During the COVID 19 pandemic, federal authorities used telework as a strategy to help them continue their work in difficult circumstances. We have gathered our work on federal telework to provide information that can help agencies improve their telework programs. We reported key practices in 7 categories, including: Performance Management. For example, agencies should ensure that teleworkers… However, an OMB spokesman said on Tuesday that the administration had already given agencies clear and decisive guidance on promoting telework. Ten years later, the Telework Enhancement Act of 20104 was passed, which gives agencies greater flexibility in managing their workforce. The Act “also provides a framework for agencies to better use technology and maximize the use of flexible work systems that help recruit new federal employees, retain valuable talent and enable the federal government to maintain productivity in a variety of situations – including those involving national security and other emergencies.” , said John Berry, Director of OPM, in a December 2010 memorandum.5 , OPM orders agencies to establish a directive allowing staff to be allowed to work telework where possible, without affecting staff performance or agency activity; Determine the eligibility of staff to participate in telework; and informing employees of their ability to telework.6 Continuity of operations – One of the priorities of telework is business planning continuity (COOP), which is an organization`s internal effort to ensure that skills are available to pursue essential functions in an emergency. Directive 67 on the Presidential Decision requires the federal authorities to develop “continuity of operating plans for essential operations” in order to ensure permanent constitutional government and continuity of government operations. Subsequently, many federal authorities began to integrate telework into their COOP programming by making arrangements to entrust the work of homes or telework centres.
The Office of Human Resources And General Service Management has been involved for many years for reasons such as energy and office savings, staff quality and emergency planning of the telework agency, also known as telemutation or flexiplace. We have testified to key practices that agencies should consider when their workers return to work for a long period of time during the COVID 19 pandemic or telework during these and other emergencies. These include continuous communication with staff and consideration of local conditions when making decisions when returning staff to ensure that adequate hygiene materials, such as hand sanitizers, are available… The answer depends on the specific language and requirements of the Agency`s telework policy. The Telework Improvement Act requires each federal agency to incorporate telework into its Business Continuation Plans (COOP). To achieve the objectives of the legislation, many agencies have taken steps to increase the use of telework so that more of their teleworkers can be productive during government shutdowns in response to bad weather, special events and other emergencies. If the Agency`s telework policy requires teleworkers to be required to work during agency closures and this requirement is clearly communicated by the Agency to the worker in the written telework agreement, the worker would be required to work. Ultimately, workers should comply with the guidelines initiated as defined in the Agency`s telework policy. You will find more information in your agency`s telework policy, contact your agency`s telework coordinator or go to your agency`s human resources department.