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Frequently Asked Questions Telework

Manager

  • Subject to the agency’s telework policy and operational needs of the organization, there is no restriction on how much flexibility may be allowed to teleworkers in this regard.  Since telework eliminates commute time, it may make sense for the teleworker to begin their work day earlier then they would otherwise.  However, the amount of flexibility will be determined by agency policy, collective bargaining agreements, and the business needs of the organization.
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  • Yes.  There is no Governmentwide restriction on teleworkers following alternative work schedules. However, individual agency policies may restrict the combination of telework and other flexibilities, so managers and employees should discuss this issue with their telework coordinator or Telework Managing Officer.
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  • Effective performance management is the same whether or not an employee teleworks. Managers should measure employee performance by results, not physical presence. Go to www.opm.gov/perform for guidelines on good performance management techniques.
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  •  Yes.  In fact, best practices in telework support this.  Managers and supervisors are encouraged to promote a positive telework culture in their agencies by modeling participation in the telework program.  As with any position, whether or not telework is feasible – and what kind of telework (how frequent, how regular, etc.) is most appropriate – is dependent on the business needs of the organization.  See your agency telework policy for details and any restrictions.
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  • No. Subject to agency telework policies, procedures, and any applicable collective bargaining agreements, management decides whether or not an employee may be permitted to telework.  A decision will depend on several factors such as whether or not the duties of the position are suitable for telework, or limitations based on certain types of disciplinary action as defined in the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010.   In addition, management has the right to review and end an employee's telework arrangement if it is no longer viable for business-based reasons, for example, if the employee's performance declines or fails to comply with the terms of the written agreement between the agency manager and the teleworking employee.
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  • Individual agencies may have a structured appeals process for telework applications.  Speak with your agency telework coordinator, Telework Managing Officer, or with employee relations staff in Human Resources for details.
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  • Supervisors should not manage the performance of teleworkers any differently than non-teleworking employees. However, telework may require some changes in communication techniques, and managers will need to be mindful of the ways they assign and reward work to ensure they are equitable for onsite and teleworking employees.  The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 requires that teleworkers and nonteleworkers be treated the same for purposes of performance appraisal; training, rewarding, reassigning, promoting, reducing in grade, retaining, and removing employees; work requirements; or other acts involving managerial discretion.
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  • Yes. OPM provides web-based manager training modules, in accordance with the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010. 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.   Check with your agency telework coordinator or Telework Managing Officer to find out about any telework training your agency may offer, as well.
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