telework and virtual worker policy

In this policy, your supervisor is your administrative or official supervisor (or their designee).

Telework

Telework provides the flexibility to work from home with the approval of your supervisor. Telework improves morale and productivity by allowing for greater collaboration among peers. TTS recognizes these benefits and encourages the use of telework as described below. This policy adheres to and is in conjunction with GSA’s Telework Policy.

Maximum number of days

TTS employees are allowed up to six telework days per pay period, or three days per week. This permits the maximum degree of telework while retaining an in-office physical presence to justify assigned office space and ensure productivity.

A regular teleworker may also be permitted to telework episodically for additional days on a case-by-case basis with supervisor approval. Please have a conversation with your supervisor to determine your ability to telework, as your eligibility may depend on your team or projects.

Culture

While your supervisor is the deciding official for implementing the telework policy, the culture of 18F is to keep project teams, supervisors, and coworkers apprised of your schedule through designated channels (18F Out of Office Calendar and Slack).

Alternative worksite location

It is your responsibility to ensure that your alternative worksite provides the work environment, connectivity, technology, resource access, and security consistent with the work you need to do. It is also your responsibility to be available to your team as you would at an office.

Supervisors retain the authority to overrule an employee’s selection of a particular alternative worksite if that location is not a business appropriate location or if it fails to provide a working environment compliant with the conditions outlined in GSA’s Telework Policy.

Working outside the local commuting area is not permitted without prior approval from your supervisor.

Connectivity

You must have voice and computer connectivity from your alternative worksite. If you experience a power outage or interruption in internet access, in consultation with your supervisor, you may work on other non-equipment-related work, report to the official worksite, or take the appropriate leave.

Keep your supervisor updated about your telework status, either by email or via Slack (for example, “Working from home today, but I’ll be in the office tomorrow!”).

Schedule

You’ll usually get advance notice of at least one business day when you’re required to report to the official worksite on a scheduled telework day. When the stated notice isn’t possible, your supervisor will notify you of the need to report as soon as possible.

Telework schedules may be adjusted by your supervisor to address business needs, including mandatory meetings and office coverage, etc. If this need occurs, you’ll be notified in advance.

Teleworkers are to adhere to the leave procedures set forth by the agency (that is, if you have a doctor’s appointment, you must request and obtain approval for the appropriate leave).

In the event that OPM or the authorized organization in a region announces “Unscheduled Telework” due to inclement weather or other disruption to the official worksite, you must have a computer available to conduct the work and sufficient work to cover the telework period. If you do not have your government issued computer, you can use your personal computer. You also need to notify your supervisor of the decision to telework before the scheduled start of their day.

Security

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and other secure information, including information protected by the Privacy Act, must be maintained in accordance with the GSA Rules of Behavior for Handling Personally Identifiable Information, Order HCO 2180.1, paragraph 7.

You must successfully complete the following required GSA Online University (OLU) courses on their scheduled dates before beginning or to continue teleworking:

  • Annual Privacy Training 101 and IT Security Awareness
  • Telework Works

Within 90 days of beginning teleworking, you must also take and successfully complete one of the following:

  • Telework Works (for employees)
  • Managing Distributed Teams (for managers)

Sensitive material, including information protected by the Privacy Act, must be viewed only on government issued equipment or via Citrix. No information may be stored or saved to non-government issued equipment.

Your friends and family members are not authorized to use the government issued equipment.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have all of the necessary files at your telework worksite and that you comply with GSA policies regarding the handling and securing of GSA Records and Files and Personally Identifiable Information.

You may physically transport GSA files to your telework worksite before teleworking. It is your responsibility to safeguard and protect all GSA files in your possession while teleworking and transporting the files.

You may also digitally scan GSA files to create an electronic document, which can be used while teleworking. It is your responsibility to ensure that the electronic document is legible prior to teleworking.

Important points

  • Detailed employees shall enter into telework agreements with their detailed supervisors.
  • Telework is not a substitute for dependent care (such as child care or elder care).
  • Telework is not a substitute for sick leave.
  • While teleworking, you are bound by the Standards of Ethical Conduct while working at the alternative worksite and using government equipment.
  • Teleworking is a privilege and not an entitlement.

Virtual worker agreements

Virtual worker agreements are currently being used when an employee can not be coded to an official office location within their duty station. The 18F Office made use of virtual worker agreements when Washington, D.C. was the only official duty station, yet 18F had employees in other locations (San Francisco, Chicago, Dayton). Once a location has enough people to warrant an official office, a location will be established and people previously considered virtual workers will become teleworkers.

Working in a foreign country

If you need to work while traveling internationally and/or while in a foreign country:

  1. Get approval from your supervisor providing justification for the need to work in a foreign country.
  2. Complete and submit the GSA Foreign Defensive Travel - Pre Briefing form to the Office of Mission Assurance for approval.
  3. Open a ticket with the IT Help Desk requesting permission to bring your laptop and/or work phone.
    • If you’re working from Europe, ask GSA IT to switch your work phone over to a European network while you’re gone. Note that you’ll be able to get calls and data, but your phone won’t tether.
  4. Once you return from your travel, submit the GSA Foreign Travel - Debriefing form and submit it to the Office of Mission Assurance.

For more information, review the GSA Laptop, Smartphone, and PDA User Policy. Information about using your government mobile device in a foreign country is here.

You can learn about travel alerts and warnings from the Department of State.

Office of Mission Assurance

Find their phone numbers by searching the GSA Staff Directory.

Questions

Is the designee a manager or a project lead?

Your supervisor is your direct/official/administrative supervisor, not your lead.

Is it considered teleworking if I live in San Francisco and work out of our D.C., New York, or Chicago offices?

No. Per GSA’s telework policy, your example would be considered “alternative officing,” or working from a GSA location where you don’t have an assigned workspace. If you’re concerned about working from other GSA offices without obtaining prior approval from your supervisor, the language “outside the local commuting area” covers this. If you’re supposed to be working in San Francisco and decide to fly to Chicago, you would be working outside of your local commuting area, which requires pre-approval.

What is my “local commuting area”?

This is totally subjective and is not defined either in law or GSA policy, though the subjective definition is set in code. Ultimately, it is up to a supervisor to define the local commuting area for a particular team.

How do I get an approved telework agreement?

  1. Complete the Telework Works training through OLU. You’ll need to resubmit your telework agreement (steps 2-3) if you change supervisors.

  2. Access your telework agreement. Your telework coordinator is Citizens Services and Innovative Technologies (X) Telework.

  3. Verify that the information is complete and up to date (including your supervisor, phone number, and office location). If your supervisor information is missing, enter it in the Supervisor field. If your phone number is missing, email accesscard@gsa.gov and ask them to add it to your GCIMS profile.

  4. Submit your form to your supervisor for approval.

  5. If this is your first time submitting a telework agreement, you’ll get an email informing you that your agreement was approved.

How do I find the date I took the Telework training?

In OLU, click on Mandatory trainings and then click My transcript.