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Telework gives employees more flexibility in meeting personal and professional responsibilities; it can offer freedom from office distractions, reduced work/life stress, and an alternative worksite setup that can be used in case of emergency.
If you are interested in teleworking, or already telework but want to ensure that you become a more effective teleworker, here are the key steps to success:
All agencies must designate a Telework Managing Officer (TMO), who is the agency's primary contact for policy and program questions. TMOs will often work with a telework coordinator on the day-to-day operational aspects of telework. Employees should maintain frequent contact with their telework coordinator to be sure that they follow policy and procedures, and for support and assistance should it be needed.
As detailed in the legislation, all agencies must have a telework policy. Employees should familiarize themselves with this policy and any relevant procedures and collective bargaining agreements to ensure that they are in compliance with their requirements.
The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 (PL 111-292) requires that an employee successfully complete telework training before s/he can telework. The Office of Personnel Management offers online teleworker training. In addition, many agencies offer their own training as part of the telework policy and procedures. Information about any agency-based training is available from the telework coordinator.
Information technology security training is mandatory at the agency level, and teleworkers must complete this training and understand their responsibilities in safeguarding work-related information.
A good telework arrangement starts with a good self assessment. Employees should consider the following factors in making an honest determination about their telework capabilities:
No matter how frequently or infrequently an employee intends to telework, the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 (PL 111-292) requires that a written agreement be negotiated between the employee and manager. Elements of this agreement should include:
The manager and teleworker should work together to periodically evaluate the arrangement, make changes to the agreement as necessary, and re-sign the document.
Employees must take responsibility for the security of the data and other information that they handle while teleworking. This means they should:
Employees who are teleworking should assess the portability of their work and the level of technology available at the remote site as they prepare to telework. In many cases, employees will need to plan for their telework days in order to be as effective as possible, considering the following questions:
Although managers are ultimately responsible for the healthy functioning of the workgroup, teleworkers must help manage the group's expectations and their own communication in order to avoid any negative impact of their arrangement.
Issues that should be addressed include: