Remote Work Arrangements FAQs

These FAQs will evolve over time. Please check back regularly and send suggestions for questions to

Eligibility and approval

Who can apply?

Any staff member may request a remote work arrangement.

Who approves requests?

The approval is at the discretion of the departmental supervisor or manager.

What if we don’t agree?

Disagreements related to remote work requests may be reviewed by the Senior Management Excluded leader in the faculty, program, or division (Dean, Director or higher).

How many days a week can I work remotely?

UVic seeks to provide a vibrant on-campus experience and responsive suite of services for our students, faculty, staff and community. Connections to campus, students, clients and colleagues are necessary to some degree in all roles. Each department will determine how much on-campus presence is necessary. In order to be able to come to campus as needed, long-distance RWAs (out of commuting range) will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. Out of Province RWAs require special consideration and consultation with HR. Out of Country RWAs will not be considered at this time.

What kind of criteria for RWAs can a department establish?

Departments may establish criteria consistent with the principles for RWAs that includes, but is not limited to, the types of roles appropriate for remote work, number of requests approved at any one time, duration and review period of RWAs, remote work and on-campus work schedules, work assignments when working remotely, and team communications norms or standards to ensure effective communication and collaboration. Supervisors may find this guide for developing departmental criteria helpful.

Can employees work remotely once in a while without a formal RWA?

Yes.  An occasional, ad hoc remote work day may be approved by the supervisor to address situations such as needing to be home for a service person, working at home when experiencing mild symptoms that prevent attendance on campus but don’t interfere with work, or to focus on a specific task without interruptions.  Any regularly occurring remote work is subject to a Remote Work Arrangement.

What is the expected duration of a Remote Work Arrangement?

All Remote Work Arrangements are deemed to be temporary and will have an end date that may be renewed upon review. Initial RWAs may be 3-8 months to try different practices and include open, honest discussions about them, keeping the ones that work and adapting the ones that don’t. Once established RWAs should be reviewed at least annually. They may be cancelled with reasonable notice by either party, they may be adjusted based on feedback or they may be renewed for another period of time.

Equipment, office furniture and expenses

Can employees use their personal computers for remote work?

No. While some employees used personal computers during the early stages of the pandemic, moving forward, employees must utilize UVic standard computers provided through the Technology Solutions Centre that are managed by appropriate UVic personnel (e.g. University Systems Desktop Support Services).

Who pays for computer equipment for a remote workspace?

Purchasing the appropriate computer equipment for RWAs is normally a departmental responsibility, but computers may be an eligible expense for some employee Professional Development funds.  UVic owns and manages all computers used in RWAs, including those purchased fully or partially with Professional Development funds.  Budgetary constraints may limit the amount of computer equipment available and the number of RWAs approved at any one time.  Employees may need to transport equipment to and from work as needed.

Who pays for office furniture?

The employee is normally responsible for establishing an appropriate, professional and ergonomically optimized workspace with proper furnishings and adequate space that supports working efficiently and safely. If the employee does not retain a dedicated workspace on campus and the remote work location is considered the employee’s primary work location, the employer may provide office furnishings. Any furniture purchased fully or partially with UVic funds remains the property of UVic per the appropriate policy. It must be commercial grade and adhere to UVic’s furniture quality standards.

All final purchases must be approved by Facilities Management.

How do I purchase furniture for home use?

To purchase furniture using UVic funds for home use, please submit a FMIS request to Facilities Management (FMGT). An Interior Modifications Planner (Planner) will be assigned to your request and will assist you with selection.

Your FMIS request needs to state that the request is for RWA and that you will be using UVic funds to complete the transaction. The planner will take your information and confirm funds with Accounting, then work with you to select, procure and have your products delivered to your home. Your AO can help with submitting a FMIS request on your behalf.

Your Planner will provide you with information on what’s available in our Surplus stock. If your funds are limited this is a great option for gently used UVic Standard Furniture.

Note: Delivery and installation costs are included with the Greater Victoria area. Extra delivery charges may apply for areas outside Greater Victoria.

Note: Furniture purchased with UVic funds for home use while on RWA must be purchased through FMGT. These assets remain the property of UVic.

What is an ergonomically optimized workstation?

As we move from the COVID-related work from home orders into a new context for RWAs, the expectation for safe and healthy workspaces will be that home offices are intentionally set up to reduce the risk of injury. There are excellent resources videos and checklists in the Office Ergonomics Guide for Employees.

Who pays for internet fees?

Employees are responsible for providing internet connectivity that functions consistently with sufficient bandwidth to work effectively and meet the expectations of the role.  Internet is not eligible for reimbursement. Professional Development funds may not be used for internet fees for remote workspaces.

How will employees make long distance calls from home?

University Systems offers a software version of campus VoIP phones that can be used remotely. Individuals who have an existing campus VoIP phone and local can use this service at no additional charge.  Request this service via the Buy Now link under the Cisco Jabber Softphone section of the following site:

Can parking and mileage be expensed for days in the office?

Parking and mileage for coming onto campus are not eligible for reimbursement.  UVic will continue to offer the Flex 25 parking option for those employees who drive to work.  The Flex 25 parking option is well suited for employees working 1 or 2 days a week on campus.

What home office expenses can I claim on my tax return?

Canada Revenue Agency updates the requirements and eligibility information on the declaration of employment guidelines each year. Please check the CRA website.  Employees are encouraged to keep track of home costs such as heating, hydro and water as well as noting the square footage of their office area used and total square footage of their residence. Employees should also retain receipts of any purchases not reimbursed or eligible for reimbursement from the university.

Health, safety and security

Why do employees need to complete a Home Office Safety Self Inspection?

Employees with approved RWAs are covered for injuries that arise out of and in the course of employment, and compensation will be limited to the designated remote workspace within their home or other agreed-upon work location. The Home Office Safety Self Inspection will help ensure a safe work environment that minimizes the risk of injury.

How can we ensure the safety of employees who are working alone?

Not all employees working remotely will be working alone.  Employees and supervisors should discuss the situation as part of the request process and make arrangements for check-ins by a supervisor or a colleague if appropriate.

What are the cleaning responsibilities for shared offices?

Employees should consult UVic’s communicable disease plans and develop an appropriate cleaning protocol and schedule accordingly.

What if an employee gets injured while working remotely?

If an employee suffers an injury while in their designated remote workspace, they should immediately seek assistance, report the incident to their supervisor as soon as possible, and document the incident on the UVic report form available from OHSE, including any WorkSafeBC claim forms, if applicable.

What if an employee is sick on a remote workday?

When employees are unable to work remotely due to illness, they will continue to have access to any applicable sick leave provisions. When experiencing a mild illness that would otherwise prevent them from attending campus but does not interfere with their ability to do their work, employees may continue to work remotely if able to do so.

Hours of work and scheduling

Can I work remotely full time?

In our principle-based approach, RWAs must maintain some connection to campus and employees may be asked to come onto campus at any time for a team meeting, event, operational needs and/or urgent issue. Each department will determine how much on-campus presence is necessary. Long-distance RWAs (out of commuting range) will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. Out of Province RWAs require special consideration and consultation with Human Resources. Out of Country RWAs will not be considered at this time.

Can RWAs include a non-standard work schedule?

Each unit or department manager will determine how non-standard work schedules can be considered. Operational effectiveness, client support and team communication are some considerations that may limit non-standard scheduling of hours of work. Refer to the appropriate collective agreement as some include provisions for flexible schedules.

Can I have both a remote work arrangement and a modified work week?

Where collective agreements permit modified work weeks, remote work arrangements may incorporate a modified work week as long as RWA principles and departmental criteria can be met. 

Do the remote days need to be scheduled and consistent?

Each unit or department manager will determine the type of requests that will be considered.  Some departments may implement set schedules in order to meet operational requirements and to share workload among staff.  Some departments may be able to approve a more flexible approach to scheduling remote workdays than others.

Can an employee be asked to come into the office on their normal remote workday?

Yes. In order to maintain services or respond to an urgent situation, supervisors may need to ask employees to come to campus and employees may need to adjust their RWA schedule to do so. Supervisors will provide as much notice as possible. For this reason, long-distance RWAs (out of commuting range) will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. Out of Province RWAs require special consideration and consultation with Human Resources. Out of Country RWAs will not be considered at this time.

Office Arrangements

Will office space be reassigned for those working remotely?

One of the benefits of RWAs is the ability to reallocate space, reduce occupancy in lower-quality workspaces and free up additional space for growing teams. Employees participating in RWAs may be assigned to on-campus space that has been configured for part-time use. Employees working primarily remotely will not normally be allocated a dedicated office and may be provided shared or communal work spaces. This will be determined at the unit/department/division level.

How will teams communicate effectively with some team members working remotely?

Each team will need to establish team norms and methods of communication for a hybrid office environment.  Examples might include one day a week where everyone is in the office, the investment in meeting room technology to allow for hybrid team meetings or agreed upon communication norms around when to use email, online meetings, telephone, or in-person communication.

Commuting to Campus 

Can I move farther away from campus?

UVic’s remote work principles require employees to reside within commuting distance to campus so they can attend campus as required. A limited number of employment related considerations may permit employees residing outside of commuting distance to work remotely on a temporary basis. Some examples of employment related exceptional circumstances might include research requirements, employment documentation delays, difficulty obtaining housing or difficulty in filling a specialized role.

What does commuting distance mean?

The range of reasonable commuting distance may vary with the nature of work performed and reasons for attending campus. For example, some roles may be required to attend campus for pre-planned meetings or events a few times per year, and some roles may be required to attend campus more frequently for regular meetings, events or peak work periods. Some roles require attendance on short notice for emergencies or staff coverage. What determines a reasonable commuting distance will be decided on a case-by-case basis at the departmental level, based on the nature of the work and the time required to travel to campus. Employees are responsible for ensuring they can get to campus within the necessary timelines for these planned or emergent workplace requirements and are responsible for associated travel and parking costs.

Can I work outside of BC or Canada?

The implications for out of province work are still being investigated and not all information is available at this time. Out of province remote work should be considered with an abundance of caution and as a rare occurrence. Department leaders should contact their Human Resources Consultant if out of province remote work is under active consideration. Remote work outside of Canada is not being considered at this time.