In their memo to agencies about drawing up workplace “reentry” plans, OMB, OPM and GSA said they “anticipate that many agencies will leverage” telework, alternative working schedules and other flexibilities “more expansively than was the case prior to the pandemic.”
“Agencies should also consider broader workforce and workplace trends and the need for the federal government to be competitive for top talent as employers in the broader labor market. Agency leaders can leverage issues such as telework, remote work, and flexible work schedules as tools in their broader strategies for talent recruitment and retention, and for advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the federal workforce,” it says.
While giving agencies discretion over specifics, they said they expect that overall the federal workplace will be a “hybrid” in which (in the memo’s words):
· “Many employees will remain or return to working fully or primarily in-person onsite or in the field. Many Federal employees will remain primarily or fully onsite or return primarily to onsite work due to the nature of their work, such as delivery of onsite services, support activities in the field, or work with classified information or national-security topics. Some employees who teleworked during the pandemic may prefer to return to fully onsite work (employee preference being one of a number of factors that will inform how agencies apply their guidelines).”
· “At the same time, many employees—more than prior to the pandemic—will engage in a mix of telework and onsite work. Employees who have been teleworking during the pandemic generally will remain eligible for telework, at least on a situational basis. In many cases, agencies and sub-organizations will allow and plan for an increased ratio of telework over onsite work, for more employees, as compared to agency work environments prior to the pandemic. Such arrangements might include, for some employees, a balanced mix of working offsite and onsite, including to satisfy business operations, teambuilding, and other needs. For other employees, such arrangements could mean teleworking a majority of the time or nearly full-time, with a requirement for employees under the General Schedule to report to the agency worksite at least twice each pay period to receive the locality rate associated with the agency worksite.”
· “Divisions, offices, or teams may decide to expand the number of employees who work remotely, for some roles for which remote work is appropriate. Remote work is an arrangement under which an employee is scheduled to perform work within or outside the local commuting area of an agency worksite and is not expected to report to an agency worksite on a regular and recurring basis. In some cases where an agency determines that remote work is appropriate for certain types of positions and agency activities, agencies and sub-organizations will put in place guidelines for trying out expansion of remote work (as compared to the limited use of remote work among agencies pre-pandemic) at the level of divisions, offices, or teams.”