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Telework FAQs

Managers

  • No. In fact, the Act does not define what is meant by the term "interactive," thereby leaving it subject to interpretation. OPM has always considered the "Telework 101" training on Telework.gov (and therefore, online) to meet the definition of "interactive" in that there is a built-in opportunity for the trainee to self-assess his/her understanding through the use of frequent questions and answers and progress checks throughout. For this reason, we maintain that the training currently on Telework.gov meets the requirement of the law. In 2011, OPM engaged a vendor to enhance this training in a number of ways, including both substance and format. This is being accomplished keeping in mind improved "interactivity" through the selective use of media tools that will make the training more engaging for employees. However, OPM's interpretation is that there is no requirement that this training be instructor-led as compared to computer or  Internet-based.
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  • A successful telework program can improve organizational efficiency, raise the quality and quantity of work, boost employee morale and job satisfaction, and lower your employee turnover rate.  In addition, the enhanced communication that a telework program fosters can further develop your own skills as a manager.
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  • The General Services Administration (GSA) provides guidelines for implementing and operating telework and other alternative workplace programs through the efficient and effective use of information technology and telecommunication.  Additionally, GSA provides basic recommendations for the equipment and support that an agency may provide teleworkers.  For more information, go to the GSA Guidelines for Alternative Workplace Arrangements.  For more information about your agency equipment policy for telework, please consult your agency telework policy or telework coordinator.
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  • It is important to note that performance standards for teleworking employees must be the same as performance standards for non-teleworking employees. Management expectations for performance should be clearly addressed in the employee's performance plan, and the performance plan should be reviewed to ensure the standards do not create inequities or inconsistencies between teleworking and non-teleworking employees. Like non-teleworking employees, teleworkers are held accountable for the results they produce. Good performance management techniques practiced by the manager will mean a smoother, easier transition to a telework environment.
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  • Sometimes teleworking does not work.  If a teleworker's quality of work declines, treat it as you would any performance issue.  Review the telework agreement and give your employees a chance to improve.  Your telework agreement should include a clause stating that either the manager or the employee can cancel the telework agreement for operational or performance issues.
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  • Yes, OPM offers a Governmentwide telework training program for managers on our website.  Additionally, individual agencies have the option of offering their own on-line or classroom based telework training tailored to their organizations.  In addition to the training for managers offered on our website, there is also specialized training available through OPM's Eastern and Western Management Development Centers. Details on the Development Centers and course schedules can be found at the Center for Leadership Development's website.
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  • This is a common myth, but implemented properly, a telework program should not cause any extra work for non-teleworkers.  Teleworking and non-teleworking employees must understand expectations regarding telework arrangements including coverage, communications and responsibilities.  Also, managers should avoid distributing work based on “availability” by physical presence to avoid unfairly burdening coworkers who do not telework. Keep in mind good performance management practices are essential for telework to be effective and equitable.  For more guidance on performance management, please see OPM's Performance Management page.
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  • There should be no significant difference between managing the performance of a teleworker and managing the employee who works in the office.  Each employee should be appraised against his or her performance standard(s), despite location.
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  • According to the law, among other responsibilities, the TMO "shall be devoted to policy development and implementation related to agency telework programs" and is to "serve as an advisor for agency leadership, including the Chief Human Capital Officer" and is to be "a resource for managers and employees." Since the intent of the Act is to encourage the maximum use of telework by Federal employees, given the duties described in the law, it would be appropriate for the TMO to advise agency management and leadership about the feasibility of denying telework participation to employees in an office. Of course, situations will vary and the TMO will need to take into account all of the facts that went into such a decision as well as potential opportunities for a synergistic approach to telework given the circumstances.
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  • Yes. OPM provides interactive, online telework training courses for both managers and employees, free of charge. Training for managers is also available through OPM’s Eastern and Western Management Development Centers.  Details on the Development Centers and course schedules can be found at OPM's Center for Leadership Development page.
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  • Although the Telework Enhancement Act requires every Executive agency to establish and implement a policy to authorize employees to telework, it is important to remember that eligibility criterion is established at the agency level based on mission and operational needs. Also, even though eligibility is established at the agency level subject to the requirements of the Act and collective bargaining agreements, the final decision is still subject to manager approval. So to obtain that approval to telework you may want to follow the following steps:
    • Familiarize yourself with your agency’s telework policies and procedures.
    • Schedule a meeting with your manager to show you are serious about teleworking.  
    • Make the request.  Remember an employee may request a telework arrangement either verbally or in writing.  However, by submitting a written application along with a written proposal can serve as a guide and an organizational tool for your discussion with your manager.
    Think like a manager, in particular, your manager:
    • Focus on the nuts and bolts of your telework arrangement, such as how things will be done or how communication will occur.
    • In some cases it may be better to explain how it will benefit the agency/organization more than how it will benefit you.
    • Focus on telework’s positive effects on your work responsibilities.
    • Be flexible about your proposed telework arrangement.
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  • OPM provides a list of agency telework coordinators.  If you are still unsuccessful or you are trying to find your TMO, please contact your agency HR Department.
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  • No.  Both a performance rating and a rating of record involve the evaluation of an employee's performance against all the elements and standards in the performance plan.  At any time during the appraisal period, a manager can make the determination that an employee's performance is unacceptable on one or more critical elements.  This determination is sufficient to begin the process that could lead to a performance-based action if the employee's performance fails to improve to an acceptable level.
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  • For information about your agency’s telework policy you should first start with your agency telework coordinator.  If you are still unsuccessful, please contact your agency HR Department.
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  • The answer depends upon the intended use of the checklist.  If the checklist is used solely for program purposes, such as acquainting the teleworker with workplace safety, then the agency may require employees to sign such a checklist to participate in telework.  However, if the checklist is intended to have legal standing for safety and/or liability purposes, then the answer is no. For more information, please refer to GSA's Guidelines for Alternative Workplace Arrangements.  For more information about your agency equipment policy for telework, please consult your agency telework policy or telework coordinator.
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Total Count: 63, Number of Pages: 5, Page: 4