OMB has told agencies to “use the breadth of available technology capabilities to fulfill service gaps and deliver mission outcomes” as more federal employees work remotely during the Coronavirus response.
Memo M-20-19 tells agencies to consider “increasing the number of licenses available, leveraging services and technologies across the enterprise, and directing specific activities to be conducted via collaboration forums. Additionally, it is recommended that agencies make use of collaboration tools and capabilities offered by other federal agencies to meet capability gaps.”
Agencies also were encouraged to, among other things: leverage digital methods to meet mission needs, to include leveraging digital forms and electronic signatures to the fullest extent practicable; update virtual private network components, network infrastructure devices, and devices being used to enable remote work environments with the latest software patches and security configurations; provide guidance to employees about how to ensure proper information security and privacy controls are in place when working from alternate locations or home.
Agencies also may delay the completion of fingerprinting requirements based on an agency’s risk determination and the need to onboard mission-critical personnel, it said.
OMB memo M-20-18 meanwhile told agencies to be “flexible in providing extensions to contractor performance dates if telework or other flexible work solutions, such as virtual work environments, are not possible, or if a contractor is unable to perform in a timely manner due to quarantining, social distancing, or other COVID-19 related interruptions;” and memo M-20-17 similarly told them to be flexible toward grant recipients “performing essential research and services necessary to carry out the emergency response related to COVID-19.”