An innovative and flexible approach to supervising subordinates.