GSA internal tools

This post provides information on how to work with GSA’s web tools and your GSA-issued equipment.

Communication

If you have any questions, please ping #teamops or #it-issues.

GSA tools

Most of GSA’s internal tools are accessible via our Agency’s intranet Insite. You must be on the VPN to connect if you work remotely. Instructions for connecting are here. Here’s an overview of what you can access (you can click the names in this table to scroll down the page):

Name What we use it for Login system
ALOHA To request and document leave ENT username and password
BookIT! To reserve a desk or meeting room in GSA buildings ENT username and password
CHRIS To access your personnel file online CHRIS username and password
Concur To book travel ENT username and password
Employee Express To view your paystub, change your withholdings, or change your address Employee Express username and password
IT Service Desk General IT questions about Employee Express and other passwords (Note: They may not support requests for Macs, but will support requests for GSA websites) ENT username and password
Meeting Space To reserve your own conference call line ENT username and password
Online University To take mandatory trainings for federal employees ENT username and password

Browser requirements

Please note that while many of these websites work fine in Chrome or Firefox, you must use Safari or Internet Explorer to access ALOHA and Online University.

Let’s cover each of these tools in a bit more detail.

ALOHA

ALOHA is what you’ll use to request and document leave (sick, annual, bereavement, and more).

In general, you should request leave ahead of time (although it is possible to request leave retroactively) and document any absences as soon as possible. If you’re planning to take leave, please ask your project team(s) as well as your director or direct supervisor if it’s okay. Once you get your supervisor’s approval, sign in to ALOHA and submit your leave request (select your direct supervisor from the drop-down menu).

After you’ve created your leave request, add your planned absence to the shared Google calendar “18F Out of Office” — that way, everyone will know when you’re going to be out of the office.

We also ask that you update your Slack profile so that your name reads FirstName LastName OOO (1/1 - 1/5) so that it’s apparent, at a glance, that you’re not at work. Finally, please note that ALOHA is GSA’s system and separate from Tock, which is 18F’s own timekeeping system. If you’re taking time off, you’ll need to make sure you’re accounted for in both.

Please do not use ALOHA to document jury duty. If you’ve been summoned for jury duty, email (don’t Slack) Leah Gitter and add an event to the “18F Out of Office” calendar.

Some remote employees have had difficulty accessing ALOHA. If you’re one of them, please ping Leah Gitter on Slack with the dates you took (or need to take) leave and the type of leave you took. Leah will make sure to get your request logged.

You can see your remaining leave balances by clicking Create My Leave Request. You do not have to submit a request in order to view your available leave time. You can also see your leave balance on your paystub in Employee Express.

BookIt!

BookIt! is what you’ll use to reserve a desk or a meeting room within a GSA building.

Here are some tips for employees that frequent an office:

  • To periodically reserve a workstation in D.C.:
    1. Go to `Profile → View Your Profile → Edit Profile`.
    2. Go to Profile --> View your Profile --> Edit Profile
    3. Pick the workstation you'd like to reserve each day. 18F is on floor 4, wing 4.
    4. Type: Workstation, Room Name: 4461A-Z
    5. Choose the day of the week (today)
    6. Choose start and end times (typically, 9am and 6pm)
    7. Click save
    Once your one-click settings are set up, you only have to hit two buttons each day: One-Click and Express Check-In (the top button on the left — arrow into door)
  • BookIT! can remember your office location so you won't have to scroll through drop-down menus every time you need to reserve a meeting room. To save your office location settings, go to Profile → View Your Profile → Edit Profile.
  • BookIT! can remember your office location so you won't have to scroll through drop-down menus every time you need to reserve a meeting room. To save your office location settings, go to Profile → View Your Profile → Edit Profile.
  • BookIT! also allows you to add “delegates,” or people who can book rooms and/or check in on your behalf. To do that, go to Profile → View Your Profile → Delegates → Edit Profile.
  • Some employees have expressed difficulty in logging into BookIT! If you’re having difficulty, try bookmarking the BookIT! login page. It should immediately ask for your ENT password. In DC, you can also email 1800tenantsupport@gsa.gov and ask to be added to the 18F org they should be able to add you to the list in a day.

CHRIS

CHRIS is what you’ll use to access your personnel file online, which includes your salary, your GS level, your supervisor, your past performance rating(s), and information about health insurance plan, for starters. Some people feel CHRIS is easier to use than Employee Express.

Your account may not be set up by the time you start working at 18F. Account setup and activation are usually complete within a month of your start date; you’ll receive an email from CHRIS once your account is set up and activated. If you don’t receive this email within a month of starting, open a ticket with the GSA IT Service Desk.

You must be on the VPN to connect to CHRIS, if you work remotely.

Concur

Concur is what you will use to book travel. Learn more in Travel 101. If you have questions in the meantime, head over to #travel.

Employee Express

Employee Express is used to view your paystub, change your withholdings, change your health insurance plan, and change your address.

If you’re new to GSA, it’ll take a few weeks for IT to set up your account. (You should have access after your first paycheck.) You’ll receive a Welcome to Employee Express email with a security code.

  1. You must click the first link first to activate your account.
  2. Sign in with your temporary ID number (last five digits of your social security number).
  3. After you activate your account, you can set up your login ID and password.
  4. Then, go back to the welcome email and click the second link to log in.

Once your account is setup, be sure to log in right away as that initial access expires within a few days. If you have trouble logging in or need to contact the Employee Express Help Desk, send an email to eexhelp@opm.gov from your GSA email address. In the email, include your name, work phone number and a description of your request (for example, my SSN is not recognized or I need my login and password reset).

If they ask for your health insurance code, you can see that in CHRIS under GSA Personnel → Self Service → Employee Views → Benefits → Health Plan. Your code is the number next to your health plan.

See Benefits for more details about Employee Express.

IT Service Desk

If you have any issues with a GSA-maintained system or website, you’ll need to contact the IT service desk. Their chat feature is the most convenient way to get in touch with them. To contact the IT Service Desk via chat, visit the GSA IT Service Desk. Go to Get Help → Contact the Service Desk → Live Chat (Under the “GSA IT Service Desk” heading). If you need to submit a ticket, please choose Patrick Bateman from the Supervisor dropdown (most easily findable by typing patrick.bateman). He’ll respond to any supervisor signoffs quickly.

If you need to reset your ENT password, you can let your password expire and then change it through the Mac popup window. This will not cause you any issues. And if you’re on a Mac and change your ENT password, once you log out and log back in, make sure you’re on the GSA-wireless network (not GSA-guest) so that you can re-authenticate.

Meeting Space

Meeting Space is the service you’ll use to create your own conference call line. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Log in. Click Meetings → New Meeting.
  2. Fill out the required fields on the Meeting Information form and accept the defaults for everything else. Essentially, you’re setting up a fake meeting to trigger a request for a conference line.
  3. After you set up the meeting, an “audio profile” is automatically generated for you.
  4. Wait up to eight days. Audio profiles are created in weekly batches, so it can take up to seven or eight days before yours is created. Please note that you won’t receive a notification once your profile is created — be sure to log in to check on the status of your profile.
  5. Log in. Click Meetings → New Meeting.
  6. On the Enter “Meeting Information page,” scroll down to Audio Conference Settings and click Manage Audio Profiles. You should see a table on the left-hand side of the screen that lists an audio profile (with a name along the lines of GSA Meeting Space Audio Profile).
  7. If the table is empty, your profile hasn’t been created yet. Otherwise, click the audio profile name to see your conference line number and passcodes.

While this process can take up to eight days, the upshot is that your conference number is permanent! Yours to keep, forever. And when you need to use your conference number, you do not need to schedule a meeting in Meeting Space. You just dial in with the leader code, and the number will be active for others using the participant code.

Online Learning University (OLU)

All General Services Administration (GSA) employees are required to take mandatory training courses through the GSA’s Online Learning University (OLU) which provide critical information about how we work in the federal space.

For more information, reference the OLU page.

Office supplies

18F has an inventory of computer supplies, such a mice, keyboards, and trackpads on hand. If you’d like to check out Apple peripherals (for example, a Magic Mouse or wireless keyboard), make your request here.

Access to general office supplies varies based on your location — see our office tour guides. The D.C. office has a supply center on the first floor of the GSA building. The supply center offers paper, pens, notebooks, and other basic office supplies (many of which can also be found in printer rooms throughout the building).

For software requests, see Software.

If you need office supplies that aren’t available in your office, software, or need to make any other request for 18F to purchase, read on here for what to do next.

Get a copy of Microsoft Office

  1. See Software.
  2. You’ll receive an email from Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center. Don’t click on the link in the email. Instead, create a Microsoft Account with your .gov email.
  3. Check your email to confirm the account.
  4. Once the account is set up, click the link from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center.
  5. Enter your gsa.gov email again.
  6. Confirm said email by clicking on a link sent in a second, separate email from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center.
  7. Enter the Service Center and search for and download your software.