Helping job hunters find, apply for, and land government jobs.

 

Telework Job Opportunities with the Federal Government

Working From Home, Remotely, or in a Telework Center

 

 

The Book of U.S. Government Jobs - 11th edition

ORDER ONLINE

Also available at bookstores

Page updated 1/9/2018

Telework can give employees more control over their schedules and flexibility in meeting personal and professional responsibilities. It can offer freedom from office distractions, reduce work-life stress, and provide an alternative workplace arrangement in case of emergencies.

Teleworking From Home

Many federal employees have the opportunity to work at alternative locations including their home. 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).  It is an important tool for achieving a resilient and results-oriented workforce.  At its core, telework is people doing their work at locations different from where they would normally be doing it. 

The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 authorized agencies to offer telework opportunities on a case by case basis as long as agency mission requirements are met and is in the best interest of the agency. 

 

Divider

 

 

Telework participation has continued to increase steadily over time. From 2015 to 2016, telework participation increased from 20 percent to 22 percent of all employees and from 46 to 51 percent of eligible employees. According to the 2017 Telework Annual Report, of the 2,175,370 federal employees, 896,563 were deemed eligible for telework, and of that number 468,631 actually used telework options during 2016.

Telework Menu

 

Overview

Routine telework occurs as part of a previously approved, ongoing, and regular schedule. Situational telework is approved on a case-by-case basis, where the hours worked were not part of a previously approved, ongoing, and regular telework schedule. Situational telework is sometimes also referred to as emergency, episodic, intermittent, unscheduled, or ad-hoc telework.

For fiscal year 2016, agencies reported that 48 percent of teleworkers teleworked on a situational basis, while for routine telework 34 percent teleworked three or more days per two-week period, 26 percent teleworked 1-2 days per two-week period, and 11 percent teleworked no more than once per month.

In the most recent fiscal year 17 percent of teleworkers teleworked 3 or more days per week while 35 percent teleworked 1 or 2 days per week and 14 percent teleworked no more than 1 or 2 days per month. Another 35 percent teleworked infrequently, on an unscheduled or short-term basis.

Federal agencies continue to improve and expand their telework and work from home programs in support of a wide range of valuable outcomes. Telework participation continues to increase as a percentage of both eligible employees and all employees, and situational telework remains the most common form of telework participation.

Self Assessment

A good telework arrangement starts with a through self-assessment. Employees should consider the following factors in making an honest determination about their telework capabilities:

  • Sufficient portable work for the amount of telework proposed
  • Comfort with the technologies, if any, that will be needed to telework
  • Good communication with your manager, co-workers, customers that will enable a relatively seamless transition from onsite to offsite
  • Telework office space that is conducive to getting the work done
  • Dependent care (i.e., child care, elder care, or care of any other dependent adults) arrangements in place
  • Ability to be flexible about the telework arrangement to respond to the needs of the manager, the workgroup, and the work

Additionally, to be a successful teleworker you need to have work habits that support independent task performance. These habits include:

  • Ability to work with minimal direct supervision
  • Organized work practices
  • Good planning skills
  • Ability to meet schedules and deadlines
  • Effective time management skills
  • Effective communication skills
Telework Agreement Sample Additional Information

 

How to Apply For Telework

 

Contact your agency's telework coordinator to determine the procedures that determine how employees apply for a telework. You can find your Telework Coordinator by searching OPM's Telework Contact Tool. In general, employees should be prepared to make a business-based proposal to telework, rather than base the request to telework on personal considerations.

At the very least, in addition to describing logistics like location and frequency, you should be able to discuss how you will accomplish your work without adverse effect on your organization and/or co-workers. While an employee may request a telework arrangement in writing or verbally (depending on the agency’s policy), the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 requires that a written telework agreement between the supervisor and employee be in place before he/she can begin to telework.  This agreement outlines the specifics of the telework arrangement (e.g., location of telework, expectations, etc.).  Also, you will be required to successfully complete an interactive telework training program before you will be allowed to telework. Note that the head of the agency has discretion to exempt employees from this training requirement if they have already been participating in telework.

Developing a Telework Proposal

What do you do if you are deemed ‘eligible to telework’ under your agency's program, but management is hesitant to approve your request?  Many mangers may be hesitant to take this on due to their current workload and the uncertainty of the outcome. New initiatives may be a low priority on their list.  Also, it is subject to supervisory/managerial approval and you have to remember that it isn't a benefit or entitlement.

If your manager is a reluctant it will help if you draft a common sense proposal to support your telework request that addresses your manager's concerns.  Preparing a written proposal may help him/her change their mind. Develop your proposal from management's perspective, using your agency mission to guide you through the process.

 

Signed, Written Telework Agreement

 

Once a manager agrees that an employee can effectively telework the teleworker and his/her manager must enter into a written agreement for every type of telework, whether the employee teleworks regularly or not. The parameters of this agreement are most often laid out by agency policy and/or collective bargaining agreement but should include the following key elements:

  • Location of the telework office (e.g., home or another alternative workplace)
  • Equipment inventory (e.g., what the employee is supplying, what the agency is providing, and who is responsible to maintain it)
  • A general overview of the type of work that will be performed while teleworking
  • The telework schedule
  • Telework contact information (e.g., what phone number to use on the telework day)
  • A safety checklist, self-certifying that the home office meets certain standards
  • Expectations for emergency telework (e.g. whether the employee is expected to work during agency closures or other Continuity of Operations (COOP) related emergencies or situations that may result in a disruption to normal office operations). With regard to COOP, note that Emergency Relocation Group (ERG) members must be prepared to telework at any time.  

The manager and teleworker should work together to periodically evaluate the arrangement, make changes to the agreement as necessary, and re-sign the document.  

Sample Telework Agreement (PDF File)

 

Additional Information