OPM promotes telework through new guide

The Office of Personnel Management earlier this month released a guide for federal managers on how to plan, implement and operate a telework program.

The guide, which was supposed to be released last November, follows OPM's latest report on agency telework progress, which found about 5 percent of all federal workers telecommute and that management resistance remains a barrier.

'Managers and supervisors who aggressively encourage the use of telework for the right employees and the right situations will contribute to the overall performance of the federal government,' said Kay Coles James, OPM director. 'This publication provides guidance to managers and supervisors to assist them in those tasks.'

OPM advises managers to form a telework planning committee composed of human resources, employee relations, labor relations, IT, management and other agency officials, and to establish written telecommuting policies. The policies may include program objectives, processes to telework and a description of the benefits.

The guide recommends establishing a training plan and a way to evaluate the productivity, operating costs, employee morale, recruitment and retention of the telework program. It also gives agencies best practices to determine if an employee is a candidate to telecommute and how to measure a teleworker's performance.

The guide, offers a sample telework assessment checklist, a telework agreement document and a supervisor's evaluation form.

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