Feds displaced by flooding offered use of telework centers

The flood-related closure of the Internal Revenue Service's headquarters building in downtown Washington has prompted the General Services Administration to offer all federal agencies facing similar short-term emergency situations free use of its telework centers.

Any employee from an agency that is not already a client of the 14 GSA Washington Metropolitan Telework Centers, who has been displaced because of a flooded building, is eligible for the offer at no cost, GSA announced.

Employees at agencies that already are clients are eligible to increase the number of days they use the centers, also at no cost. The facilities are located in Washington, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

In announcing the offer, GSA officials said they hope some of the displaced employees will continue to use the telework centers -- which are outfitted with computers, high-speed Internet access, telephones, printers and other resources -- as paying clients once their buildings reopen. But agencies are not obligated to become paying clients.

To sign up, employees must have their supervisors complete a form authorizing the use of the center for work purposes.

Linda Whitmer, executive director of the Washington Metropolitan Telework Centers, said only 57 percent of the organization's office space is used during an average week. It's unfortunate that the free offer could not have been arranged faster, she said.

"Perhaps we now have a precedent set, and when something happens like this again we can put the offer right out there," Whitmer said.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, GSA offered free use of its telework centers to all federal employees through the end of 2005 as a means of offsetting rising gas prices.

The IRS building at 1111 Constitution Ave. N.W. is expected to remain closed through at least the end of July as a result of significant flooding last week causing tens of millions of dollars in damage, including electrical outages and extensive damage to the building's infrastructure, office furniture and supplies.

The sub-basement of the building, which holds electrical equipment, was submerged in more than 20 feet of water, according to the IRS. The building's basement was flooded with five feet of water, damaging a fitness center, restaurants, offices, carpet, ceiling tiles, computer equipment and vehicles parked in the building's garage.

The 2,400 employees who work in the building have been relocated to the 12 other IRS buildings in the metropolitan area and other temporary office space, and some will be allowed to telecommute, the IRS said.

The Justice Department building at 950 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W. also sustained heavy damage from last week's heavy rain that left the building closed through Wednesday. According to a spokesman, the building's 1,400 employees were being moved back in Thursday and Friday.

Another 300 employees working out of the National Archives and Records Administration building at 700 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. were displaced by flooding. Essential employees were asked to report to an Archives building in College Park, Md., or to telecommute, according to agency spokeswoman Miriam Kleiman.

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

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

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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