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Frequently Asked Questions Telework

  • Yes. OPM provides interactive, online telework training courses for both managers and employees, free of charge. Training for managers is also available through OPM’s Eastern and Western Management Development Centers.  Details on the Development Centers and course schedules can be found at www.leadership.opm.gov.
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  • The official definition of "telework" can be found in the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 (the Act): "[t]he term 'telework' or 'teleworking' refers to a work flexibility arrangement under which an employee performs the duties and responsibilities of such employee's position, and other authorized activities, from an approved worksite other than the location from which the employee would otherwise work." In practice, "telework" is a work arrangement that allows an employee to perform work, during any part of regular, paid hours, at an approved alternative worksite (e.g., home, telework center).  This definition of telework includes what is generally referred to as remote work but does not include any part of work done while on official travel or mobile work. You may also be familiar with the terms "telecommuting" and "flexible workplace" and both are sometimes used to describe what we now generally refer to as "telework."  While "remote" and "mobile" work are also terms that are sometimes used as synonyms for telework, they tend to operate differently than telework as is apparent in the detailed operational definition.  For consistency, OPM recommends that all agencies use the term "telework" for reporting purposes and for all other activities related to policy and legislation, as defined in the Act.
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  • The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 (Act) requires that each Executive agency designate a Telework Managing Officer (TMO). Before the law was passed, most agencies fulfilled the day-to-day operational aspects of telework through a telework coordinator (with telework coordinators at the subagency level). The telework coordinator served as the key contact for policy and program questions. Many coordinators, however, had telework as a collateral responsibility without much authority or contact with senior leaders. The Act requires the TMO to assume these duties as the main agency official on telework matters. The TMO is a senior official of the agency, established within the office of the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO), or its equivalent, and who has direct access to the head of the agency. Note that he or she does not need to be the CHCO. The important thing is that the position be given direct access to the head of the agency. We believe it is the intent of this legislation that the TMO be a strategic thinker and planner who will help the agency incorporate telework in a way that makes good business sense. The TMO is responsible for policy development and implementation related to telework programs; serves as an advisor to agency leadership; and is the primary point of contact with OPM on telework matters. In addition to making telework an integral way of doing business in the agency, the TMO will be responsible for helping with the development of goals and metrics in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. In designating a TMO, agencies should look for the same leadership competencies and high standards they would consider in selecting for any leadership position.
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  • First and foremost, be professional. Try to find out why you were turned down and see if there is anything you can do to change or address the factors that resulted in your request being denied as suggested above. Second, do not get discouraged.  Even though telework is not new to the Federal Government, the culture change necessary to support telework uniformly across agencies does take time. Third, be persistent, but not at the risk of annoying your manager. Fourth, consider speaking with your agency telework coordinator. Finally, stay informed and look for opportunities to network with other teleworkers within your agency.
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  • Subject to the limitations specifically described in the Act, the agency eligibility requirements and any applicable collective bargaining agreements, the law applies to all Federal Executive agency employees, regardless of geographic location. In the definitions section of the Act (Sec. 6501), the law refers to 5 USC 2105 for the meaning of the term "employee." You may look up this citation at the following link: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/uscode. If your agency is considered to be an Executive agency and if all of your employees fall within the definition in 5 USC 2105, the law applies, regardless of the location of any given employee's permanent duty station.
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  • Yes. OPM provides web-based employee training modules, in accordance with the requirements of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010.   Agencies may offer additional training or require additional training. Check with your agency telework coordinator or Telework Managing Officer to find out about any training your agency may offer.
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