TELE W ORK POLICY
Harris C ounty recognizes that there are certa in advantag es to both the County and its
employ ees if some employe es are authorized to work at l ocations outsi de County facil ities.
Harris County supports tele working as an a lterna tive w ork arran gement and al lows
Depart m ent Heads to impl ement tele work arran gements, where ap propriate, for e ligible
The purpose of this po licy is to promote telewo rk as a means of ach ievi ng sol utions to
admin istrat ive effic ienci es, reduc ing t raffic cong estion, ad dressing pa ndemics/epid em ics,
improving env ironm ental qu ality, creating an atmosph ere for employ ees to increase
productiv ity and job s atisfacti on, and sustaining the hiring and retention of a h igh ly qualif ied
work force by enha ncing w ork /life i ntegrati on.
“Tele work” means to perform County work functions at locatio ns away from offices in County
facil ities at the discretion of the Dep artment H ead.
“Tele work sched ule” is the days and ho urs agreed up on by the Depart m ent Head an d
employ ee ab out w hen the employ ee may t elewo rk.
“Tele work site” is the location away from the offic es in C ounty facil ities where an employ ee
has be en authorized to Te lewor k. The tele work site sho uld be the employee ’s home un less
the employee’s Depa rtm ent Head ap proves for the employee to work from an alternative
tele work site.
GEN ERA L:
County depart m ents m ay impl ement tele work arran gements, where ap propriate, for eligible
employ ees in recog nition of the pos itive personal and management im pacts of s uch
arran gements, including reduced commut er stress and t raffic cong estion, and i ncrea sed
workplace flexi bility. Te leworki ng can both serve the ne eds of Ha rris C ounty gov ernment and
Te lework affor ds so me employees a fle xible w ork opti on w hen both the e mployee and the
work to be performed are suited to such an arran gement. Te lework is not ap propriate for all
All de part m ents will incur the cost for any ex penses they ap prove for tele work. Expe nses for
tele work requ ire the ap proval of the D epart m ent Head. The Depart m ent Head may de legate
the authority to ap prove minimal te lework expenses and sho uld set spe nding limits
No employee is enti tled to, or gu arante ed the opportunity to, tele work. Offeri ng the
op portunity to tele work is a management opti on, based on the disc retion of the employee’s
immediate supervis or and Depart m ent Head. Depart m ent Heads have a right to refuse to
make telew ork ava ilable and to termi nate a t elework arran gement at any time.
Depart m ents shou ld cons ider ADA req uirements when revie wing telework requests.
TE RMS OF TE LEW ORK P ART ICIP ATION:
Te leworkers are expected to m eet all the respons ibilit ies, perform all the duties, and comply
with a ll the pol icies that ap ply to any worker in a simi lar role, regardle ss of the l ocation.
Empl oyees m ay te lework w hen they:
• Meet all eligi bility req uirem ents l isted below and throu gho ut this policy.
• Hold jobs that are sui tab le to be performed away from a County office. Te leworkers
must have a portion of their w orkload that can be perf orm ed away from the office
without dimini shing the qu ality of customer service or the overall productiv ity of the
de part m ent. Empl oyees whose job tasks are restricted by location will not be
ap proved to te lework.
• Have written ap pro val of their manager /supervis or and Depart m ent Head to
• Have reviewed and sign ed the Telework Policy Acknowledgement Form within this
• Can ma int ain adequate perform ance lev els.
• Maintain a des ignated tele work site that allows them to perform all job requ iremen ts.
Th is des ign ated workspace should be ergonomic ally soun d, safe and provide a go od
work env ironment.
• Have inter net conn ectivity at the telewo rk site with suffic ient speeds to cond uct their
requ ired work.
Te leworkers un derstand that:
• The telework work site must be p re-ap proved by their depart m ent. Empl oyees may
not tempo rari ly work remotely f rom outsi de the greater Houston area unless agreed
up on by the ir Depart m ent Head.
• Th ey are accountab le for their time and are expected to be regu lar ly access ible and
ava ilab le to their supervis ors and cow orkers duri ng their tele work sched ule usi ng
routine electronic m eans, incl uding tele phone, ema il, M icrosoft Teams, and Skype.
• Th ey ne ed to foll ow their de part m ent’s cal l-in and leave request procedure s.
Personal leave time must be arran ged in the same manner as emplo yees wo rking
at a C oun ty worksite. Te leworkers who are un able to work due to illness, must use
sick leave or other pa id leave and report their abs ence to their de part m ent as soon
as practic able.
• Th ey must keep ac curate reco rds of their work time and work performed in the
manner req uired by the ir de partment, including m aintain ing accu rate work l ogs.
• Th ey shou ld be availab le to attend in-person meetings or report to a County office
when req uested. Te leworkers un derstand that they may be cal led to wo rk in a
County office on the ir regu lar telework sched ule to meet depart m ent needs.
• Te lework does not chan ge com pensation, ben efits, vacation, or ot her paid leave.
• Te lework do es not alter requ irements to comply with an empl oyee ’s duties and
respons ibilities and County and depart m ent po licies.
• Te lework creates no ad ditional overtime or compen satory time requ iremen ts. All
overtime and compensatory time shou ld be ap proved by m an agement before be ing
• Violati on of the “Telework Policy” may lead to disciplinary actions up to and including
terminati on of the te leworker’s emp loyment w ith H arris Co unty.
TE LEWO RK ELIGIB ILITY:
Depart m ent Heads shou ld review the followi ng areas when cons ideri ng the suitab ility of a
tele work agreement:
Empl oyee suitabi lity. The employ ee and supervis or will assess the ne eds and work
ha bits of the employee, compared to qu alities customari ly recogn ized as ap propri ate
for succe ssful telecommuters. Character istics of t he employ ee w ill i nclude a
demonstrated consc ientious ness ab out work time and productiv ity, sel f-mot ivation
and ab ility to work w ell a lone, as w ell as ab ility to comm unicate effe ctively w ith
supervis ors, co-workers, support staff and clients.
Job resp onsibilit ies . T he employee and supervis or will disc uss the job
respons ibilities and determi ne if the job is appropriate for a tele work arran gement.
An employ ee’s work must be of a nature that in-per son interaction with internal or
external customers or project workgrou ps is minimal and the employ ee’s tasks can
be perfor med successful ly away f rom the office.
Eq uipme nt ne eds, workspa ce de sign considerations and sche duling issues .
The employee and supervis or will review the phys ical w orks pace ne eds and the
ap propriate location for the tele work. The ne ed for spec ialized mater ial or eq uipm ent
in order to telecommute shou ld be minima l. Empl oyees interested in teleco m muti ng
must already have a safe and ergonomic home off ice env iro nment, the primary
materia ls and equ ipm ent needed at the ir home in order to telecommute and be able
to op erate a computer or other equi pment ind epende ntly, to the degree that they will
be ab le to w ork remo tely.
Unless the de part m ent has a lready authorized or requ ired an employee to tele work, an
employ ee wishing to request tele work shall submit a written request to their immediate
supervis or. A tele work arran gement must be agreed up on by the employee’s imm ediate
supervis or and the Depar tment Head and r educ ed to writing. Any chan ges to the written
arran gement mu st also be doc umented in writi ng and ap proved by t he employ ee’s immediate
superv isor and the D epart m ent Hea d.
Im mediate supervis ors shou ld consult with their informat ion and techn ology representativ es
and Unive rsal S ervi ce s in adva nce if an employee r equ ires remote access or technology
supp ort in order to te lework.
After an employee beg ins a te lework arran gement, supervis ors shou ld cond uct peri odic
revie ws with the emp loyee to evaluate the success of the arran gement. Reviews should be
do ne at least once a year.
The emp loyee sha ll particip ate in any C ounty evalu ation of tele work.
The employee sha ll particip ate in any Count y-spons ored tele work an d/or tec hno logy training
as req uested by the employ ee’s supervis or or Departme nt Head.
All telew orkers must accurately report time worked in accordance with the Harris County
Personnel P olicies & Proced ures and obta in authorizati on by the employ ee’s supervis or or
Depart m ent Head prior to worki ng any hours beyond their normal work sched ule.
In order to util ize sick leave on a telework wo rkday, employ ees mu st contact their immediate
supervis or as early as possible.
Te leworking employ ees shall not ho ld i n-person bus iness m eeti ngs with i nter nal or e xternal
clients, customers or colleagues at their te lework site.
Empl oyees sha ll not cond uct any un authorized exter nal (non -County) work duri ng their
tele work wo rk schedule.
WORK SPA CE
Empl oyees who telework must provi de a desi gnated wo rk area in the ap prov ed tele work site
that provid es a safe remote workspace free of haz ards and other da ngers and allows them
to perfo rm all job requi rements. Employe es sho uld period ically complete a Safety Checklist
to ens ure the ir tele work site me ets their de part m ent’s safety requ irements.
The employee will be respons ible for all costs assoc iat ed with provid ing a space to tele work
and for provid ing furni ture and other eq uipm ent for the space used for teleworking. Office
furn iture will not be provi ded to employ ees who telew ork.
The desig nated work area sho uld provide:
• Adequate no ise con trol to ens ure clear telep hone and video conference cal ls to
col leag ues and constituents.
• Adequate privacy provis ions, including, where ap propriate, locking do ors and windows
to ens ure that family or house m embers do not have access to confid ential m aterials.
• Freedom fr om distract ions and inter rupti ons t hat might affect workplace per formance.
Empl oyees are resp onsi ble for avo iding wo rk that is not norm ally part of the job when
working at the alternative workplace, such as he avy lifting, and for taking normal precautio ns
to avo id accidents. Employe es are requ ired to report any and all injuries or hazards that are
directly related to the immediate work area and incurred when perfo rming w ork for the
SUPP LIES: General office supp lies (such as pa per and pe ns) will be provid ed by the tele work
employ ee’s de part m ent and s hou ld be obtain ed by the emp loyee at the de part m ent’s
worksit e. Ou t-of-pocket expenses for sup plies nor m ally available at the de part m ent’s
works ite w ill not be reimbursed.
HARDW ARE, SOFTW ARE AND DATA
Empl oyees who telework are subject to the same internal County policies reg arding the use
of County provid ed equ ipment (hardware and softw are) and services as th at of employ ees
working at a County worksite. Empl oyees sha ll not allow any one, except authorized County
employ ees, to use Cou nty-provid ed eq uipm ent (inc lud ing har dware and softw are) and
Empl oyees m ust keep Count y-owned prop erty safe and avo id any misuse.
Specifically, emp loyees must:
● Keep their equi pment pass word protec ted.
● Store equipment in a safe and cle an space when not in use.
● Fo llow a ll data encryp tion, protect ion standa rds and setti ngs.
● Log out of any Cou nty appl icat ions and services when not in use.
● Disconnect from C oun ty rem ote access services wh en not w orking.
● Lock their works tation usi ng CLT+A LT+D ELETE when away from their com puter.
● Refrain from down load ing suspi cious, un authorized or il legal software.
Please no te certa in remote acce ss sol utions will requ ire the employ ee to enro ll in multi -fact or
authent icat ion to be granted access to the service. In ad dition, it is highly recom m en ded that
all telew orkers enro ll in H arris County Password Man ager to facilitate pass word chan ges
while work ing remotely.
HARD W ARE: All pro perty owned by Harris County and assi gned to a tele worker may not be
used for personal pur poses and must be ret urned to the employee’s depart m ent when the
employ ee ceases to tele work. The emp loyee must complete and sign a de partment
inventory list of a ll County -owned property provid ed to the employ ee for te lework purposes.
All invento ry forms si gned by employ ees s hou ld be placed in the employ ee’s files. Upon
terminati on of the tele work assignment or employment, all Count y-owned pr operty must be
retu rned immediate ly, un less oth er arran gements have been made.
It is stron gly adv ised that County employ ees who tele work use County compu ter eq uipment
to cond uct County busi ness. Only Count y-owned laptops and desktops are allowed to
conn ect directly to the County netw ork via t he County’s rem ote access VPN services tha t
allow full access to r esources on the C ounty network.
Empl oyees whose job functions requ ire only limited ac cess to County IT res ources may use
their own personal computer eq uipment to telewo rk if they follow the County’s cybersecurity
requ irements for usi ng personal computer eq uipment to access County resources and if the
use is approved by their Depar tment Head and docu m ented in their telework agreement.
Limited a ccess scenarios i nclude emp loyees w ho only need access to internet facing
websites, cloud serv ices, Microsoft Office desktop app lica tions an d/or a defi ned set of
internal busi ness applicat ions that can be de live red throu gh a virtual desktop service, a
secure mob ile de vice an d/or m ob ile ap plicat ion service or an e xterna lly accessi ble website.
Empl oyees usi ng personal computers and dev ices must on ly access County resources
throu gh secured rem ote access services prescribed for l imited access use cases and must
not be allowed to conn ect directly to the County netw ork via a full access service such as
VPN. In ad dition, they must ens ure that their computer system is kept up to date with the
most curr ent security up dates and patc hes and that an antiv irus softw are is i nsta lled, en abled
and kept up to date with the most r ecent security up dates.
Empl oyees who use their own personal computer eq uipment mu st not do wnload an d/or store
any County informat ion on their personal computer or dev ice. Empl oyees must on ly store
County i nformation in the network storage conta iners and on line f ile repos itori es provided by
and m ana ged by the County. In the case that County information is stored on an employ ee’s
personal computer, that computer may be s ubject to pub lic disclosure requ irements (see
Public Inf orm ation Act). Personal computer eq uipment shou ld not be used to conn ect to
any H arris C ounty netw ork (wired or w ireless) other than gu est wireless w hen within a Harris
Cou nty facil ity.
Empl oyees are responsi ble for maintaini ng and repa iring their per son ally-owned eq uipment.
Harris County cann ot assume any ob ligat ion for damage or l oss to pe rsonal property.
Te leworkers must pro tect ag ainst damage to County property. Surge protecto rs are requ ired
to be used with Count y-owned computers. If not used, the employee may be respons ible for
any damage caused.
SOFTWARE: Empl oyees must follow the cu rrent software po licies of the Universal Services
Depart m ent. Empl oyee -owned softw are must not be used for tele workin g, except for
antiv irus an d/or oth er security softw are that must be installed on per son ally-owned
computers to allow a ccess to County resources. Wh en an employ ee is using a personal
computing dev ice, County bus iness must only be conducted w ithin the secure ap plicat ions,
digital conta iners and workspac es provided by the C ounty and must not be cond ucted d irectly
on the personal dev ice using pers onal softw are. Empl oyees must on ly use Co unty provid ed
softw are and services to conduct Cou nty busi ness.
In ad dition, employees must he lp ens ure that the com puter op erating syst em and
ap plic ations provid ed by the County are pa tched and maintai ned. On Count y-owned and
provid ed equ ipment, employ ees must not do anyth ing to disab le or disrupt the install ation of
security pa tches and system up da tes that are requ ired to maintain the he alth of their system.
Empl oyees shou ld c onsu lt with their de part m ent’s IT supp ort staff to en sure that their security
softw are conforms to the County’s softw are po lici es. General ly, the County will not provide
or reimburse employ ees for so ftwa re that is commercia lly ava ilab le for installment on an
employ ee’s personal computer. However, the Depart m ent Head has the discreti on to
purchase or reimburse employees for softw are that is i nsta lled on per son ally-owned
eq uipment to ad dress a l egitima te bus iness ne ed ap proved in ad vance by the Depar tment
ACCES S: The C ounty will not purchase or reimburse employ ees for the co st of an i nter net
service provid er or internet use. If the Cou nty’s remo te access system includes internet
access or other dial-in services, the employ ee may only use the County provi ded internet
access or other dial-in services in a manner cons istent w ith that of employ ees working at a
Te leworkers must be ava ilab le by ph one during their tele work hours. Unless the County
provid es a Count y-issued ph one, tele work employ ees will be requ ired to use their personal
mobi le or home phone.
CON FIDEN TIAL I NFORMATION: As a ge neral rule, confid ential an d/or proprietary
informati on may not leave County premises. If it is nec essary for data to be download ed or
trans ported to be us ed of f-site, employ ees mu st obt ain ap proval of their sup ervisor and
inform th em of the metho ds be ing used to safeguard the inform ation. Employe es must
maintain the confid entiality of C ounty information and doc uments, prevent un authorized
access to any County syst em or informatio n, and dispose of work-related documents in a
manner that will not jeo pardize the interes ts of the County. Fa ilure to use due care in
safeguarding confidential an d/or propriet ary inform ation in a ll ph ases of possess ion
(transportat ion, use, storage, and d isposa l) may be cons idered a performan ce matter t hat
cou ld end the telework agreement and subject the emp loyee to d iscip linary acti on.
PUBLIC INFORMATION ACT REQUE STS AND RECORDS RETE NTION: Records that
may be created at, sent to, or sent from the tele work site may be subject to d isclosure in
response to a pu blic i nformati on records requ est. Empl oyees m ust use County provided
digital rep ositories and services to store, process, and transmit Cou nty da ta and not use
personal softw are, services or their computer’s hard drive. The fact that the r ecord resides
on an e m ployee’s personal c omputer do es not affect its stat us as a pub lic record. An
employ ee who telewo rks must maintain all records on the tele work site computer cons istent
with the County’s records retenti on pol icies.
SAFETY/W ORKERS COMPE NSATION:
Empl oyees who tele work may be covered by workers’ compensation for job-related injuries
occurring at their tele work site during their defi ned te lework sc hed ule. The employ ee is
respons ible for maintai ning a safe and ergonomic w ork ing env iro nment, including the wo rk
area, bathroom, and other areas that may be necessary for working duri ng t he telecommuting
arran gement. W orkers’ compensation will not ap ply to non -job -related i njuries that occur in
the tele work site. The employee also rema ins respons ible for injuries to third parties an d/or
members of t he employee’s fami ly at their tele work site. H arris C ounty w ill not be respons ible
for injuries to third parties or members of t he employee’s fami ly that occur on the employee’s
te lework site.
In the event of a job -related incident, acci dent or injury during telework ho urs, the employee
sha ll re port the incident to their sup ervisor as soon as poss ible. Depart m ent Heads s hou ld
foll ow est ablished pr ocedures to report and i nvestiga te w orkplace i ncidents, acci dents or
Te leworkers must allow the County to inspect the tele work site duri ng normal working times
for saf ety compl iance w ith this po licy to prevent acci dents and w hen a jo b-re lated i ncident,
acci dent or injury has occurred.
RECRUI TMEN T:
To assist with recru iting efforts, D epart m ent H eads s hou ld refer to the C ounty’s Te lewo rk
Policy and include a link to the po licy in job posti ngs and job descripti ons for pos itions that
have been determi ned suitable for telework.
AD HOC ARRANG EMEN TS:
Temporary tele work arran gements may be approved for circumsta nces such as i nclem ent
weather, spec ial projects or bus iness t rave l. Th ese arran gements are ap proved on an as
ne eded bas is only, with no ex pectation of o ngoing c ontinu ance.
Other i nformal, sh ort-term arran gements may be made for employ ees on fami ly or medical
leave to the extent practical for the employee and the organ ization and with the conse nt of
the emp loyee ‘s hea lth care provi der, if appr opriate.
All informal tele work arran gements are m ade on a cas e-by -case bas is, focusing first on t he
bus iness nee ds of the dep artment.
Telework Ackn owledgm ent Form
I her eby acknowledge that I have receiv ed and read the Tele work Policy. I unde rstand the co nten ts and
agree to ab ide by all requirements of the pol icy as stated. I recogn ize the policy may be changed,
amend ed or supple mented at any time, with or wi thout not ice, and that such changes will super sede
this pol icy.
Em ployee Name:
Em ployee Signature: