woman teleworking (Creative Lab/Shutterstock.com)

Far-reaching federal telework to be made permanent

Last March, to protect feds from COVID, the Office of Personnel Management issued guidance directing agencies to ensure that “as many employees as possible” could telework. And in the year-plus since, the vast majority of feds have indeed worked remotely.

Vaccination and fast-falling numbers of coronavirus cases in recent weeks are bringing pressure from management and some in political Washington to order employees back to brick-and-mortar workplaces.

The back-to-the-office push, as soon as COVID’s ravages abated, was anticipated. But in a surprise move, the administration is instead signaling it wants widespread telework to remain in force as the “new normal,” according to a new report in the Washington Post.

Why? According to the report, it’s a combination of statistics showing feds—prior to the pandemic—had fallen far behind the times compared with private industry in telework, as well as the practice’s popularity among a workforce that suffered excessive criticism under the previous administration and could use a morale boost.


Reader comments

Mon, Jun 14, 2021 Arlington, VA

Not all federal employees work in federally owned buildings. Now that we know telework works, it is a waste of public tax dollars to pay for renting privately owned buildings for fed employees to work in. This should be the FIRST in line most wasteful cost that should be eliminated by a move toward fully remote work in such offices.

Sun, Jun 13, 2021 Arlington, VA

Now that we know telework is fully functional, it is a waste of public tax dollars to continue pay exorbitant DC area rents to the privately owned buildings that house employees. All buildings federal employees work in are not owned by the federal government and are a waste of public tax dollars especially the DC area where a large portion of the fed jobs are. Maybe in small remote towns the cost to the public is not so bad.

Thu, Jun 10, 2021

Government needs to help grow the economy, which doesn’t happen when workers stay home. Commercial real estate, construction, service industries, transportation, and cities all decline.

Wed, Jun 9, 2021

Hopefully telework will continue full-time. I don't see the sense in a hybrid model. We're in a win-win situation right now. People are going to leave for the private sector if they're forced back in.

Tue, Jun 8, 2021 Alexandria, Virginia

People with a doctorate level of education (Ph.D, juris doctorate, etc.) have the level of responsibility to telework permanently and all agencies should assign fully remote permanent work based on either that or working at your direct agency for 15 years or more to aid in retention of internal skills which is a win win in keeping dedicated knowledgeable employees and advanced skill levels. A demonstrated level of dedication and skill criteria that aids in retention either way. Those who do not meet the criteria get a day or so a week to retain telework capability either way and gives them something to work for.

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