Federal Manager's Daily Report

OPM has issued new guidance on telework and remote work decisions from a manager’s perspective, following a recent memo on agency-level policies in those areas.

Newly posted frequently asked questions on workplace arrangements states that “Such alternative work arrangements come with challenges and require new skill sets for the employee unfamiliar with working in dispersed or virtual teams, and for supervisors unfamiliar with managing dispersed or virtual teams.”

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That is especially the case, it says, with remote work—where, unlike in telework, the employee is not expected to report to an agency site on a regular basis.

It adds that for both telework and remote work, “expectations related to accountability do not differ by virtue of the alternative arrangement.” Performance standards for a teleworking employee or remote worker “must be the same as performance standards for employees in the same position who do not work from an alternative location. Also, management expectations for performance should be clearly addressed in an employee’s performance plan, regardless of whether the employee is working onsite or at an alternative location,” it says.

“Additionally, maintaining strong performance in an alternative location environment requires employees and their supervisors to be well trained not only on their agency’s policies, criteria for eligibility, roles and responsibilities, and expectations for maintaining acceptable performance, but also on the support that is available to help supervisors and their staff develop new ways to collaborate and communicate,” it says.

Other topics addressed in the FAQs (at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/future-of-work/re-entry-guidance) include flexible working schedules and issues of determining the employee’s official duty station for purposes including locality pay.

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