FAQ: Work From Home Guidelines

This FAQ provides guidance for expansion on existing policies pertaining to home office and remote work costs.  It’s important to note supervisors will play a critical role in making sure employees are in a position to succeed in work-from-home arrangements. Accordingly, supervisors should strive for flexibility and accommodation with employees whenever practical.

Can employees request new equipment while working from home?

The university is committed to providing necessary equipment and supplies for remote work. Employees are encouraged to use their office equipment and supplies as much as possible. Procurement of additional equipment and supplies should follow normal university practices, through university-contracted vendors or ISU Surplus. The university continues to pursue new sourcing options for hard-to-find items. Out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the employee must be pre-approved by the employee’s supervisor. All equipment and supplies purchased by the institution for working remotely should be tracked using the COVID-19 department detail worktag.

What ISU employees are covered by the university work-from-home guidelines?

This guidance extends to all ISU employees, including faculty, staff, post docs, graduate students, and students, as needed for employees to perform assigned tasks. 

Will the university cover the cost of internet service for employees whose jobs require internet access?

If internet is required for the remote worker to perform their responsibilities, the university should provide reimbursement where work assignments result in additional costs to the employee or else provide needed services. The university will not reimburse employees for internet service they were already purchasing before working from home. Supervisors may need to have direct conversations with each employee to understand how/if additional needs are due to work demands (increased laptop, video conferencing, etc., or due to other increases in personal home uses.

Where a remote worker has existing internet service in place and where the need for internet is required for job performance, supervisors should consider the following:

  • Internet Service Provider (ISP) data overages documented through billings (It should be noted that many providers have removed data limits temporarily).
  • ISP upgrades to improve slow internet speeds impacting employee’s performance; employees should investigate service providers’ flexibility in providing short-term/monthly upgrades.
  • If ISP upgrade is cost prohibitive, supervisors should explore alternate ISP services through Procurement Services.

Where a remote worker does not have existing internet service and where the need for internet is required for job performance, supervisors should consider the following:

  • Contact Procurement Services to acquire cellular hot spot devices through contracted providers to take advantage of month-to-month availability and discounted rates.
  • In the event Procurement Services is unable to acquire sufficient cellular hot spot devices through contracted providers, remote workers may be reimbursed for cellular data overages due to use of hot spot functionality on personal cell phones with proper documentation. 

Will the university provide office equipment to remote workers?  

Remote worksite office equipment should generally be provided to the remote worker.  If a department allows university office equipment to be used in a remote work location such as the home, that equipment must be carefully tracked by the department. Departments should work with supervisors to identify all loaned and newly acquired remote work equipment and facilitate an equipment tracking mechanism. For purposes of this discussion, office equipment includes, but is not limited to, laptops, desktops, monitors, printers, web cams, hotspots, scanners, headsets, etc. 

The university will continue to be responsible for the repair and maintenance of university-owned equipment. The university does not assume liability for loss, damage or wear of employee-owned equipment used for university business.  With prior supervisor approval, some office furniture (such as chairs) may be allowed to be taken off-campus due to temporary work from home conditions. 

Employees are responsible for returning all loaned university equipment to their primary workplace at the completion of the remote work assignment. Departments are responsible for updating equipment tracking systems to reflect items returned to campus. 

Office Supplies: Remote worksite office supplies should generally be provided to the remote worker.  

Where possible, remote workers are encouraged to print to PDF and save files electronically to minimize the need for printers, paper and other printing supplies. 

Should supervisors review existing work-from-home agreements?

It should be noted that amendments to already executed work-from-home agreements with employees may be warranted to ensure equitable treatment among remote workers.   

What confidentiality, identity theft and cybercrime concerns should work-from-home employees consider?

Confidentiality: Employees working from home should determine who has access to their workspace and establish ways to protect sensitive information.

Remote Workspaces: It is best to avoid working in public areas during this time. Employees may seek out other areas to work if their home isn’t conducive for work tasks. However, public internet hotspots may be monitored by criminals and you may not have the appropriate privacy.

Access to Iowa State Virtual Private Network (VPN): The VPN provides remote access to campus network services from any computer, on or off campus, and offers safe, secure sign in to the university’s network. Contact ISU Information Technology for VPN access.

What do I do about my P-card transactions and reconciling my receipts now that I’m working from home?

P-card transactions still need to be reconciled in a timely fashion as this helps prevent fraud, allows transactions to post to appropriate funding sources, ensures accurate financial reporting, and, in many cases, allows the university to collect funding for the expense. We have only 60 days after the statement date to identify transactions as fraudulent or to dispute transactions and have them credited back by our provider, U.S. Bank.  If the transaction is not identified as fraudulent or in dispute within that 60-day period, the university is liable for that charge, even if it is fraudulent, and the cardholder could be held liable by their department.

Please use one of the following options to reconcile your P-Card transactions:

  • If you have an electronic receipt, please upload that as your documentation for the transaction OR forward the electronic receipt, along with your university business purpose and the worktag to which the expense should be charged, to the person reconciling the transaction.
  • If you have receipts that are not electronic, please take a photo of the receipts as your documentation for the transaction and upload the photos OR forward the photos, along with your university business purpose and the worktag to which the expense should be charged, to the person reconciling the transaction.
  • If you have paper receipts in your office, please:
    • Visit your office briefly, making sure to maintain social distancing guidelines, and either scan or take photos of the receipts.  Then upload the scans or photos OR forward the scans or photos, along with your university business purpose and the worktag to which the expense should be charged, to the person reconciling the transaction.
    • Visit your office briefly, making sure to maintain social distancing guidelines, bring home the receipts, and take photos of the receipts.  You will then upload the photos OR forward the photos, along with your university business purpose and the worktag to which the expense should be charged, to the person reconciling the transaction.
    • Compose an email regarding your inability to leave your home and include a statement such as, “I will forward the receipt for upload into Workday when I return to my office.”  You will then upload that as your documentation for the transaction OR forward that e-mail message, along with your university business purpose and the worktag to which the expense should be charged, to the person reconciling the transaction.