OPM, GSA mull telework policies
- By Colleen O'Hara
- Sep 25, 2000
The Office of Personnel Management and the General Services Administration
are reviewing agencies' telework policies in an overall effort to increase
its use in government.
In a memorandum issued earlier this month, GSA Administrator David Barram
and OPM Director Janice Lachance asked agencies to identify telework problem
areas that "could benefit from policy clarification and/or revision." GSA
and OPM are leading an interagency effort to develop new policies that will
encourage the use of telework.
The review is timely, Barram and Lachance said. Agencies are allowing
more employees to work outside the office and, as a result, have more questions
regarding telework policy issues. The memo asks agencies to detail any problems
associated with developing or operating their telework programs.
GSA and OPM have been examining agencies' telework policies since last
year to see whether existing workplace guidelines adequately support agencies'
telework programs, according to Wendell Joice, who heads up telework and
workplace initiatives in GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy.
Concerns about pay and other issues made it clear "that numerous federal
workplace policies needed to be revised and/or clarified in view of the
advance of telework," Joice wrote in a recent report.
Despite efforts by GSA, OPM, the Transportation Department, Congress
and others to jump-start telework in government, it has been slow to take
off. Recent estimates show that around 25,000 federal employees work from
their homes or a telecommuting center — a figure that falls well short of
the goal of 60,000 the government hoped to reach by the end of fiscal 1998.