The vast majority of agencies have adopted telework as a critical component of their agency Continuity of Operations (COOP). Use of telework in this capacity will enable our Federal orgnaizations to continue functioning through hazardous weather, pandemic, physical attacks, or any other event that would result in the closure of Government buildings.
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.”
The Telework Enhancement Act states that “each Executive agency shall incorporate telework into the continuity of operations plan of that agency.” Incorporating telework into COOP planning ensures agencies identify how organization’s personnel will 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. Requirements for organizations as it relates to incorporating telework into an agency’s COOP plans are found in Annex G of FCD 1.
Managers have an important role to play in an agency’s emergency planning procedure. Specifically, manager responsibilities include:
- Understand the agency's emergency plans (continuity plan, pandemic plan, etc.) and management roles in executing the plan;
- Implement telework to the greatest extent possible so systems are in place to support successful telework in an emergency;
- Notify employees designated as emergency personnel for a continuity or pandemic event;
- Communicate expectations to both emergency and non-emergency employees regarding their roles and responsibilities in an emergency;
- Establish communication processes to notify emergency employees and non-emergency employees of the activation of the agency’s emergency plan and the agency operating status during the emergency;
- Integrate emergency expectations into telework agreements as appropriate;
- Determine how employees who telework will communicate with one another and with management to accomplish work;
- Determine how time and attendance will be maintained; and
- Allow personnel who might telework in case of an emergency to telework regularly to ensure functionality.
For information on the Washington, DC, Area Dismissal and Closure Procedures, visit Agency Closure.