HR org: Fed agencies keep up the telework, post-pandemic

The federal government will maintain a high rate of telework, even as the country moves past the worst of the pandemic emergency—and a new report from the top human resources professional association outlines some of the implications. 

The report, from the Society for Human Resource Management, draws from a number of sources for perspective on the civil service’s “new normal.” The SHRM piece offers insights from government agencies, job websites, nonprofits and other informed observers. 

On June 10, as the piece notes, the White House released a memo confirming agencies are permitted to give employees a continuation of flexible work schedules, despite the majority of the country being vaccinated and—according to the nation’s health authorities—the danger of contracting COVID in workplaces receding in most areas. 

Why the new willingness on telework? In short, employee feedback and data from agencies shows that with increased remote work both morale and productivity have been maintained. And a fair bit of data—though recent—is there. After all, most feds have worked remotely for a long stretch, since the pandemic hit in March of last year. 

Still, the new federal workplace return-to-work guidelines also end mandatory in-person occupancy controls in most traditional workplaces—opening the door to a full-on return to the office. Yet, at the same time, the guidelines are embracing the data and the emerging work culture: They not only allow it, they encourage a continuation and growth of telework. So, for now at least, the norm will be more telework, not less.

Reader comments

Sun, Jun 20, 2021

For positions that require an office presence, sure the need for on site work cannot be argued. But for all other positions, after teleworking for a year and a half, employees should be given the option to stay remote. I expect my pay to be reduced if I never have to go into the office.

Thu, Jun 17, 2021

Glad the federal govt is getting the recognition across management geniuses, like it should, for going heavy on telework.

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