Telework Act Remains Critical for Government Disaster Preparedness

In light of recent disasters over the past few years, the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 attempts to ensure better disaster preparedness on the part of the U.S. government while also allowing continuity of operations. Implemented by President Obama through the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) almost a year ago, the act allows for, and even encourages, the operation of executive agency work outside the office environment. Working from a remote location, personnel are allowed to continue day-to-day workflow, even in the face of natural and manmade disaster.

In 2011 alone, there have been numerous earthquakes around the country, an active tornado season, which was not limited to the Midwest, numerous hurricanes and the associated effects from them, and an early snow storm hitting the Northeast in late October. The implementation of governmental telework plans cannot come soon enough, with most slated for operation sometime in 2012. These plans have far-reaching effects, especially for individuals and businesses. If governmental infrastructure fails in the face of disaster, it directly impacts each citizen.

Three key disaster preparedness areas are recognized by the OPM and include:

1. The need to improve upon the continuance of critical operations by governmental agencies during implemental weather and other emergency situations through the use of telework

2. The need to reduce management costs in such areas as real estate, environmental impact, employee turnover and absenteeism, and transit by using telework

3. The need to improve upon employee work-life balance through the use of telework.

According to OPM officials, leadership also plays a crucial role in putting the act into practice. This is most obvious in what the agency terms the 4 Cs.

  • Critical thinking or the ability to make decisions that need to be made, solve problems as they arise, and take the appropriate actions to resolve those problems.
  • Communication or the ability to get your ideas across in both written and oral form.
  • Collaboration or the ability to work closely and to good effect with others. This is most important when dealing with other diverse groups that might have ideas and solutions different or in opposition to the solutions recommended.
  • Creativity or the ability to see outside the box, and then to implement those ideas into an effective solution.

For more information about recent progress as a result of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, visit: http://www.gsnmagazine.com/node/25074

Also, tips for telework in small business can be found here: http://community.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/small-business-matters/how-make-telework-work-your-small-business