GSA issues governmentwide guidance on telework

The General Services Administration issued official guidance for agencies as they implement telework arrangements for their employees.

In a Federal Register notice effective today, GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy offered definitions of telework and other alternative workplace arrangements agencies should consider so they can be in compliance with teleworking laws.

It also officially stated that agencies must consider telework as a potential alternative to acquiring more office space or other facilities.

While most agencies already have telework guidelines in place, this bulletin is significant because it is the first governmentwide policy statement on the issue from GSA, said Stanley Kaczmarczyk, deputy associate administrator of GSA's Office of Real Property.

Congress tapped GSA in late 2002 to be the lead agency in providing guidance, assistance and oversight for the rest of the government in implementing telework policies.

Kaczmarczyk said GSA is issuing the guidance now because he wanted to tie in all aspects of alternative workplace arrangements, which involves more options than just telework.

'Because of my background in managing the governmentwide telework program, it seemed the natural thing to do'to bring together the worlds of regulations, the alternative workplace, which includes telework, and mainstream asset management,' he said.

The notice defines telework as 'the act of performing all or a portion of work functions at an alternative worksite, such as working from home or a telework center, under circumstances that reduce or eliminate the employee's commute. To be considered telework, it must occur at least one day per week on a regular and recurring basis and does not include (1) situational telework (unscheduled, project-oriented, nonrecurring and/or irregular telework, and/or any teleworking that occurs less frequently than once a week on a recurring basis) or (2) full-time mobile work arrangements.'

Other alternative working arrangements include: hoteling, in which an employee works from a remote facility on a part-time basis and uses reserved, nondedicated workspaces; virtual offices, a work environment in which employees work cooperatively from different locations using a computer network; and hot desking, which is similar to hoteling but employees use nondedicated workplaces on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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