Routine Telecommuting and Remote Work

I. Summary

UCSC Flexible Work Arrangements for Staff Employees

UCSC embraces flexible work arrangements as a strategic and purposeful approach to organizing our time and managing our resources. They will continue to be part of our campus operations to best serve the University’s mission of teaching, research, and public service. 


UCSC Flexible Work Vision 

Our vision is for a flexible work environment that advances UCSC’s mission and strategic campus goals by attracting and retaining a diverse, talented workforce and optimizing their engagement and contributions.


Guiding Principles for Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible work arrangements will be guided by the following principles:

  • Campus Mission and Strategic Goals: Ensure effective support of the campus mission and advancing strategic campus goals.  
  • Operational and Business Needs: Prioritize operational and business needs, ensuring department goals, objectives, and requirements are being met, and safeguard opportunities to make adjustments in order to remain consistent with them. 
  • Equity: Uphold equity, consistency, and accessibility in all aspects of flexible work arrangements and related resources. Make decisions based on objective business considerations.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Foster a diverse and inclusive culture that enables us to be agile, attract and retain high-quality talent, and further our position as a reputable employer and highly desired workplace. 
  • Resources: Ensure employees and supervisors/managers know about and can access resources related to health, safety, and well-being and know how to escalate concerns.
  • Space Optimization: Seek ways to optimize space utilization on campus property, including creating shared workspaces and repurposing/returning underutilized space.
  • Infrastructure: Enable flexibility through university-wide technology, communication tools, and business processes that allow for organizational alignment, efficiency, and safety.
  • Check and Adjust: Regularly check and adjust; adapt to changing conditions and make improvements to move toward our strategic campus goals.


Background on Flexible Work Arrangements

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the stay-at-home order created an environment in which most UCSC employees were suddenly working remotely. In response, we developed guidelines for navigating this new working environment and tools that facilitated access to resources for optimizing remote worksites.

The result was that employees and supervisors/managers successfully adapted to working remotely and leadership agreed that flexible work arrangements could be a long-term model for some UCSC employees, depending on the specifics of a particular job and the needs of the department and unit. Today, nearly 1,000 employees have taken advantage of UCSC’s flexible work arrangements, including hybrid work schedules, telecommuting, and working remotely full time.

Routine Telecommuting and Remote Work Arrangements

Routine Telecommuting and Remote Work are working remotely, either part-time or entirely, as part of an established work arrangement. An arrangement may be approved for an exempt or non-exempt staff employee when it is in the best interest of and consistent with the operational needs of the University. The decision is at management’s discretion and must take into consideration numerous factors, including the job/position duties, nature of the work performed, operational and business requirements, and impact on the department.  


  • Routine Telecommuting allows an employee to work on a part-time basis at an alternate location other than a UCSC worksite. Routine telecommuters working on-site three or more days per week will have an assigned work location (e.g., office or cubicle) at a UCSC worksite. Those working on-site fewer than three days per week will have access to dedicated on-site hoteling workspaces at a UCSC worksite.
  • Remote Work allows an employee to work entirely at an alternate work location other than a UCSC worksite. Remote workers will not have an assigned work location (e.g., office or cubicle) and may have access to on-site hoteling workspaces at a UCSC worksite. Prior to a remote worker having physical presence at a University location or program, their supervisor/manager must ensure the remote worker is compliant with relevant vaccination policy.


UCSC Staff Employee Routine Telecommuting/Remote Work Guidelines: Provide employees and supervisors/managers with a general framework for these established flexible work arrangements; however, they do not attempt to address the special requirements of all staff employees or positions. Specific conditions and agreed-upon work arrangements are outlined in a Routine Telecommuting/Remote Work Agreement, which is strictly voluntary, may be subject to modification or termination at any time based on operational or business needs, and may be withdrawn or terminated with at least two (2) weeks written notice by either party to the other party.


II. Tools and Resources

  • Flexible Work Principles and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Intended to assist principal officers, supervisors/managers, - and employees as we continue working  collaboratively to operate  the campus most effectively and, in many cases, implement flexible work arrangements.
  • UC Santa Cruz Ergonomics: A resource providing information and guidance on an ergonomically sound worksite, including UCSC ergonomics training and worksite assessment.
  • Self-Assessment tool: A one-page survey that helps inform compatibility for working remotely with criteria including appropriate job duties, self-management, flexibility, communication skills, and an appropriate remote working environment.
  • Self-Certification Safety Checklist: Guides the employee in assessing the overall safety of the proposed alternate worksite and computer workstation, including UCSC ergonomics training and worksite assessment.
  • Routine Telecommuting/Remote Work Agreement:
    • This link will take you to a DocuSign page where you will enter the names and email addresses of the telecommuting employee, their supervisor/manager, and one additional signature (optional) if required by your department/unit.
    • Note: The Self-Certification Safety Checklist is required to be completed and signed by the employee prior to submission of this DocuSign agreement.
    • The agreement outlines agreed-upon conditions, requirements and expectations to ensure successful telecommuting and remote work arrangements. This document is prepared jointly and signed by the employee and supervisor/manager and subject to the department head/senior manager’s approval.
  • Resource Needs for Remote Worksites: Key resources along with sourcing options to help support employees in optimizing their remote worksites.