Section 11: Telework

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Harris County has developed a Telework Policy to promote telework as a means of achieving solutions to administrative efficiencies, reducing traffic congestion, addressing pandemics/epidemics, improving environmental quality, creating an atmosphere for employees to increase productivity and job satisfaction, and sustaining the hiring and retention of a highly qualified workforce by enhancing work/life integration.

11.01 When teleworking, employees understand that they are accountable for their time and are expected to be regularly accessible and available to their supervisors and coworkers during their telework schedule using routine electronic means, including telephone, email, Microsoft Teams, and Skype.

11.011 Telework does not alter requirements to comply with an employee’s duties and responsibilities and County and department policies. For example, employees must follow their department’s call-in and leave request procedures.

11.012 Telework creates no additional overtime or compensatory time requirements. All overtime and compensatory time should be approved by management before being accrued.

11.013 Employees who telework should be available to attend in-person meetings or report to a County office when requested. Teleworkers understand that they may be called to work in a County office on their regular telework schedule to meet department needs.

11.014 Teleworking employees shall not hold in-person business meetings with internal or external clients, customers or colleagues at their telework site.

11.015 Employees shall not conduct any unauthorized external (non-County) work while they are scheduled to telework.

11.016 Employees shall maintain a safe and secure work environment at all times while teleworking, and will report any work-related injuries to their supervisor in a timely manner.

No employee is entitled to, or guaranteed the opportunity to, telework. Offering the opportunity to telework is a management option, based on the discretion of the employee’s immediate supervisor and Department Head. Department Heads have a right to refuse to make telework available and to terminate a telework arrangement at any time.

All departments will incur the cost for any expenses they approve for telework. Expenses for telework require the approval of the Department Head. The Department Head may delegate the authority to approve minimal telework expenses and should set spending limits accordingly.

11.021 General office supplies (such as paper and pens) will be provided by the telework employee’s department and should be obtained by the employee at the department’s worksite.

11.022 Out-of-pocket expenses for supplies normally available at the department’s worksite will not be reimbursed.

11.023 The employee will be responsible for all costs associated with providing a space to telework and for providing furniture and other equipment for the space used for teleworking. Office furniture will not be provided to employees who telework.

As a general rule, confidential and/or proprietary information may not leave County premises. If it is necessary for data to be downloaded or transported to be used offsite, employees must obtain approval of their supervisor and inform them of the methods being used to safeguard the information.

11.031 Employees must maintain the confidentiality of County information and documents, prevent unauthorized access to any County system or information, and dispose of work-related documents in a manner that will not jeopardize the interests of the County.

11.032 Failure to use due care in safeguarding confidential and/or proprietary information in all phases of possession (transportation, use, storage, and disposal) may be considered a performance matter that could end the telework agreement and subject the employee to disciplinary action.

Employees who telework are subject to the same internal County policies regarding the use of County provided equipment (hardware and software) and services as that of employees working at a County worksite. Employees shall not allow anyone, except authorized County employees, to use County-provided equipment (including hardware and software) and services.

11.041 Employees must keep County-owned property safe and avoid any misuse.
Specifically, employees must:
• Keep their equipment password protected.
• Store equipment in a safe and clean space when not in use.
• Follow all data encryption, protection standards and settings.
• Log out of any County applications and services when not in use.
• Disconnect from County remote access services when not working.
• Lock their workstation using CLT+ALT+DELETE when away from their computer.
• Refrain from downloading suspicious, unauthorized or illegal software.

Violation of the “Telework Policy” may lead to disciplinary actions, up to and including termination of the teleworker’s employment with Harris County.

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