Examples of remote work set-ups — what might remote work look like for me?

The SMPH Remote Work Team will be publishing several blog posts to provide information and context to the SMPH community about the UW–Madison Remote Work Policy and SMPH Remote Work Guide. This one is focused on the many options of fully remote and hybrid work.  

Remote work contains many options, from fully remote to a range of hybrid setups. The options can feel overwhelming. As employees and supervisors explore remote work options, how do you start deciding what is right for you or your team? 

The tools available in Step 2 of the SMPH Remote Work Guide are a great place to start. They can help with this thought process.  

What might an employee’s schedule look like? There will be two broad options in the remote work agreement form that was recently released: 

  • Days of the week: Employees can work remotely for set days of the week. 
  • Percentage of time: Employees can select a percentage of time to work remotely.  

Some individuals and supervisors may be interested in a strict schedule of certain days in the office and certain days working remotely. That may be a great option for groups that need someone present on-site each day and are interested in staggering their team. Other individuals may need more flexibility on which days they will be on-site due to client demands or varied meeting schedules. Selecting a percentage of time may work better for them.  

Starting September 1, the default work modality will be onsite work, unless an employee has an approved remote work agreement. SMPH supports the use of remote work where appropriate, and department and unit leadership can set parameters on remote work for their employees. Remote work agreements begin with a conversation between an employee and their supervisor where they discuss possibilities and parameters of remote work. An employee should not submit a remote work agreement for approval without the knowledge of their supervisor. Remote work agreements will be approved by an employee’s supervisor and any other necessary approvers and submitted to the Dean’s Office via SMPH HR.  

Below are some examples of possible remote work set ups. These are not meant to be comprehensive, and many factors specific to a scenario can affect suitability for remote work. 

  • Tom the receptionist: Even though some of his work managing the schedules of several leaders could be done remotely, he plays a vital in-person role of greeting and triaging visitors. His role may not be conducive to much remote work.   
  • Ellen the outreach specialist: She has regular community and stakeholder events and meetings on Wednesdays and Thursdays that are most effective in-person, but the rest of her time is spent on planning and writing reports. Her role may be conducive to a hybrid set up that specifies certain days of the week she is working remotely.  
  • Carlos the student services coordinator: Although much of their work is done with students and others via email, there is often a need to meet with students in-person when it fits their complex schedules. Carlos’ supervisor has designated common contact hours or days in which everyone on the team is on campus for direct student support. Their role may be conducive to a hybrid set up that specifies that they will be working remotely 50% of the time, rather than on specific days.  
  • Nicholas the grant writer: As a grant writer, the large majority of his work is conducted on his computer. He works as part of a small team, and his supervisor would like to have in-person team meetings and opportunity for in-person client contact hours. His role may be conducive to 100-75% remote work.   
  • Susy the researcher: Her data analysis is largely done on a computer and is conducive to remote work. However, Susy works with PHI and other sensitive data, so ze will need to ensure ze is taking the proper IT and compliance measures for proper security and risk mitigation.  
  • Lee the scientific instrument technician: Lee has to be physically present to repair and maintain important and valuable equipment. To perform his job function, he will need to be on site most if not all of the time.  
  • Henry the student employee: Henry is a student employee hired to help with some administrative tasks that can be done remotely. He and his supervisor have agreed that he can work remotely but come into the office for important meetings to review his work. He will need to request a remote work agreement because student employees are in scope for the UW–Madison Remote Work Policy.  
  • Isabella the department leader: As the administrative leader in her department, Isabella will return to onsite work full time to help her staff going hybrid get started and get the office generally up and running. She wants to see how this goes; maybe she will find she needs to be in the office or perhaps a hybrid option will work for her role as well. She can gauge her performance and talk with her supervisor and decide at any time if she wants to request a remote work agreement because the policy is ongoing.  
  • Jasmine the research manager: She is interested in returning to the office full time but wants some flexibility. For example, if she has a dental cleaning in the middle of the afternoon near her house, she’d like to work the rest of the day from home. This is an example of “workplace flexibility” and does not fall under the UW–Madison Remote Work Policy. She will not need to enter into a remote work agreement.  

Although you may see aspects of your position represented above in the fictionalized examples above, these brief illustrations aren’t comprehensive. In a school as big and varied as SMPH, similar-sounding roles can have different day-to-day needs for in person presence.  

Assumptions for situations with remote (fully or hybrid set ups):  

  • The above individuals’ department/unit is allowing remote work (fully remote or hybrid). Departments/units may set their own guidelines for the types of remote work allowed for their employees.   
  • Any remote work by these individuals will be done in the state of Wisconsin. If there is a need for work outside of the state of Wisconsin or internationally, there are additional considerations that are outlined in the SMPH Remote Work Guide 
  • These individuals have had conversations about remote work with their supervisors, who have agreed to consider their remote work requests, where applicable. They are in good standing with their supervisor and unit and have shown they can effectively perform their job function while remote.   
  • These individuals have access to a suitable remote work environment, as well as a laptop or other SMPH-provided technology that enables remote work.  
  • These individuals do not have an approved workplace accommodation as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Requests for such accommodations at UW–Madison are handled through Divisional Disability Representatives (DDRs). Please reach out to smph-accommodation@med.wisc.edu if you have any questions regarding your own accommodation or to request one.  

Know that your set up can change over time, and it may require changes and re-approvals of your remote work agreement as this is an ongoing policy.  

Questions can be submitted to smphworkmode@med.wisc.edu