The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) has a Remote Work Policy, allowing employees to apply to work at a location other than their Designated Worksite.
The Remote Work Policy contains several safety and performance conditions. To be eligible to work remotely, an employee must be in a job that is suitable for remote work. They must have a suitable and safe workspace like a home office, and they must provide the same or better performance. Remote work is not a replacement for child or elder care, and employees are expected to arrange for child and elder care that does not disrupt their remote work.
Remote work is voluntary and subject to approval. Before applying for Remote Work, read the policy, guidelines, Frequently Asked Questions, Checklist, Remote Work Agreement Template, and the content on this page.
If you’re applying to work remotely, use the Remote Work Application Template. Your request to work remotely must be approved by your supervisor, and your deputy head.
Types of Remote Work Arrangements
Consider the type of work arrangement you would like to request. There are four different types that an employee can apply for:
- Full-time Remote Work is a work arrangement that allows an employee to perform their job duties away from their Designated Workplace for their entire work week.
- Hybrid Remote Work is a work arrangement that allows an employee to perform their job duties away from their Designated Workplace for part of their work week on a specific schedule, with the remainder of the work week spent at the Designated Workplace.
- Long-Distance Remote Work is a work arrangement that allows an employee to perform their job duties at a singular work location within the NWT, or within the NWT and Nunavut for employees of the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC), that is outside of the community where their Designated Workplace is located.
- Out-of-Territory Remote Work is a work arrangement that allows an employee to perform their job duties away from their Designated Workplace, at a location within Canada that is outside of the jurisdiction of the NWT, or for WSCC employees, outside of the NWT and Nunavut.
- Informal Remote Work is a work arrangement not exceeding 21 business days in duration and for which the schedule of remote work is irregular. Where a remote work arrangement exceeds 21 business days in duration, or where a regular schedule of remote work is established (e.g., an employee working remotely for Monday of each week and at their designated workplace for the remainder of each week), the Remote Work Policy is applicable.
If you are considering Remote Work, it is important to understand that it is not an appropriate work arrangement for everyone. There are many important factors to consider before approaching your supervisor about a Remote Work Arrangement. Operational needs, your past performance, and the suitability of your position to Remote Work will all impact whether your application will be approved.
Be sure to consider the financial, social, and professional impacts a Remote Work Agreement will have before completing an application. You should also familiarize yourself with the Remote Work policy and guidelines.
Remote work arrangements must not cause additional costs for the GNWT. It is important for employees to consider the financial costs of working from their Designated Workplace. This may include:
- Responsibility for any service charges for the Remote Work Site including phone line and Internet (email), as well as the cost of any home utilities, and any renovation costs associated with the Remote Work Site.
- Responsibility for purchasing office furniture for the Remote Work Site.
- Employees will be responsible for all assets belonging to the employer and will be responsible for the replacement value of those assets that cannot be accounted for at the termination of the Remote Work arrangement.
- Reduced cost of commuting to the workplace.
- Additional tax-deductible expenses.
- Savings gained through flexible working hours.
- Responsibility for ensuring appropriate insurance coverage for the Remote Work Site.
- Remote work can lead to feelings of isolation, especially in cases of full-time remote work. Consider if you are comfortable working alone in your Designated Workplace.
- Employees may need to make extra effort to maintain communication and a good working relationship with colleagues.
Employees are expected to maintain the same or improved level of productivity and work quality while working remotely.
- It is important that the work arrangement is compatible with an employee’s working style. Are you able to work independently with minimal supervision? Are you reliable, responsible, and flexible?
- Ability to carry out the full responsibilities of your job description.
- Ability to maintain work contacts and professional networks.
- Suitability of position to remote work.
- Responsibility for troubleshooting technology issues with minimal or remote support.
Tips for approaching your manager about Remote Work
Before you meet with your manager to discuss working remotely, take time to consider the type of work arrangement you are requesting. It is also important to:
- Review the Remote Work Policy and Guidelines to ensure that you are aware of the requirements and your responsibilities as an employee.
- Review the considerations above before you make your decision. Consider how you will approach issues that may arise.
- Prepare for the meeting in advance – have a clear idea of the type of Remote Work agreement you are requesting.
- Give your supervisor ample notice for your meeting request.
- Be open to discussing alternative options to your request. This might include a Hybrid Remote Work agreement instead of Full-time Remote Work.
If you are approved to work remotely, there are further things to consider as you begin your new routine.
Health and Safety Considerations
- Employees are responsible for following safe work habits and must inform their employer of any accidents that occur at the Remote Work Site immediately.
- Responsibility for maintaining a clean office space that is in compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety.
- Completion of regular Remote Worksite Health and Safety Inspections and submit them to their supervisor for review.
- Employees should consider how they will remain engaged in workplace culture and maintain relationships with colleagues while working remotely.
- Completion of appropriate Health, Safety and Wellness training prior to the start of Remote Work.
Performance Management Considerations
- Consider how you will maintain communication with your colleagues and supervisor.
- If out-of-territory work is approved, consider how you will manage a potential time difference.
- How will you achieve performance and learning goals?
- Responsibility for setting up workstations, including necessary technology.
- Employees are responsible for troubleshooting basic computer issues themselves, or with minimal support.
- An employee may be required to bring their electronic device to a government location for service.
- Responsibility for maintaining confidentiality and security of sensitive information.
Mental Health and Wellness
Working remotely can lead to feelings of isolation. It is important to maintain social and workplace connections. The GNWT offers resources to help manage mental health and well-being.
Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)
Professionally trained counselors are available to provide confidential help 24/7 to employees who are struggling with the stress and anxiety caused by reports of COVID-19. EFAP can connect you with resources to assist with emotional concerns such as stress and anxiety, as well as financial and family matters and other issues that may occur during this time.
- individual support for managing stress and anxiety (discussing your concerns with a professional and getting relaxation or coping strategies);
- how to support and have conversations with your family, including young children who may be upset by the influx of news regarding COVID-19; and
- speaking with a financial consultant regarding planning for an emergency fund or concerns about your retirement plan.
Through EFAP, employees can also access free webinars, and information and tips.
LifeSpeak is a 24/7, total well-being platform where GNWT employees and their families can access expert information, and videos on a wide range of topics including managing anxiety, social distancing, and managing finances.
AbilitiCBT is a confidential mental health and well-being support program with virtual support from a dedicated therapist for employees. This program addresses anxiety symptoms related to the uniquely challenging aspects of this current pandemic, which could include: uncertainty, isolation, caring for family and community members, information overload and stress management.