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Working from home

Occasionally, for certain positions in our organization, you may be allowed, or even required, to work from your home. We normally allow one day per month to work from home but may authorize additional days within reason. If you need to request authorization for additional days to work from home, please talk to your manager.

If possible, provide adequate notice that you will not be present in the office. We ask that you provide at least 1 days' notice. In the case of an emergency, you may notify us first thing in the morning. Failure to adequately notify us will result in a personal day (PTO) being docked.

On some occasions, such as serious weather situations or other local or national emergencies, our office location may be closed. In this instance employees may be required to work from home. In some cases this may be for an extended amount of time. This will be conveyed by email or through your manager/supervisor. If your commute in to work is ever compromised by inclement weather, please let us know. You should never put yourself at risk in order to come to work. Instead, you should discuss an alternative arrangement with your manager, including working from home.

If you are working from home on a day where you are scheduled to be in a meeting, ensure you notify the person who organized the meeting. You may be able to attend the meeting by conference call, or the meeting may need to be rescheduled if your presence is critical. If you are attending a conference call from home, please try to minimize any background noises. 

Availability

Your standard working hours still apply even if you are working from home. This means you will need to be available during those hours. Availability includes the expectation to answer phone calls and tend to emails with due priority. If you take time out for lunch, you should ideally notify another team member or your supervisor.

Work Environment

It's imperative that you find a suitable location at home where you can work free from distraction. A room with a computer, a door that can close, without background noise, and away from distractions like a television, is ideal. The room should be free from clutter.

If you have children or a pet, please ensure they will not disturb you or make excessive noise if you are taking business calls.

We also expect staff to dress appropriately and be presentable for work even when working from home. There may be occasions when video conferencing is required, which staff should always be prepared for. In addition, psychological research has shown that dressing professionally can help engender an attitude conducive to work.

Equipment

Your home must have a suitable internet connection, that is of sufficient speed and bandwidth to support your work software.

You will be required to have a suitable, dedicated computer, loaded with the software required to perform your work. In particular we require VPN software to connect to our office network securely. Please contact our IT department for more information on having this set up.

Security

It's critical that you take proper precautions to ensure that any sensitive information you are accessing remains secure. This means having a password set for accessing your computer. It also means that unauthorized personnel (such as friends or family who are in the room with you) are not exposed to that sensitive information. Please review the security and confidentiality policy to ensure that your home environment does not lend itself to in any way compromising security. You should ensure you do not leave your computer unlocked for others to access and any sensitive information should never be copied onto your home devices. 

Personal Use

You should not install personal software on the computer you are using for work. This is because unauthorized applications may install malware or software that may breach the security of the office network. Personal software can also create a distraction that inhibits your ability to focus on work.

Technical Support

Should you have difficulty connecting to the office network through the VPN, or using software remotely, please contact our IT department.

Communications

Please use the application "Microsoft Teams" to communicate with your team and supervisor. You are expected to have this software running and available throughout your work day. For information on setting this up, please contact our IT department.

When making phone calls, please use our VoIP application from your smartphone to make those calls, so they will be coming from our office phone number. That application will also ring when your office phone is called, and provide you access to your voicemail.

Please ensure that you have adequate reception when taking calls on your phone. You should also ensure there are no loud background noises that may make it difficult to continue a conversation professionally.

Daily Work Logs

When working from home, you are requested to send a daily brief email to your supervisor at the end of the work day that details what you have worked on, progress that was made and any problems you are facing.  

Work/Life Balance

Working from home can make it difficult to separate your leisure and family time from your work. This is why it is important to maintain consistent hours where you are working, and a dedicated work place that is away from your regular living area. When those hours are over, and it's appropriate to finish working for the day, you should leave that workplace and return to your regular living area where you can spend leisure time and share time with your family without being concerned with work. We also remind and encourage all our staff to exercise regularly even when at home, in order to stay healthy.

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