Remote Work

Most Principal Investigators  and Field Staff employees have been working remotely since March 2020.  CUNY colleges have developed a phased-in approach to on-campus research.  Please refer to your college Research Restart plan for guidance. 

Candidates for Remote Work

In general, any employee may be eligible to work remotely. The manager will determine if the individual’s position and responsibilities lend themselves to remote work or could be temporarily modified to integrate short-term remote work.

Most characteristics of successful long-term remote workers do not apply in this short-term situation.  The employee should be meeting basic performance expectations, have basic computer skills for email, internet browsing, and possibly Microsoft Word (and/or other Microsoft Suite software), and commit to working productively from their remote location for the duration identified.

Non-exempt (Hourly) Employees

Non-exempt (Hourly) employees may be eligible to work remotely with manager approval.  However, they must adhere to the same time reporting requirements (including meal periods) and processes already in place with their manager and department.  Non-exempt employees must receive advanced approval from their manager before incurring overtime.

Disability Accommodations

In general, disability accommodations made in the workplace may also be made for the home work environment.  Due to the possible sudden and short-term nature of some remote work arrangements, RFCUNY may not be able to offer certain accommodations – for example, specific furnishings.  When feasible, safe, and granted permission, an individual may transport small lightweight equipment home for the duration of their remote work arrangement (e.g. ergonomic keyboard, footstool, etc.). 

Schedule & Workload

Managers and employees should have realistic conversations about how much work can be conducted remotely. This may be about the amount of work available for the employee to do or about the limitations the employee is facing due to their home environment (e.g. children are present). When possible, consider allowing for greater schedule flexibility (weekdays, early mornings, and late evenings) or reduced work options (part time).

Communication Expectations

When setting communication expectations for employees, consider the nature of their work and what services may be disrupted. Also consider the availability of the manager and other team members. Common items for discussion include:

  • Frequency of connection with manager (daily, every few days, weekly)
  • Frequency of checking email
  • Calls and texts with home and cell phones

Documenting Agreements

Managers are encouraged to discuss and acknowledge the understanding with the employee and confirm it in writing, including:

  • Approval to work remotely and duration of agreement
  • Hours of work agreed upon and any flexibility with those hours
  • Work responsibilities and areas of focus during remote work
  • Communication expectations (with manager, team, and/or customers)
  • If internet service (or other systems) become unavailable, how will the employee work or will they need to then use their paid leave

Remote Work Acknowledgement Form

This documentation is needed for many purposes, including inspection, upon demand, by the sponsor of your project and for reconciliation of payroll records.  A copy will also be placed in the employee’s personnel file.

Based on your feedback, we have revised the form to acknowledge the understanding reached between the supervisor and the employee, as well as to make it easier to complete. The form can be found here: Remote Work Acknowledgement. If you are one of the thousands of employees who previously completed a Remote Work Agreement, it is not necessary to complete and resubmit this newly revised Acknowledgement form. Additionally, some colleges may require an additional level of approval for remote work.  Please follow your campus’ requirements in this regard.

Please send the Remote Work Acknowledgement to, as soon as possible.

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