Working remotely: furniture and equipment protocol

The university recognizes that the longer people are working remotely, the more likely they will need some of the tools normally found in their office or workspace. 

To help guide requests for these tools, we have developed a furniture and equipment removal protocol and frequently asked questions.

This protocol will be maintained in alignment with direction from the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and is subject to review at the end of April 2021. Updates will be provided as they are available.

What equipment can employees take to their remote workplace?

Faculty, Librarians, and staff can work with their supervisor to bring the following interior furnishings and IT equipment to their remote working space:

  • Office chairs
  • Task lighting
  • Free-standing monitors
  • Mouse and keyboard
  • Webcam and mic
  • Cables required for computer set-up
  • Laptop or desktop computers
    • Note: Desktop computers may require re-configuration to enable them to function properly on a home network. Contact IT support before taking any technology off-campus for remote working.

Departments are responsible for inventory and tracking of equipment and furniture taken off-site.

What is the process to seek an exemption to bring a desk or other large free-standing furniture home?

Employees requiring the use of furniture or equipment in their remote work space that is not listed above may request an exemption, for example, specific adaptive equipment as part of a medical accommodation. Please note that the exact furniture from an employee’s UVic workspace may not be movable and temporary furniture from surplus stock may be available on a best effort basis.

For a medical accommodation:

  • Employees will discuss the request for an exemption with their leader.
  • Leaders should ensure that medical accommodations are met even when employees are working from home and contact their Work Life Consultant for further information about appropriate furniture and equipment in the case of a previously approved medical accommodation.
  • Leaders will submit a request to Facilities Management via a FMIS request. Facilities Management will determine whether this need can be met through surplus furniture or a furniture move.

For other needs:

  • Employees will discuss the request for an exemption with their leader.
  • Employees and leaders should consider alternatives for furniture and equipment that may not be available, for example:
    • large poster sheets can be used in lieu of white boards. More resources and information is available on the Teach Anywhere site.
    • books can be used to raise a laptop in lieu of a laptop riser. More information on ergonomics in a remote environment is available on the HR ergonomics site.
  • If an employee’s needs are not met through alternatives, leaders will submit a request to Facilities Management via a FMIS request for temporary furniture available through surplus. Temporary furniture may be available on a best effort basis.

What is the process to move furniture and equipment from UVic to a remote workspace?

Office chairs can be moved by employees. Safely and securely transport university equipment to and from home and do not leave university equipment in a vehicle unattended for any length of time. Please note that replacements for damaged furniture and equipment may not be available due to supply chain issues.

  • Promptly report damage to UVic-owned IT equipment to Desktop Support Services or the Computer Help Desk.

Departments can arrange to have temporary surplus furniture and office chairs (if required) moved from UVic to a remote workspace through Facilities Management. Employees must ensure that furniture and equipment will fit in their remote workspace prior to delivery of furniture or transport of any equipment.

Note: Requests for use of temporary furniture may require a mover to come into the employee’s home to place the furniture in its final location. Movers are responsible for pick-up and placement in the home. Depending on demand and delivery schedules, it may take several days for furniture to arrive.

In alignment with section 37.0 BP3130-Furniture, Fittings, Finishes, and Artwork policy, any moving costs are to be borne by the department. Certain Pro-D funds may also be used.

What is the process to purchase furniture for a remote workspace?

Standard UVic furniture can be purchased and delivered for use in a remote workspace through Facilities Management via a FMIS request. More information about furniture services can be found on the Facilities Management website.

Note: Requests for furniture may require a mover to come into the employee’s home to place the furniture in its final location. Movers are responsible for pick-up and placement in the home. Depending on demand and delivery schedules, it may take several days or weeks for furniture to arrive. If an employee requires furniture on a shorter time scale, departments can arrange to have temporary surplus furniture delivered through Facilities Management.

In alignment with section 37.0 BP3130-Furniture, Fittings, Finishes, and Artwork policy, any moving costs are to be borne by the department. Certain Pro-D funds may also be used.

If an employee’s needs for furniture for their remote workspace are not met through standard UVic furniture, employees will discuss the request for an exemption with their leader. In accordance with section 11.00 BP3130-Furniture, Fittings, Finishes, and Artwork policy, non-standard furniture purchased for a remote workspace must stay in the remote workspace and must not be brought to campus. If you wish for any furniture to return to campus at a later date you must purchase standard UVic furniture. Facilities Management is not responsible for any maintenance associated with non-standard furniture.

Any purchase, moving, and maintenance costs associated with non-standard furniture are to be borne by the department. Certain Pro-D funds may also be used.

All furniture and equipment (including non-standard) are the property of the University. Upon retirement or termination of employment, standard furniture can be redeployed by the department or returned as surplus to Facilities Management. Non-standard assets acquired must be returned to Surplus Asset Management for disposal. The employee may purchase the assets at its current fair market value by contacting Purchasing Services.

What is the process to print or scan while working remotely?

There are several options available to employees who need to print from a remote workspace:

  • Connect to VPN and print from your UVic-owned computer to your UVic office printer from your remote workspace. Follow social distancing guidelines set up by the Provincial Health Officer while picking up the print job from your office.
  • Work with a designated staff member to scan paper files at the office and email them to staff working remotely.
  • Contact Printing Services to have your print job printed. Print jobs are available for pick-up at Printing Services in Saunders Annex.
  • Under extenuating circumstances, multifunction printers (printing and scanning) can be purchased through Printing Services. Please contact the Manager of Printing Services at sguldin@uvic.ca for more information.

How can employees set up an ergonomic remote workspace?

A temporary work from home ergonomics guide provides employees with some helpful tips to set up a comfortable and ergonomic work station at home.

Key tips for working from home

  • Use a good chair (if possible). If you don’t have a good chair, add pillows for back/leg support.
  • Raise your chair (most kitchen tables and desks are too high). Use a pillow as a seat cushion if needed.
  • Support your feet on a phone book, step stool, etc., if they don’t firmly touch the ground while sitting.
  • Raise your monitor using books, old shoe boxes, etc.
  • Use an external keyboard and mouse. It is essential that the monitor is separated from the keyboard/mouse. The top of the monitor should be at or slightly below eye level, shoulders relaxed with the elbows around 90 degrees.

How should equipment and furniture be cleaned when it arrives at a remote workspace and when it is returned to the university?

The Government of Canada recommends cleaning high-touch surfaces frequently in order to reduce the risk of spreading disease and infection. Clean and disinfect furniture and equipment when it arrives at your residence and before returning it to the university.

IT equipment

Keyboards, mice, cables and other peripherals should be disinfected with a disinfecting wipe (e.g. Lysol or Clorox). For other equipment, check the manufacturer for specific instructions on how to clean it (e.g. Apple iPhone). Please note that some cleaning products and disinfectants may scratch screens and can diminish a screen’s protective coating.

Furniture and other equipment

Clean surfaces with regular household products or warm soapy water to remove any visible soil.  Then use a disinfecting wipe or spray (e.g. Lysol or Clorox) to disinfect all surfaces.