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Remote Work

What is remote work?

A remote work arrangement is an option that allows an employee to work at home or another off-site location, for a specified number of hours per week, month, etc.  

What are the benefits of a remote work arrangement?

Benefits of remote work include increased performance/productivity because the employee may have "quiet time" to complete projects uninterrupted, reduced energy consumption, reduced parking/travel costs/stressors, and often the feeling by employees of empowerment and control of their work.

As a supervisor, what are some of the things I should consider?

Supervisors need to determine whether the work that is being done can be accomplished in just an as effective (or more effective) manner by utilization of a remote work arrangement. They should take performance evaluations into consideration, as well as the reliability and work styles of their employees. Supervisors are encouraged to speak with their local human resources representative or Career/Life Services if they have questions on whether flexible work arrangements are possible in their unit.

Can hourly employees work remotely?

Yes, hourly employees are permitted to work remotely according to the Flexibility In the Workplace Policy 6.6.13.  However, employees and supervisors are still required to comply with all timekeeping and overtime regulations defined by policy. Hourly employees who work remotely are required to be cognizant of these policies and structure their remote work just as they would in a typical workplace. Hourly employees may be managed by results, supervisors must ensure accurate recording of hours worked. For employees who are represented by a collective bargaining agreement, it is important to refer to the particular contract for related language on this topic.
What kind of work may a non-exempt staff member perform remotely? 
 Here are some ideas for consideration:

  • Customer service/response and scheduling:  Use tools such as phone forwarding and group calendars
  • Training:  Improve office skills using SkillSoft,, or other online learning resources.
  • “Back Burner Projects:” Remote work time can be ideal to have your team member tackle delayed projects such as writing manuals or other types of documentation.
  • Research: Ask the employee to do benchmarking research on a topic the department is interested in pursuing.
  • Planning: Is there planning that needs to occur in your department?  For example, do you run an annual meeting or conference in several months where the planning can start earlier?
  • Data-Crunching: Compile department data to generate reports/metrics
  • Updating Websites: Review department websites (and other promotional/written materials) for information that needs to be updated.

What about salaried employees?

Salaried employees are not covered by the overtime and record keeping (e.g. electronic timekeeping) requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Therefore, there is inherent flexibility in work scheduling for those individuals. Even though the law allows this latitude, exempt staff members still need to discuss specific scheduling arrangements with their supervisors and obtain their approval.

Building a Professional Network

The Cornell Remote Employee Network is a newly formed group specifically for employees who work remotely at least occasionally.  It is intended to be used for sharing of resources, practices, technologies, etc. and discussion of experiences.  The network will support employees who desire to expand their professional network.

Additional considerations/resources:

Work that is conducted remotely outside of New York State requires additional steps to be taken prior to the arrangement beginning.  See Guidelines for Working Outside of New York State (pdf).
The supervisor/department must decide how much of the needed equipment they are willing to provide and who will be responsible for its maintenance, as well as compliance with data security policies.