Administering the Work From Home Program

woman sitting at a desk

The Work from Home (WFH) Program provides employees the flexibility to work from home while maintaining the necessary level of productivity, engagement and performance required by the university. Through the program, employees can apply for a Work from Home Agreement.

Managers and Supervisors can use the Work From Home Toolkit in conjunction with the Work From Home Program to assist in assessing employee requests, communicating decisions and expectations to employees and managing remotely.

Managers are encouraged to access support and advice from their Human Resources Service Partner (HRSP) as required.

Frequently Asked Questions

Work From Home Agreement

Who initiates the work from home agreement?

The employee initiates a WFH request.

  • An employee interested in a WFH arrangement reviews the program materials and assesses whether their position is eligible to apply.
  • For additional information on the request process, see the Work from Home Guide .
What if I have existing employees already working from home?

The university began a transition back to on-campus work in early 2022. An employee who wishes to continue working from home will have to request a WFH arrangement and have it approved. If the request is approved, a completed WFH Application Form will be required.

Do public health orders apply to employees on a WFH agreement?

Yes, employees will still be required to follow public health orders.

  • As part of the WFH agreement, the employee must be able to attend designated in-person hours on campus as determined by the manager/supervisor and as such, will be required to comply with the university’s directives.
Can an employee apply for a work from homearrangement in lieu of public health orders?


  • As part of the WFH agreement, the employee must be able to attend designated in-person hours on campus as determined by the manager/supervisor and as such, will be required to comply with the university’s directives.
Can I require an employee to work from home using the work from home Program?

No. Use of the program is voluntary and is initiated by the employee, not the university.

  • The intent of the WFH Program is to provide employees the option to request a WFH arrangement if they are seeking more flexibility in their work locations to improve work-life balance.
What if I don’t want employees to work from home?

If there are valid operational or performance concerns, these issues should be addressed during the approval process and the employee’s application should be denied.


  • Administrative burden is not a rationale for denying an application.
  • Working from home conditions during the pandemic demonstrated that many employees can effectively work from home.
  • Now that we are returning to work on campus, some employees may be seeking more flexibility in their work location to improve work-life balance.
  • Managers/supervisors are encouraged to spend the time up front planning and developing alternate methods of communication and performance evaluation to support this option if it is operationally feasible.
Can my employee in an approved work from home arrangement return to working in the office full-time?

Yes. WFH arrangements are voluntary and entered with the mutual agreement of the employee and manager/supervisor.

  • The WFH arrangement may be terminated at any time by either party with 30 calendar days written notice. The notice period can be shortened by mutual agreement, however considerations should be given to space allocation.

Work From Home Approvals

What if I receive multiple requests that cannot all be accommodated? What is the criteria used to determine which requests should be approved?

With the introduction of the program, it is anticipated there may be many employees who will apply.

  • Initial intakes for each phase of the program are intended to assist the manager/supervisor in assessing multiple applications together. 
  • Although there may be several employees performing the same role, each employee must apply for the program and the WFH application will be reviewed and approved on an individual basis.
  • When considering multiple requests, explore options that allow you to treat employees fairly and equitably. For example, instead of one employee working from home five days per week, perhaps five employees could each work from home one day per week. 
  • To assist with the number of applications expected, the program will be phased in by eligible employee groups.
How should I handle a situation where it may be appropriate to approve one person's request for a WFH and deny the request of another?

All decisions should focus on objective criteria related to work performance, job demands and operational requirements.

  • A consistent approach should be applied to reviewing each application objectively and must ensure the principles of fairness and equity are upheld at all stages of the process. 
  • It is important to communicate to each employee the decision and the rationale for the decision. 
  • Consult your HR Service Partner (HRSP) for guidance to help develop messaging for communicating these decisions in a supportive manner.
How are requests for a WFH being handled for those who have an existing accommodation?

It may be possible for an employee to be approved for a WFH arrangement who has an existing medical or non-medical accommodation.

  • Contact Return to Work Services to determine any impacts in approving a WFH arrangement for those already on medical accommodation.
  • Contact your HRSP to determine any impacts in approving a WFH arrangement for those already in non-medical accommodations.
Can our faculty/department implement a “standard” minimum number of in-person hours for those applying for a WFH arrangement?


  • As noted in the program guide, managers/supervisors have the ability to establish the minimum required number of in-person hours per month. This may include a minimum standard number of hours for a particular faculty/department based on operational requirements.
Where can I get a copy of the completed, approved agreements?

Once the agreements are approved, they are routed directly to the employees personnel file, the requesting employee also receives a copy by email. To obtain a copy, you can request the employee forward you a copy, request a copy by contacting the Shared Service Centre.

What should I do if I am not sure if there are outstanding agreements I need to approve?

Human Resources, Health, Safety and Environment oversees the program. Contact and a link will be sent to you that will provide the outstanding approval tasks.

Health + Safety

Should the Employee undertake a hazard assessment associated with their workstation at home?


  • A specific Home Office Hazard Assessment template  has been developed for use.
  • The assessment must be completed including the implementation of the appropriate controls.
  • You must maintain a record of the hazard assessment.
Does the employee have to purchase their own first aid kit?

No. It is the responsibility of the employer to provide the necessary first aid kit for employees on WFH arrangements.

  • For information on how to obtain the kits and the associated costs, please refer to the manager’s toolkit.
  • The cost associated with the first aid kit is the responsibility of the faculty/department.
  • The university has sourced basic first aid kits that meet occupational, health and safety requirements. The cost of the kits are approximately $15 and can be obtained through Supply Management Services. 
If an employee injures themselves while working from home and while undertaking work related duties are they covered under WCB and do they need to complete an incident report?

Yes. Their home office is considered a worksite when the employee is undertaking university related work duties.

  • As the supervisor, you have the same WCB reporting responsibilities as if the employee were working on campus.
  • The employee must notify you of an incident and complete an incident report using the HSE ARISE online incident reporting system. As their supervisor, you must follow up on the incident report accordingly.

Home Work Location

Can an employee refuse to have the security software installed on their home personal computer or cell phone?

No. Employees will not be permitted to use personal computers or cell phones to conduct university business if they refuse to install the required technology applications.

  • The WFH application outlines the requirements to adhere to the installation of security applications on any university-issued computer (or personal computer if being used to conduct U of A work). Employees will be required to sign up for Multi-Factor Authentication and Endpoint Security  applications.
  • Employees using their personal cell phones for university business will be required to install applications such as Mobile Device Management.
Can employees borrow university computer equipment and/or office furniture so they have a proper workstation at home?

As part of the normal employment process, the university will assign one desktop computer or laptop including a technology accessory kit (mouse, keyboard, monitor, docking station) if required.

  • Employees who apply for a WFH arrangement are responsible for the cost of office furniture that meets ergonomic standards and associated costs with working from home.
  • All equipment and furnishings purchased directly by the university (or through respective spending accounts) remains the property of the university and must be returned at the end of the WFH arrangement or earlier if requested by the university.
  • All equipment must be tagged and updated by the faculty/department Unit Equipment Coordinator as necessary per the Equipment and Furnishings Asset Management Policy .
How do I address employees who have moved out of the geographical area* during the pandemic?

During the pandemic, some employees may have chosen to temporarily relocate (e.g. to be closer to family or to provide care for someone) or have moved outside of Alberta to relocate on a permanent basis.

  • A WFH Agreement is not intended to facilitate the employment of individuals who wish to reside outside of the geographical area.
  • Employing individuals who reside outside of the province of Alberta poses many risks and issues related to pay, benefits, employment standards, collective agreement application and legislative compliance.
  • If you have employees who have moved away, you will need to review their individual circumstances on a case by case basis.

Approval Sought: When employees discussed their plans to move with their manager/supervisor, they should have been advised that their request to work outside of the geographical area was approved on a temporary basis and they would be expected to return to work on campus once the public health restrictions were lifted.

Approval Not Sought: If managers/supervisors were not made aware employees had moved outside of the geographical area, consult with your Human Resource Service Partner.

* Geographical area: For the purposes of this program, geographical area is defined as the Greater Edmonton Area (Beaumont, Devon, Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Greater Parkland Regional, Leduc Regional, Morinville, St. Albert and Sherwood Park), Sturgeon County and Camrose regions.

Managing Work From Home Agreements

What resources are available in helping me effectively manage in a hybrid environment?

There are a number of university resources to support a transition:

What if I determine that the WFH arrangement isn’t working?
  • Managers/supervisors should be discussing concerns identified with the employee and provide appropriate feedback and the opportunity to improve.
  • The WFH arrangement may be terminated at any time by either party based with 30 calendar days’ written notice. This notice period can be shortened by mutual agreement. 
  • Additional detail about the review processes can be found in the manager/supervisor toolkit.
Where do I go if I have a question not covered in the FAQ?

Consult with your HR Service Partner. If you are not sure who your HRSP is, you can use the Find Your HR Contact application.