By Mike Kruzman /

Livingston County has approved a policy that will allow remote workers to continue telecommuting into the future.

The County is currently under the state’s MIOSHA Rules mandating remote work for certain positions. Recognizing that could end at any point, County Administrator Nathan Burd provided a proposed policy that has, as he called it in a letter to the Board of Commissioners, the future in mind.

During the Board’s Monday meeting, Burd said department heads would be able to determine telework policies for their staff as long as certain conditions are met. That includes structuring the work so that there is no decrease in public service and remote workers must remain accessible during their work schedule. They would be required to stay logged on via Microsoft Teams or other services the County uses, and are bound to the same personnel policies as those working in person. Burd noted that most of their staff cannot work remotely and this would likely only affect a “fairly small percentage” that can.

Burd said it’s a new world out there and he believes Commissioner Brenda Plank was right when she said it will open up a larger pool of talent for when they need it. Burd used the example of finding a budget analyst across the state that they would like to hire, but that the analyst can’t move to Livingston County because of family. Telecommuting would be a viable way to better their chances at securing their and others’ talents in a competitive field.

Burd said he likes to walk around and have conversations with staff, leading him to think a year ago he would have been against a policy like this. Being able to go online and click a button to hold those same discussions is one of the reasons he said that turned him into a convert.

The policy was approved unanimously by the Board, with the understanding that Burd will deliver a report in in November to review how it has gone over the first six months.