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Washington, DC - U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Deputy Associate Director Daniel Green testified before the House Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce and Agency Organization on the importance of telework, particularly during emergency situations. OPM is responsible for the overall management and oversight of the federal government's telework program.
"OPM continues to work with federal agencies to support their efforts to implement telework to the broadest extent possible, especially in light of the need for effective Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plans, and the possibility of a pandemic flu epidemic," said Green. "OPM staff members have provided agencies with individualized guidance and technical support through on-site visits, as well as providing one-on-one consultation to agency telework coordinators on an ongoing, as-needed basis."
COOP and pandemic health crisis planning have continued to increase the interest in telework. In response to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for COOP and by the President's National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan, OPM is updating its telework guidance. The guidance will include information about emergency planning and it will add modules to the existing online telework training courses for managers and employees. In addition, OPM is substantially revising the telework guide that resides on the Interagency Telework Website.
"The recent flooding in downtown DC highlighted the need for agencies to integrate telework into their COOP planning," said Green. "In addition to relocating employees to alternate worksites, the affected agencies granted home-based telework."
Future activities OPM plans to take to improve the telework program include redesigning the interagency telework website, continuing agency visits, and holding agency telework coordinator meetings to address developing issues and questions. OPM also will develop classroom-style sessions for managers and supervisors that will be offered to all agencies, and interactive web-based courses ("webinars") facilitated by a telework expert.
In closing, Green said: "Telework is not new, or mysterious, or difficult. It is simply a way of getting work done that uses the same kinds of technologies that enable work to be achieved in an agency office. However, it is not a panacea for all our ills - it is one piece of a much broader approach to emergency and other unusual situations. Telework is an effective tool to support federal employees in balancing their work and life and help federal agencies meet their performance objectives."
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.