INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
The Federal Government is a leader in the use of innovative workplace flexibilities, includingtelework. In March 2010, President Obama hosted aWhite House Forumon flexibilities,emphasizing their vital role in recruiting and retaining the best and brightest workers and maximizingtheir effectiveness. Congress passed the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 to catalyze expansion.Federal telework programs are established primarily to meet agency mission and operational needs.Telework saves money by helping government reduce real estate and energy costs and promotemanagement efficiencies; makes us more resilient in severe weather and other emergencies; improvesthe quality of employee work-life; and increases employment opportunities for persons withdisabilities.Advances in information technology have paved the way for increased telework. However,telework is not a new concept and is not necessarily dependent on the use of technology. The keyis for managers and employees to clearly define the work expectations and objectives, and then togive employees the tools and flexibility needed to get the job done.This
Guide to Telework in the Federal Government
outlines practical information to assist Federalagencies, managers, supervisors, Telework ManagingOfficers
, other staff responsible forimplementing telework, and employees. Perhaps you are an employee who would like to know moreabout telework. Maybe you manage or supervise teleworking staff and hope to develop a betterunderstanding of the day-to-day aspects of this important flexibility. You may be a Telework Managing Officer or another staff member tasked with oversight or operational responsibilitiesrelated to the telework program at your agency. Perhaps you are a labor representative with a need toknow the finer points of a great telework program. If any of these describe your situation, then this
is for you.
For many years, laws addressing telework (under various names – “work at home,” “flexible work,”“telecommuting,” etc.) have been in effect for Federal employees. The initial legislative mandatefor telework was established in 2000(§ 359 of Public Law 106-346). This law states that “[e]achexecutive agency shall establish a policy under which eligible employees of the agency mayparticipate in telecommuting to the maximum extent possible without diminished employeeperformance.” Associated language in the conference report for this legislation expanded on thatrequirement where it said that “[e]ach agency participating in the program shall develop criteria tobe used in implementing such a policy and ensure that managerial, logistical, organizational, orother barriers to full implementation and successful functioning of the policy are removed. Eachagency should also provide for adequate administrative, human resources, technical, and logisticalsupport for carrying out the policy.”