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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 07, 2004
Contact: Brendan LaCivita
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Co-hosts Telework Coordinators' Training Seminar

Seminar focuses on telework as component of agencies' emergency preparedness and continuity of operations efforts as well as annual survey

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) yesterday co-hosted with its telework partner, the General Services Administration (GSA), a training seminar for federal telework coordinators. The seminar provided an open forum for discussion on the latest telework initiatives, emergency preparedness and continuity of operations planning within federal agencies, and the annual survey on telework use.

"Telework is a crucial component of an agency's emergency preparedness and continuity of operations plans," stated OPM Director Kay Coles James. "We must ensure agencies consider all telework options as they continue to update and improve their emergency plans."

The annual telework survey, issued by OPM, soon will be available for agency data input on a special website, and agencies have been given until January 31, 2005 to complete it. Although the survey focuses on agencies' emergency preparedness, many of the survey's questions have remained the same so that OPM is able to compare agencies' data. In the past, OPM has asked for fiscal year data, but now will ask for 2004 calendar year data. Agencies' input should cover their telework activities for the period January through December 2004.

"The annual survey is the perfect mechanism to gauge agencies' use of telework, and it provides insights into what OPM must do to increase telework participation among federal agencies," James said. "President George W. Bush has made it clear that federal agencies are to maintain continuity of operations in the event of an emergency, and telework plays a critical role in that effort."

OPM has been a leader in telework efforts governmentwide. Recently, OPM conducted extensive telework training seminars for federal agencies, including a day-long training conference for telework coordinators and human relations officials that included experiential training with a noted telework expert, policy and technology briefings by OPM staff, intensive sessions with a variety of experts from both the public and private sectors, and special sessions for agencies whose telework participation rates were under two percent.

OPM and the General Services Administration (GSA), OPM's telework partner, have worked closely with other federal agencies and the offices of congressional members to promote telework and educate federal human resources managers and employees on its effectiveness as a human capital tool. Last November, OPM and GSA sponsored a one day "Telework - It Works" training conference to highlight the benefits of teleworking and to dispel perceptions that might act as a barrier.

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Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.


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