GSA wants to take the telework reins

The General Services Administration’s new telework policy could help other agencies conquer obstacles to implementing a virtual workplace and managing mobile employees, according to a telework expert.

GSA Chief People Officer Anthony Costa on Oct. 31 signed the new strategy that strives to make telework possible for most agency employees. Under the new rules, rather than waiting for agency managers to set the rules on who can telework and when, most GSA employees can choose whether they want to telework. Those who do are authorized to do so “to the maximum extent possible without diminished individual or organization performance.”

Although the new policy applies to GSA only, agency officials said the agency seeks to inspire others to follow suit by acting as a leader to guide itself and the rest of the federal government on “essential workplace and workforce transformation."

“I’m really excited about how much attention the new policy gets,” said Cindy Auten, general manager at Telework Exchange. She called the new framework “a testament over time” of what GSA has done in the telework space.

With the new policy, other agencies can learn how to overcome troubles in adopting telework and how they can learn from and share best practices with GSA on how to do it right, she said.

One of the pillars of the new policy is “Work is what we do, not where we are.” Auten said GSA has always seen telework as “a very important task to promote.” Signing the strategy is “just the tip of the iceberg” of what the agency has done in the telework area, Auten added, including supporting other agencies and making telework more transparent by demoing its telework dashboards.

The new policy, Auten said, will hopefully change other agencies’ perception and demonstrate that telework is readily available and achievable by GSA leading the effort on a federal level.

“This is a pivotal point for telework,” she said. “The policy gives exposure to telework, and other agencies will gain education and awareness from it. This new policy shows that GSA is a force to be reckoned with.”

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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