We recognize that there are limitations to our ability to replicate at home the equipment and services employees would otherwise have access to while working at university work locations. We want to remind employees of both the policies that govern and the resources that are available to help employees reasonably provide for work to be undertaken at home.
The following guidelines for working from home are in place to ensure USask employees have access to the necessary equipment and supplies they need while adhering to the existing reimbursement and eligible expense polices.
Use of university equipment at home
Please note individual home workspaces will present logistical challenges and other limitations that may restrict what items can be retrieved from university workspaces.
For university equipment (computer equipment or transportable furniture) that is available from the employee’s university workspace and is required to work at home, employees are advised to complete the Declaration of Property Used Off-Campus form. Once the items have been approved for removal, the supervisor and employee can work with Protective Services to arrange access to campus and the retrieval and transport of the necessary items to their remote work location.
- The equipment requested must be critical to performing work duties safely and effectively at their remote work location.
- The employee must be able to safely move and/or install the equipment within their remote work location, without the direct assistance of university personnel who may have delivered the equipment.
- If employees experience difficulty setting up a computer in their home, they can refer to Working Remotely or contact the IT Support Services through a General IT Request in PAWS or by calling (306) 966-2222.
- All university equipment brought into their home must be returned to the university at such time the university resumes normal onsite operations.
Reimbursement and eligible expenses
Expenses and purchases that do not meet the conditions of the policies and standards outlined below will be ineligible for reimbursement. The work from home standards cover the following scenarios:
The purchase of necessary equipment and supplies
Computer equipment, software, furniture and equipment purchased without contacting the appropriate departments as noted below will not be reimbursed and is not authorized to be purchased on a PCard.
If the necessary, equipment or supplies are not available to be retrieved from the university, employees can obtain approval from their manager or supervisor while following the guidelines below to source equipment and supplies on their own.
Guidelines for purchasing items for working from home:
- Contact IT Acquisitions for all technology and accessories. The university may have unused equipment it can provide or obtain the necessary equipment at preferred rates through established vendor contacts. Computer equipment and software purchases made independently, without ICT authorization, will not be reimbursed and are not authorized to be purchased on a PCard.
- If new software is required on a USask-managed Windows device, download through Software Centre.
- If new software is required on a home computer, employees should contact IT Support Services prior to purchasing or installing the software. The university retains licensing agreements for a wide range of vendors and individual software products, already fully paid for or with preferred pricing.
Microsoft Office 365 is available for eligible USask employees to download to personal home computers for free, details including instructions can be found here. Software purchased independently, without ICT authorization, will not be reimbursed and is not authorized to be purchased on a PCard.
- Information and resources relating to ergonomic equipment for working remotely is available.
- Employees requiring equipment that is not retrievable from their university workspace are advised to contact Safety Resources to identify what their needs are. A trained ergonomic advisor will consult with them on what physical arrangements are optimal and reasonably obtained for their needs. Supervisor/Departmental approval will be required for ergonomic equipment purchases. Some colleges/units may have surplus ergonomic equipment available for use.
- For day-to-day office supplies (e.g. paper, pens, printer toner), employees can contact Supreme Office Products. The university has established contracts that provide meaningful discounts and/or rebates to the university. In most cases, office supplies can be delivered directly to the employees’ homes. To arrange home delivery, Supreme Basics has advised to simply add contact and address details in the notes section of each order. Charges are billed to their CFOAPAL via a PCard. If they require supplies and do not have access to a PCard or departmental supports, they can contact ConnectionPoint for assistance.
- Employees needing any other furniture are advised to contact Facilities Support Services.
There could potentially be other items, that employees may need to work from home but are either not critical to their day-to-day work or would bring substantial personal benefit in addition to being used for work. These kinds of expenditures are not eligible for reimbursement from the university, but some financial relief may still be able to be realized for those purchases.
The university is planning to issue a Form T2200 - Declaration of Conditions of Employment for the 2020 taxation year to employees required to work from home. This will provide the potential to deduct expenses paid for employment use of a workspace in their home. Details on the form and the associated process will be made available in the future. Employees will be advised to please consult a qualified tax advisor if they have any questions about how such expenditures may affect their tax circumstances.