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Washington, DC - Today marks the six month deadline for initial implementation of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 (Act), which is designed to improve government services and increase efficiency by enhancing telework programs across the government. Telework can improve continuity of operations in emergency situations, increase management efficiencies and raise employee job satisfaction and retention. Telework is work performed primarily on computers linked to other locations, particularly from home or a remote location.
Among the many improvements, the Act establishes Telework Managing Officers (TMOs) to help transform telework from a human resources level benefit to a high priority strategic management tool. The Act requires the TMOs to be senior officials with the authority to push the strategic use of telework governmentwide thereby optimizing performance and meeting critical goals. "Together with federal agencies, we have made great progress on telework implementation in the past six months. Agencies should be commended for their hard work, which will lead to better service to the taxpayers at lower cost," said OPM Director John Berry. "We are learning how to best use telework for our many different types of missions and work environments and spreading those lessons from agency to agency."
OPM is providing comprehensive support to agencies and TMOs:
· Held a Telework Management Forum, marking the first meeting of the new governmentwide TMOs. The Forum was an opportunity for the telework community to interact with a panel of experienced leaders from agencies with successful telework programs.
· Experts in OPM's Office of Work/Life/Wellness are holding regular informal evaluations with individual agencies to answer questions and provide support, as well as issuing monthly guidance and updates governmentwide.
· Completely revamped the Guide to Telework in the Federal Government to help agencies comply with the Act. This helps fulfill OPM's implementation responsibility required by the Actto provide policy support to Federal agencies on telework.
· Issued the annual Status of Telework report to Congress, which analyzed multiple data streams to provide important baseline information about telework in the federal government. It showed that both employee interest in telework and the use of telework are increasing.
"Like other agencies, all of us at OPM are focused on successful outcomes," says Justin Johnson, OPM Deputy Chief of Staff, "and this law requires agencies to revamp their policies and notify all employees of their telework eligibility, so that we can increase continuity, productivity and employee satisfaction."In December 2010, OPM encouraged agencies to allow employees to use unscheduled telework when unscheduled leave had previously been offered during poor weather events or other unforeseen circumstances such as the recent power outage. Now that agencies have revised their telework policies, unscheduled telework should become more widespread and continuity of operations further enhanced.
By the close of business today all federal employees should be notified of whether they qualify for telework. Over the coming weeks, telework-eligible employees and their supervisors will then determine what kind of telework is best for their mission, varying from occasional to entirely mobile. To prepare for these discussions, agencies were directed by the Act to ensure their telework policies were updated and accurate so that the status of all employees could be easily determined.
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.