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GPO: Remote work made permanent

The Government Publishing Office is a storied place. Founded in 1860, and formerly known as the Government Printing Office in keeping with its once-exclusively paper product focus, the GPO employees over 1,900 federal employees. 

The GPO’s offices and physical plant, too, are famous—headquartered in a beautiful and iconic red brick structure not far from Union Station in Washington, D.C. 

But soon that building—once humming with layout and print machinery experts doing tasks now mostly accomplished electronically, and already far below its old peak of over 8,000 employees—will see more spare space in the coming year, it seems. 

GPO, like other agencies, kicked off a remote work boom at the start of the COVID pandemic, emptying many areas of its operations. Now, having determined that with telework productivity actually went up overall, the agency is making most of the remote work permanent. 

“The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) is implementing 100 percent telework and remote work options for eligible teammates,” an agency release says. “The new policy comes after the success of maximum teleworking during to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.” 

The agency made it clear that paper printing and associated in-person operations still done by GPO would remain on-site and in-house. “GPO production staff remain working 100 percent of the time at agency facilities,” the agency stated. This crew includes staff who produce documents such as the Congressional Record, Federal Register, U.S. passports, as well as “other information products” for the White House, Congress and other agencies. But where it is advantageous for the agencies and eligible employees, remote work can continue and be made permanent—and, now, if desired (and approved by supervisors) such employees can move to areas well outside of the D.C. area. 

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, GPO productivity levels increased, proving that both telework and remote work are successful for GPO,” said GPO Director Hugh Nathanial Halpern. “This new policy is the most ground-breaking change to GPO operations since we started putting Government information online in the 1990s.”

“It is a win for both GPO and our teammates, and I am thrilled that we can modernize the way we work,” Hapern concluded. 

Reader comments

Thu, Jul 22, 2021

To "I wish ... " more agencies will be doing this. Because it's simply cheaper to manage any growth with remote work. Also, it's going to be needed to recruit newer employees, now that the pandemic has hugely grown the pool of teleworkers.

Tue, Jul 20, 2021 DC

I wish my agency would do this. They're trying to get back to normal operations before the pandemic. Less telework.

Tue, Jul 20, 2021

How will government reimburse employees for office equipment, office space, and internet access, etc.?

Tue, Jul 20, 2021 George

Printers no more I guess. So much for the Guttenburg press. For now some folks use paper. But a generation down the road, or less? Doubt it.To some of us that's sad and there are some security issues online hey.

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2021 Digital Almanac

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