OPM issues guidance on telecommuting

The Office of Personnel Management released guidance Friday on how federal agencies can develop telecommuting policies for their employees. The telecommuting guidance includes marketing materials for selling managers on the idea of telecommuting; details of telecommuting technology considerations, such as installing telephone lines in employees' homes; a step-by-step guide for starting a telecommuting program; and sample employer-employee telecommuting agreements. By law, federal agencies must establish policies allowing eligible employees to telecommute. Agencies have until April 2 to complete and return a form describing the agency's telecommuting policy to the Office of Personnel Management. The Office of Personnel Management recently stepped up its efforts to promote telecommuting at federal agencies after Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., lambasted the agency for doing only the bare minimum required by law. OPM is required to ensure that 25 percent of the total federal workforce is covered by telecommuting policies. But since many federal agencies have telecommuting policies that simply aren't enforced, more needs to be done to develop viable telecommuting options, Wolf argued. OPM Acting Director Steven Cohen took Wolf's lecture to heart and re-issued a memo to agency heads, emphasizing the importance of going beyond mere policy to increasing actual participation in telecommuting.
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