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Dialing Back on Teleworking?

Director of the Office of Personnel Management John Berry
John Berry, OPM

At a monthly meeting of the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations earlier this week, co-chair of the council John Berry got the ball rolling on the future of teleworking by asking members to volunteer for a work group.

But the ball may not roll very far. Federal Chief Performance Officer Jeffrey Zients said it may be too early to push the teleworking issue, and Government Executive characterized the reception from the council as “lukewarm.”

The work group will possibly consider how to increase the ranks of federal workers engaged in teleworking, especially during a national crisis, Gov Exec reports.

Support for teleworking seemed to pick up during the so-called “snowpocalypse” – a series of intense blizzards and storms last winter. The federal government was shut down for days at a time, turning attention toward teleworking as a solution for blizzard-battered federal agencies.

Advocates of the program, who see it as a way to save the government millions of dollars, got another boost when the House passed the Telework Improvements Act in July. The bill allows federal employees to telework at least 20 percent of the hours worked in a two-week period, according to an earlier ExecutiveGov report.

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