This section contains general guidance developed by GSA for Federal telecommuting center (telecenter) programs. While focused on telecenter programs, this guidance also applies (in most cases) to work-at-home programs. Content
In January, 1990, the Federal government began piloting flexible workplace arrangements (Flexiplace) in which employees would be permitted to work one or more days per week at alternate worksites. These alternate worksites included the employees homes and/or geographically convenient satellite work centers (telecommuting centers). The first phase of this initiative focused on work-at-home arrangements and was successfully completed in 1993. In 1993, GSA began serving as the lead agency for the next phase of Flexiplace: the development of telecommuting centers (telecenters). The following document provides guidance for establishing and/or participating inFederal telecenter programs.
General Services Administration - GSA's role is to develop or facilitate the development of the telecommuting centers utilizing its expertise in space acquisition and management, telecommunications and information technology services. Also, GSA will be the initial point of contact between Federal agency clients and the organizers/operators of the telecommuting centers.
Cooperative Administrative Support Unit (CASU) Program ofGSA - In some cases, CASU program offices will serve as the project manager and coordinator.
Local Jurisdiction Organizations - Local jurisdiction organizations (LJOs) are business groups, colleges, Federal orstate/local government agencies, and/or other organizations who serve as organizers and sponsors of the telecenter in their jurisdiction. LJO's may work with the CASU program and other GSA be targeted to current employees who have a working familiarity with their organizations. Telecommuting experts maintain that such employees are more likely to be successful telecommuters than are new employees. Agencies may determine special situations, however, in which new employees will be allowed to participate.
POSITION DESCRIPTIONS AND PERFORMANCE ISSUES
The telecommuting arrangement will seldom require major changes in position descriptions. However, it may affect factors such as supervisory controls or work environment. If telecommuting results in changes to actual duties, agencies should examine all factors for impact.Performance Standards
Agencies should establish methods for evaluating work performed at the alternative worksite; this should include progress reporting and/or other procedures to facilitate employee-supervisor communication. As provided by section 4302(a) (2) of title 5, USC, employee participation in developing performance standards is encouraged. Participating supervisors and employees should discuss and clearly define tasks and expectations.
Although the substance of performance standards and elements is outside the duty to bargain, agencies may consider union input when developing performance standards for bargaining unit positions. Similarly, agencies may invite union input into the development of work agreements.
Critical elements and performance standards for telecommuters should generally mirror traditional standards for such employees, with adjustments for unique circumstances encountered when working at telecommuting centers. Results-oriented standards which provide a reasonable basis for evaluating job performance should be used for all employees regardless of whether or not they are telecommuters.
Generally, evaluations of job performance for telecommuters should be based on existing standards and expectations. In order to evaluate job performance as well as to certify time and attendance for telecommuters, managers should establish clearly defined work assignments and expectations.
Work performance should be evaluated according to:
As mentioned above, Federal employees are covered by the Workers Compensation Employment Act for injuries or occupational illness incurred while working at the telecenter. Depending on the nature of an incident and the contractual arrangement between the telecenter operator and the building owner, either the telecenter operator or the building owner will be liable for damages or other costs incurred by telecenter clients as a result of problems occurring at the telecenter.