Agencies urged to develop teleworker corps for emergency situations

The Office of Personnel Management released updated emergency guides last week, emphasizing the need for agencies to have plans for employees to work from home during emergencies. OPM also released guides for the families of federal employees and managers. The udpated emergency preparedness guides from OPM stress the need for agencies to have plans that allow "the business of government to continue during emergency situations." The guides stress that telework is an effective method that would allow employees not selected to go to the Designated Continuity of Operations facilities during an emergency to continue their work.

Agencies are supposed to develop a cadre of teleworkers who will learn to work off-site electronically and supervisors who can manage employees remotely. Eliminating paper and automating reports whenever possible will help employees to experience functioning in a virtual office.

"With telework in place during emergencies, experienced teleworkers won't need to master new computer programs, and, managers will learn to supervise a 'virtual workforce' by doing it under normal conditions," the guides stated.

The guides also include direction on the designation of emergency personnel and mission-critical emergency workers as well as shelter in place protocols if the evacuation of a federal building is deemed too dangerous.

An OPM spokesman said the new emergency preparedness guides emphasize the importance of federal employee awareness of security plans.

An Aug. 27 memorandum to department and agency heads from OPM Director Kay Coles James declared that effective human capital management requires agencies to keep employees prepared for foreseeable emergencies, and in an accompanying press release, she encouraged federal employees to download the new guides to "re-familiarize themselves with safety protocols."

A letter from James in the employee guide noted that the emergency guides are intended to provide general information and that other Web sites provide more comprehensive information, including the emergency sites of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Occupant Emergency Program Guide of the General Services Administration and the Homeland Security Department.

"Keep in mind, it is very likely that numerous steps have already been taken to secure your building that are not subject to open discussion," James wrote. "Trust your manager - this information may be held more tightly to better protect you from individuals who may seek to cause harm."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.