U to start ‘Sit-U-ational Telecommuting’ trial

The University of Utah is taking a different approach this year to manage one of its busiest times on campus.

As part of a trial of a new initiative known as “Sit-U-ational Telecommuting” the university is asking eligible employees who aren’t required to be in person to perform their duties to work remotely during the first two weeks of school, Aug. 23-Sept. 3.

The U’s Sit-U-ational Telecommuting initiative is similar to a “surge teleworking” policy adopted by the state of Utah that shifts some employees to work remotely in response to bad-air quality days. At the U, Sit-U-ational Telecommuting may be used to address scenarios in which scheduled remote work may have an optimal effect on campus, such as alleviating traffic and parking problems.

Who is eligible for Sit-U-ational Telecommuting?

University employees who do not have to be in person to do their jobs during part or all of those two weeks and U of U Health Hospitals and Clinics staff working as part of a HIVE team are eligible. Employees who have responsibilities that require them to be in person, such as teaching, student services, and those with patient or health care responsibilities (including Hospitals and Clinics clinical staff) are not eligible for Sit-U-ational Telecommuting. All university employees must receive supervisor approval to work remotely during that time (even if they are already designated as hybrid telecommuting employees); U of U Health Hospitals and Clinics HIVE continue under current arrangements.

How will supervisors determine approval for Sit-U-ational Telecommuting?

When considering whether an employee can work remotely for all or a portion of this Sit-U-ational Telecommuting period, supervisors will consider employees’ job duties and responsibilities, along with any in-person meeting or event obligations. If an employee is already working remotely, that arrangement may continue as normal. A more formal approval process will be rolled out by HR later in the semester.

Why implement a trial of Sit-U-ational Telecommuting now?

While the return to fall semester usually brings more people to campus, this year, the U is projected to have the largest first-year class in history. In an effort to ensure that this influx of students have an exceptional start to their semester, University leaders are proactively taking a step toward reducing traffic and parking congestion to help new students and visitors navigate campus more easily.

What will qualify as a Sit-U-ational Telecommuting opportunity in the future?

The U plans to implement Sit-U-ational Telecommuting for future events. These days will be event-based and determined by university leadership. Additional details and guidance are forthcoming.

Further questions may be directed to askhr@utah.edu.