Telework Frequently Asked Questions
Information relating to the Department’s telework procedures and forms can be found here.
Telework or teleworking is a work flexibility arrangement under which an employee performs the duties and responsibilities of such employee’s position, and other authorized activities, from an approved worksite other than the location from which the employee would otherwise work. In practice, telework is a work arrangement that allows an employee to perform work, during any part of regular, paid hours, at an approved alternative worksite (e.g., home or telework center).
The ideal teleworker is self-motivated, well organized, a problem-solver, and someone who can work independently with minimal supervision. Successful teleworkers have a high degree of job skill and knowledge, and strong time management skills. Teleworkers like working at home or away from the office for at least part of the week and do not mind working alone. Teleworking is not ideal or desirable for every employee.
- Coping with interruptions and distractions – Often friends, neighbors, and family members do not realize that a teleworker is working. Although an occasional, brief interruption may be welcome, teleworkers must learn to keep interruptions to a minimum.
- Working long hours – Teleworkers need to be careful they do not slip into “workaholism.” Some personality types have the tendency to work longer hours than usual when they are teleworking because they can focus so well on their work. Teleworkers should give careful consideration to the balance or integration of their work and personal lives to avoid burnout.
- Exercising self-control – If teleworkers find themselves procrastinating, they should evaluate their work habits and make necessary changes to ensure productivity.
- Designating space – A designated work area is recommended for teleworking. A separate workspace may mean fewer distractions or interruptions and a higher level of discipline and organization.
- Gaining support – A family’s or supervisor’s attitude may sometimes be detrimental to a telework arrangement. Teleworkers must work to gain the support and understanding of those around them.
- Concern of lowered productivity and misrepresented timesheets. G. Safety – A safety inspection and checklist is essential. Employees must follow ergonomic expectations. For example, using a chair in lieu of working from a bed or couch.
- Regulating work hours and meal and rest periods. Employees must still follow state and federal guidelines concerning overtime and breaks.
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is another crucial concern. It is an employer’s duty to ensure protected health information (PHI) is kept private.
No, telework is not a universal employee benefit or an employee right. Please refer to the employee’s bargaining unit contract. In addition, reference the Department of General Services Telework Program Policy and Procedures (January 2010) for guidance.
Sometimes there may be instances in which both the employee and manager have made a good faith effort to make a telework arrangement work without success. The telework agreement includes a clause stating either the manager or the employee may terminate the telework agreement for operational or performance issues.
Telework is not and should not be used as a substitute for dependent care.
- Can the duties and tasks of the work unit be completed at another location in the same fashion as the office?
- What percentage of tasks could be done at another location?
- Could tasks reasonably be updated so they could be done at another location while meeting the needs of the agency and without changing the duties of the position?
- If an employee teleworks, would there be an increase in work for other employees?
- Can staff meetings be attended remotely?
- If yes, what additional conference tools or equipment are required?
- Could the unit reasonably procure them?
- Do all team members know how to use conference technologies?
- Can they learn them?
- Can teleworkers come in to the agency on days when staff meetings are held?
- Does the unit access specialized data?
- What technology systems/software are required to complete the work of the unit?
- Do you have any concerns about the employee’s work performance?
- Is the employee currently in probationary status?
- Would allowing the employee to telework
negatively impact customer/client services?
- If yes, describe what the impact would be.
- Do the employee and co-workers rely heavily on
each other to perform collaborative work?
- If yes, what are the barriers to remote communication?
- Would critical work not get completed?
- What plans can be put in place to ensure that collaboration continues and that work gets completed?
- Does the employee work independently and manage their own priorities?
- Is the employee knowledgeable about the agency’s policies and procedures that impact teleworking?
- Does the employee clearly understand the expectations of their job?
- Does the employee need additional training to better understand the expectations of their job?
- Does the employee have the communication skills required to perform their work in telework status?
- Are internal control activities relevant to the
job documented and easy to assess for impact?
- If no, can you reasonably review the job responsibilities and identify internal control activities to assess the impact telework might have?
- Can all key internal control activities be accomplished under a telework framework?
- Does the employee work with not public (private,
confidential, or privileged) data?
- If yes, is there a documented plan to protect and restrict data access in compliance with policy and law?
- If not, before approving telework, the Information Security Office must be consulted to determine whether a plan can reasonably be developed to enable telework.
- Does the employee have a plan for record management and retention to ensure proper documentation of work activities?