Remote Work Arrangements Assessment Tool

Remote work is a voluntary work arrangement that enables an employee to work off-site for all or part of the workweek on a regular basis, as a management option rather than an employee right. NIU has a Remote Work Policy because the university recognizes that, where feasible and appropriate, offering the option to work off-site can benefit individual employees and the university.

The university has created this tool to help supervisors/managers and employees explore feasibility and develop shared expectations for remote working arrangements. The questions posed are meant to guide discussion, and its use is optional.

Primary Considerations

  • In what way(s) does this remote work arrangement serve the interests of NIU?
  • Does the proposed remote work arrangement enhance, maintain or diminish operational efficiencies?
  • Does the addition of remote work arrangement(s) enhance the productivity of the department and its employees?
  • What is the expected impact of a remote work arrangement on current/prospective students, colleagues/peers, other departments? (The current level of service should be maintained or enhanced.)

Suitability of Role/Position

  • Does the position require ongoing access to equipment, materials and files that can only be accessed on campus?
  • Does the position require and/or benefit from extensive face-to-face contact with students, supervisors, other employees or the public?
  • Does the position require and/or benefit from extensive time in meetings or team collaboration within the department or with other units/departments?
  • Does the position have job duties that require presence on campus or at a facility work location?
  • Can the essential functions and duties be performed off-site by a remote employee in full or in part?

Suitability of Employee

Does the employee possess/demonstrate the following attributes necessary for a successful remote working arrangement?

  • Appropriate time management and organizational skills to work within timelines, meet deadlines and produce quality work
  • Training to comfortably use the technology required to complete job functions outside of the office
  • Willingness to initiate tasks on their own, request support as appropriate and keep others up to date on their progress
  • Trust from colleagues, supervisors and service users
  • Reliable internet connection at remote work location

Suitability of Supervisory Approach

  • Do the supervisor and employee have mutual expectations regarding role, responsibilities and productivity?
  • Are there mutually agreed upon metrics that will be used to monitor productivity and effective completion of duties for the remote employee? Have these been effectively communicated? Is there a mutual understanding of actions that will be taken if performance metrics are not being met?
  • If remote work will be a hybrid arrangement of part remote and part on-site, how will office space be provided?
  • What approach will be used to accomplish any job duties that cannot be completed remotely? (ex: changes to staffing, job roles or processes?)
  • What work hours will be required? If there are options available for flexible scheduling, will on/off hours be tracked and communicated?      
  • Has the position description been updated to reflect remote work capabilities?

Team Impacts

  • Do team members frequently work on detailed and complex projects that require collaboration and partnership?
  • Does an employee's work location impact the team’s work processes and efficiency?
  • Can the team sustain engagement in a remote or hybrid work environment?
  • Does the team possess resiliency to maintain trust and a strong morale in the face of challenges when working remotely all or part of the time?
  • Will the team support and embrace a work environment with a combination of on site and remote work arrangements?
  • Will new hires be onboarded/trained in a remote setting? If so, how will this impact team cohesiveness, morale and productivity?
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