Working at Waterloo

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Building status and on-campus work

Due to the Government of Ontario's stay-at-home orders, most campus buildings are now locked. Please refer to our campus access page for details on which buildings remain open and the process for approving on-campus work.

Employees who are able to work from home must do so. Employees that need to work on campus must be approved to return to campus as part of their department’s Return to Campus Plan.

Contractor and service provider requirements

A procedure to manage COVID-19 health and safety requirements for the return of contractors and service providers on campus has been developed and is the responsibility of the hiring department to manage.

Please note that all Design & Construction projects (Works Requests) will be managed directly by Plant Operations – Design & Construction. This process applies to all other contractors and service providers accessing campus, with the exception of delivery-only services.

Parking fees

During this period of extreme disruption to our normal way of life, we suspended parking fees.

You do not need to take any action. Payroll services will not deduct parking fees from your pay while they are suspended.

Moving forward we will review this decision on a month-by-month basis.

Tips for staying healthy while working at home

The following tips for staying healthy while working at home have been provided by the University's Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider, Homewood Health:

  • Create or continue your routines: Create or maintain your daily routine in preparation for your workday, establish a wake-up time and a routine to support a normal working day.
  • Create a dedicated space for work: Select an area of your home that provides you with a suitable workspace, think about surface space and room to stretch. Avoid your bedroom or high traffic zones.
  • Think about natural light: Helping to maintain a positive outlook, natural light plays an important role. Try to find a spot where natural light is available. Keep in mind, backlighting may impact the ability of others to see you when attending video conferencing or meetings.
  • Eating and hydration: Try to maintain healthy eating patterns and stay hydrated. Avoid high sugar snacks and beverages to avoid swings in mood and energy levels.
  • Mental health and wellness: If you start to feel overwhelmed or isolated, remain active and engaged with your personal and professional support networks. Take mental health breaks, avoid watching or reading pandemic headlines and social media postings during your free time. Take care of your body, take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate when possible and ensure you’re getting plenty of sleep.

Information security while working from home

While working from home, employees should remember that the documents and other information they create and use in their work are University records. You must still follow Policy 46 – Information Management and its supporting guidelines as you create, use, store and manage University records at home. This applies to all University records including those containing personal information, which are classified as restricted records.

University information management guidelines particularly relevant to work-from-home include:

The following advice is derived from the above guidelines and addresses issues specific to working from home.

Your working files are confidential university records

As described in the guidance on information confidentiality, you should assume that all information you create and use in your work is confidential unless an information custodian with appropriate authority decides the information is public.

Information security

  • If you take University records – paper or electronic – home from your office, take only the minimum amount of information you need to carry out your job duties. Never leave this information in your car or unattended while in transit.
  • When working with restricted and highly restricted University records, it’s especially important to follow IST’s information security guidance and only use a University-managed laptop with an encrypted hard drive, a University workstation accessed via VPN and remote desktop, or the online Office 365 apps with the required security safeguards.
  • At no time should University records containing personal information or other types of restricted or highly restricted information be saved to your home computer.
  • Always use your work email account, rather than a personal email account (e.g., Gmail) for your work-related email. Before sending an email, verify that you are sending it to the correct recipients – and verify that you are sending the correct attachments to the correct recipients – particularly for email containing personal information.
  • Always store the final versions of documents and other University records in a University system – SharePoint or a University file server, for example. The copies remaining on the computer you’re using at home are then transitory records which you should delete when you no longer need them. 

Paper records and a clean desk

  • Avoid creating paper records in your work at home. Even hand-written notes concerning your work, or preliminary versions of documents which you might normally print for proof-reading, are confidential University records requiring secure storage and secure destruction when you no longer need them.
  • Establish & maintain a “clean desk” routine when you leave your home workspace for any length of time and at the end of the day:
    • If you do have hard-copy University records, don’t leave them sitting out where other people might see them. Store them in a locked drawer or file cabinet.
    • Lock your computer screen if you do not turn off your computer (e.g., in Windows, hold the “Windows” key down and press “L”).

Secure paper shredding at home

  • If you do accumulate paper records in your work, you might reach the point where you’d like to destroy and dispose of them using a paper shredder you have at home. If so, the records and your paper shredder must meet the following conditions:
    • The records should be transitory. If they’re not transitory records, you must keep them until the end of the retention period for the records documented in the University records retention schedules. Contact the University Records Manager for more information & assistance.
    • Your paper shredder should be a cross-cut shredder that shreds at security level P-3 or P-4 of the internationally-recognized DIN 66399 standard (Office machines – Destruction of data carriers).
      • Don’t simply believe the documentation that came with the shredder that it shreds at level P-3 or P-4. You must confirm this by measuring the dimensions of several representative particles/shreds produced by the shredder.
      • Measure the length X width in millimetres of several representative paper particles/shreds.
      • If the length X width is 320 mm2 or less, then the security level is P-3.
      • If the length X width is 160 mmor less and the width of the particles is no more than 6 mm, then the security level is P-4.

Protecting University records containing personal information

For additional guidance on protecting University records containing personal information while working from home, see the Ontario Information & Privacy Commissioner’s Guidelines for Protecting the Privacy and Confidentiality of Personal Information When Working Outside the Office.

Questions or comments about information security?

If you have any questions about the above guidance or if you have other questions about managing University records while working from home, please contact Chris Halonen, the University Records Manager.

If you have additional questions about protecting University records containing personal information, or about our responsibilities under Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy legislation, please contact Kathy Winter, Assistant University Secretary and Privacy Officer.

Additional work from home resources