The vast majority of agencies have adopted telework as a critical component of their agency Continuity of Operations plan (COOP). Use of telework in this capacity will enable our Federal organizations to continue functioning through hazardous weather, pandemic, physical attacks, or any other event that would result in the closure of Government buildings.
Telework & Continuity of Operations
The Telework Enhancement Act states that “each Executive agency shall incorporate telework into the continuity of operations plan of that agency.” Incorporating telework into continuity plans means that these plans identify ways that an organization’s personnel perform the duties and responsibilities necessary to continue the organization’s essential functions during any type of threat or emergency from an approved worksite other than the location from which the employee would otherwise work. The Federal Continuity Directive 1 (FCD 1) defines COOP as “an effort within individual agencies or organizations (e.g. Federal Executive branch organizations) to ensure they can continue to perform their Mission Essential Functions (MEFs) and Primary Mission Essential Functions (PMEFs) during a wide range of emergencies, including localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies.” Requirements for organizations as it relates to incorporating telework into an agency’s continuity plans are found in Annex G of FCD 1.
There is a direct relationship between an agency’s COOP plan and telework. Both programs, telework and COOP, share a basic objective: to perform and maintain agency functions from an alternative location. Telework can help ensure that essential Federal functions continue during emergency situations.
Employees who may be required to work under their agency’s telework policy have an important role in the agency’s emergency planning procedures. Some of those responsibilities may include:
- Maintain a current telework agreement detailing any emergency telework responsibilities specified for a continuity and/or pandemic event, as appropriate
- Practice telework regularly to ensure effectiveness
- Be familiar with the agency's emergency plans (continuity plan, pandemic plan, etc.) and your manager's expectations for how you will telework during such events
- Be flexible; be willing to perform all duties assigned to you by management even if they are outside your usual or customary duties.
For information on the Washington, DC, Area Dismissal and Closure Procedures, visit Agency Closure.