Finding a telecommute job in federal government may be easier than you think. Under federal law, eligible government employees must be allowed to telecommute.
Telecommuting and Working for the Federal Government
The Federal government is the nation's largest employer, and it has recognized the value of allowing employees to work from alternate locations for some time now. The advantages of allowing workers to telecommute are as follows:
- The practice helps the federal government to recruit candidates who want to work with the latest technology while maintaining a good work/life balance.
- Allowing employees to work from home means that that traffic congestion is reduced, as well as emissions that would be harmful to the environment.
- There is a savings to the taxpayer when government employees are not having to go to an office to do their work.
Telecommuting and Legislation
The Federal law governing telecommuting is § 359 of Public Law 106-346, which was passed in 2000:"[e]ach executive agency shall establish a policy under which eligible employees of the agency may participate in telecommuting to the maximum extent possible without diminished employee performance."
Most people who have a telecommute job in federal government do so on a part-time basis. There are some people who do work for this employer on a full telecommute basis, but this is not usually the case. Most people who work for the government and have a telecommute arrangement fit into one of the following categories:
- Telecommuting three days per week on a regular basis
- Telecommuting one or two days per week only
- Telecommuting less than one day per week, but at least one time each month
The law is written so that federal government employes may be able to telecommute; this is not the same idea as giving them the right to do so. A manager can deny an employee the right to telecommute or end an existing telecommuting arrangement. The reason for the denial or the change must be related to business or performance issues, not personal ones.
Finding Telecommute Job in Federal Government
If you are currently employed by the Federal government and want to find out how to request a telecommuting arrangement the Telework.gov web site can help. Go there to get information about the role of the telework coordinator for your agency. (All government agencies must appoint someone to whom employees can ask questions about telecommuting policies and procedures.)
Online training is offered to federal government employees interested in telecommuting. The Office of Personnel Management has a course, and government agencies may also offer their own training to employees. All employees interested in telecommuting must complete information technology security training before they will be allowed to do so.
Before You Telecommute
This type of working arrangement is not the right choice for everyone. Before you decide to ask for it, you need to spend some time figuring out whether this is a workable one for you. If you don't have a specific space in your home where you will be able to focus on working, it may not be the ideal situation for you. Being comfortable with the technology you will need to use while telecommuting is also important.
Working from home requires more discipline than going to the office every day,. If you have concerns that you wouldn't be able to focus on your job with the distractions that exist in your home, then the arrangement won't work out very well. You will be expected to make arrangements for the care of your children so that you will not be distracted from your duties during working hours.
Telecommuting is a policy that makes a lot of sense for Federal government employees. Private sector employers are becoming more willing to offer this type of working arrangement, too.