OPM recommends telecommuting as a way to help employees cope

Federal agencies should include telecommuting initiatives as part of recovery efforts for federal workers displaced or traumatized by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the Office of Personnel Management has recommended.

OPM issued new guidance this week encouraging the use of such flexible personnel practices as telecommuting and alternative work schedules to help employees who may be grieving or having trouble coping after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Agencies whose offices were affected by the attacks can use such practices until new work areas are found for displaced employees, OPM officials said.

"There are employees left in the New York area who still don't have desks to work at, and OPM is helping the [Federal Executive Board] in that area find current information about telework facilities," said Mary Tyler, a psychologist with OPM's Office of Work/Life Programs. In Washington, traffic jams resulting from roads closed after the terrorist attack at the Pentagon could be avoided if agencies would allow employees to work alternative schedules or telecommute, Tyler said.

Tyler cautioned that telecommuting programs should be set up carefully, taking into consideration the employee's state of mind.

"It needs to be done carefully under any situation, but we need to also factor in the recovery needs of the employee." Tyler explained. "For example, if someone is suffering from grief they probably should not be at home all day by themselves." Such employees could however, work in one of the telework centers the General Services Administration has set up.

Managers should also be aware that an employee's needs will change over time, Tyler said.

"What's best now may be different in a month or a couple of weeks, but it's always important to talk with employees and make sure that the work arrangements are going to work for them, and it's more important now that employees are suffering from stress and grief and all of that," Tyler said.

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 GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


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