Recommendations and Guidelines
State and Local Income Tax
Given the University’s requirement to appropriately tax each individual employee and our institutional direction towards a more flexible workforce, the University will implement state and municipal tax withholding for each location in which the University has employees located, including remote workers, on campus employees, and employees with split work locations. Employees working in campus locations will have withholding for that municipality. Employees working remotely will have state and local withholding for their home/work location. All employees are expected to keep their arrangements up to date using the FlexWork Tracker within My Personal Information (MPI).
State Unemployment Insurance
Unemployment varies from state to state. The University has unemployment insurance set up for each state in which we have a staffing presence. For more information, please contact University Human Resources at email@example.com.
Ohio University is committed to making the workplace safe and healthy for all employees, including those working remotely. As with unemployment, Workers’ Compensation varies from state to state. Generally, to be covered under Workers’ Compensation, the employee must sustain illness or injury occurring from and during the scope of their employment. Each Workers’ Compensation situation is unique and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. For more information, please contact University Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employee and Family Medical Leave
While the University complies with all applicable Ohio and federal leave laws, several states have different requirements for leaves. For more information, please contact University Human Resources at email@example.com.
Additional Variances by State
There are several other legal variances from state to state, including payroll compliance, health care benefits, COBRA laws, hiring regulations, and hour regulations. Ohio University is committed to abiding by all state laws for all employees. For more information or if you have specific questions, please contact University Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Home Office and Commuting Related Expenses
Issuing office furniture, computers, and other equipment is up to the discretion of your unit. Please contact your supervisor for more information.
The following items are not considered taxable income for remote/hybrid employees:
- Reimbursements for the business portion of internet and phone service
- Reimbursements of out-of-pocket costs associated with shipping, standard postage, and printing
- Reimbursements for business and office supplies
The use of business or office supplies must be reasonable and necessary to complete job functions. For more information, please contact your supervisor.
All employees should be good stewards of the University’s resources and be mindful of the costs associated with travel and supplies used to conduct university business.
Employees working from their alternate work location, per a Flex Work Agreement (using the flex work tracker), are not considered to be on travel status and therefore, not permitted reimbursement of travel or meal-related expenses covered under Policy 41.121 Reimbursement for Official Travel and Entertainment.
Travel between your traditional university work location (also known as primary campus location) and your alternate work location (ex., your home) is considered normal commute and is not reimbursable (this includes mileage, parking, tolls, and other normal commute-related expenses). This applies even on days you may be scheduled to work at one location but required to work from the other location for any reason.
If you are on approved travel status (i.e. on a business trip or attending an off-site meeting or conference), travel should be calculated from your currently scheduled work location (traditional or alternate). If leaving from your alternative work location (ex., home) you should deduct your commuter miles (as these are not reimbursable). This is the most economical method as it pertains to mileage reimbursement.
Technology has made work accessible from anywhere so we must optimize our departments for sharing and collaboration. When selecting technology choices for FlexWork, departments should focus on collaboration and sharing. Providing your employees with a place to communicate and share ideas creates a hub for collaboration and sharing that allows our teams to focus on achieving results. Additionally, departments should choose technology that enhances flexibility. Flexible technology choices allow for a mobile workforce that can perform effectively when working remote or at their workplace.
The Office of Information Technology (OIT) recommends the following technology for departments embracing FlexWork.
In a flexible workplace, the laptop becomes the device of choice. They are portable, affordable, reliable, powerful, and robust. The Bobcat Depot offers a variety of screen sizes and keyboard layouts giving you options for different types of workers and their differing requirements. Establishing a technology standard to use laptops as the primary device provides the department with flexibility to design innovative shared spaces and team members the ability to work from anywhere.
While Microsoft Teams is great for personal communication, you can also create a team for your department that improves collaboration and communication by offering a departmental controlled space to chat, share documents, and conference with video and audio capabilities. The Teams Whiteboard application allows for remote brainstorming through a shared whiteboard that works with a pen or mouse-enabled device. Creating social channels in your team lets people chat and replicates the watercooler chat that is vital for developing professional networks and shared interests. Additionally, can be utilized as shared workspaces for email, files, and events that can further Microsoft Groups enhance communication and collaboration.
Employees can access their business phones while working remotely. OIT’s website has helpful resources and instructions for team members that require a telephone to perform their job duties. Employees can also consider utilizing the Calls application within Microsoft Teams.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
OHIO’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows for fast, secure, off-campus access to online resources such as remote desktop, remote printing, or shared network storage that normally would require you to be connected to the on-campus network. The VPN creates an encrypted "tunnel" that protects your network traffic from being captured by unauthorized individuals.
Every employee is responsible for protecting the electronic resources and data they use to fulfill their job duties. A flexible workplace allows our teams to work in areas outside of our traditional work locations and team members should consider the risk before accessing sensitive data in those environments. The Information Security Office offers a guide to best security practices for your team while working remotely.
A FlexWork model considers components of when employees work and where employees work. In addition to working off campus, FlexWork could include access to University flexspace or flexible spaces within a designated unit. University flexspaces are designated areas on campus that are made up of private, semi-private, and open work stations for University employees to utilize. Some work stations are reservable, while others are designated for drop-in use.
View FlexWork Locations
Employees should think of University flexspace as their own space, and ease of access is central to ensuring space can serve Ohio University’s workforce. Work stations and collaboration spaces are available to schedule up to three months in advance, and staff may book recurring sessions in a specific space through the University’s new scheduling software tool, EMS. Approximately 75% of individual work stations will be reservable, while the remaining 25% will be first-come, first-served, drop-in work space.
Additionally, employees can schedule multiple rooms concurrently. For instance, if an employee plans to spend the full day on campus, they could reserve a work station for the full day, while also reserving collaboration space for meetings throughout the day.
Employees are expected to conduct their work in a safe and productive environment that allows them to maintain focus. Employees are expected to keep the same level of job duties when utilizing a FlexWork arrangement as when they perform work in the office. To do this, we recommend that all employees establish a schedule with their family that includes when they are available and unavailable during work hours. Employees are expected to make appropriate childcare and other caregiving arrangements to ensure the safety and well-being of their family when focusing on work duties.
However, we recognize that childcare, school, and other caregiving arrangements are unique to each family. While FlexWork is not a substitute for making appropriate caregiving arrangements during work hours, units should attempt to afford employees the flexibility to meet intermittent caregiving needs, such as illness, snow days, etc.
Recommendations for Supervisors
We recognize that transitioning to a FlexWork model might seem daunting for some unit leaders. As part of the Flexible Workplace Project, a group of employees from various departments across campus mobilized to form a Workforce Management Team. This team worked to address the impact that FlexWork has on people and our HR management processes, practices, and policies. Supervisors are encouraged to read the resources available on HR’s FlexWork webpage, which provide many practical recommendations for how to implement a flexible workplace model. For more information about supervising in a flexible work environment, please contact University Human Resources at email@example.com.