Would you like the opportunity to avoid traffic, decrease your commuting costs and work from home? Then perhaps telework is for you! Telework enables employees, like yourself, to work from home, or at a remote center one or more days per week. You will utilize phones, fax, computers, modems, teleconferencing, emails and more, in order to complete your normal duties at your home or remote location. With a flexible arrangement and supervisory approval, an agreement can be formulated between you and your supervisor outlining tasks, meeting attendance, goals and objectives and more.
The beauty of telework is that with its flexibility, you can tailor it to you/your organization’s needs to ensure it is a win-win for both parties. Performance can be measured through completed assignments, milestones, meeting participation, and goals and objectives, etc. Telework can reduce stress, increase productivity and foster a more rewarding work-life balance; try it…you’ll be glad you did!
According to telework.gov, “Telework is a work arrangement that allows an employee to perform work, during any part of regular, paid hours, at an approved alternative worksite (e.g., home, telework center). At its core, telework is people doing their work at locations different from where they would normally be doing it.”
Review available telework options and resources  for both employers and employees who are currently engaged in, or interested in pursuing telework as a flexible opportunity. In order to balance individual and mission needs and requirements, OPM provides a wealth of telework information on https://www.telework.gov/  that is searchable, current, and detailed. Individuals can obtain a variety of data; specifically, there are updated reports, like the 2017 Status of Telework in the Federal Government Report, which offers an overview of Federal telework programs and provides updates on the continued telework progress within the Federal Government. Also, organizations like OPM, GSA, GAO and others provide reporting and analysis as part of a comprehensive telework portfolio.
There is an external link for teleworking and dependent care guidance provided by Human Resource Directors with a focus on the ability to telework as a flexible opportunity for those caring for others, such as children or adult dependents. Telework can provide these individuals with the ability for them to respond to critical health, well-being and/or daily living activities for their loved ones, while meeting mission requirements and individual work needs. The Telework Enhancement Act link on the site provides information specific to employees with disabilities who wish to telework; both from an employer and employee perspective.
OPM’s site even provides a sample “request” for telework for those employees seeking this opportunity with their employers. Since managerial approval is a requirement, a brief, written proposal  can provide a business case for telework if done correctly. The proposal should include an explanation of why you want to telework, the benefits to the organization and yourself, and specific job responsibilities that will be performed while on telework. Additionally, skills, knowledge and abilities should be discussed that will support independence, good communication, as well as organization and planning. Along with an explanation of the home office or environment describing where and how the work will be performed, equipment should also be addressed. A clear, flexible schedule with milestones and deadlines will round out the request and show initiative; perhaps offering a trial period (one day a pay period) to start will offer an opportunity for your employer to “evaluate” the arrangement before agreeing to a commitment.
Best practices for agencies along with a myriad of success stories throughout the federal government and private sectors offer insight into impact, cost savings, retention and more. A variety of guidance and legislation involving telework is also provided on OPM’s telework site to include: pay and leave, performance management, security and IT, agency roles and more.
Finally, federal resources such as announcements, training courses, samples, newsletters and articles serve as reference tools and working aids for those interested in participating in telework, and for those who want to expand upon their original success with this option. Recommendations on work schedules, performance management documentation as well as communication options are discussed on the site as part of a holistic and successful telework program. Training programs, coursework, webcasts and more round out the network of resources provided in this one location.
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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.
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