Print

Career Guides >> Browse Articles >> Advice and Options

+11

Telecommuting Options in Government Jobs

Telecommuting Options in Government Jobs

Dan Woog / Monster.com

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a reputation for secrecy and data protection. Yet that organization was one of the first in the United States – in either the public or private sector – to embrace telecommuting.

But the IRS is not the only arm of the federal government embracing telecommuting; many agencies have far outpaced the private sector in adopting this alternative work arrangement.

For those interested in telecommuting, here’s a closer look at what Uncle Sam provides.

Government Outpaces Private Sector in Adopting Telecommuting Policies

The government defines telecommuting – also called telework – as “the ability to do your work at a location other than your ‘official duty station’…on a routine, regular and recurring basis” one or more days a week.

Featured Offer

Earn a Degree from Home

In government, your salary is largely determined by your education level. Earn another degree at home while pursuing your career goals.

Action

“We think of the federal government as the mother of all bureaucracies," says telework consultant Gil Gordon. "But it knows what telecommuting is, and it does it well.”

According to CDW Government’s third annual survey, federal government’s adoption of telework outpaces private sector adoption by a 3-to-1 margin. In 2007, 44 percent of federal employees surveyed said they had the option to telework, compared to 15 percent of those in the private sector. Sixty-two percent of federal agencies now have written policies covering telework.

Gordon notes that while the government operates in a different regulatory environment than private business – Civil Service rules control work practices, and many workplaces are unionized – the administrative process, training procedures and reactions to telework by managers and employees are all “very positive.”

Why Government Embraces Telework

The federal government got into telecommuting in the late 1980s, when the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) took a serious look at the arrangement. Early trials were conducted in half a dozen agencies, including the General Services Administration and Department of Defense. (As for the private sector, Gordon says, telework had been tried “in fits and starts” as far back as the ’70s.) At the same time, state governments studied telecommuting; California, for example, launched an innovative program for Sacramento employees in the ’80s.

Why?

For the same reasons as those of the private sector, says Gordon. Technology had advanced and many cities were grappling with problems of air quality, traffic congestion and related stress and tension.

Add to that the recent challenges of attracting and retaining top talent, and the reasons for offering teleworking arrangements to employees have continued to increase.

Where Telecommuting Is Most Prevalent

Right now, Gordon says, the best governmental workplaces for telecommuting are relatively small agencies, like the Patent and Trademark Office, and various units of larger organizations, including the Treasury, Health and Human Services and OPM.

Gordon adds: “What started in the federal government as an issue for office-based people working at home has morphed into a mobility issue for a much larger group, like field engineers, auditors, inspectors and IRS agents on the road.”

In fact, notes telecommuting consultant Joanne Pratt, so many workers are now so mobile, the definition of telework may be in flux. “People carry a lot of information with them wherever they go on devices like laptops. By law, some information is not allowed to leave an agency’s workplace, so government workers have to be sure they know the law.”

Proposing Telework

So how should you go about trying to secure a telecommuting arrangement within the federal government?

According to the government’s Interagency Telework Site – what Gordon calls “a one-stop shopping service for telework in government” – government workers worried about their superior’s reaction to a telework request should research their options thoroughly and then devise a comprehensive proposal that outlines the advantages to the organization. That proposal should also include a proposed schedule and list of tasks to be accomplished at home.

Pratt advises workers to write up a telecommuting plan just as they would any other business plan. “Keep it simple,” she says. “The focus should be on how you can have a positive impact on the workplace. Present the plan from the point of view of your supervisor – how it will help, not hinder, workflow, while meeting government goals.”

Of course, telecommuting is not for everyone. Some workers like the collegiality of the office; others know they do not work well independently, need close supervision or have a home that’s not conducive to work. But for more and more government workers, telecommuting is a great way to eliminate actual commuting.


+11
  • Photo_user_blank_big

    btrap

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Can you please send me more information about Telecommuting Options in Government Jobs? My email is dave.brenda16@yahoo.com Thank you!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    merylh8

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I was a very sucessful telecommuter, Real Esate Appraiser for a major lending institution for over the past 14 years until the recent real estate bust. I am completely set up at home for telecommuting work and would love to receive information from you on a Government job working from home. Thank you very much. merylh8@aol.com

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    ehorai

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Please forward any and all information regarding teleworking for the government. I have experience working within both the City of Charlotte as well as Mecklenburg County doing accounting and administrative projects. Please send any information on how to get started to: emh451@yahoo.com. Many thanks for your assistance!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Faithh00

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I have worked 6.5 years from home and I would like to receive any information from you on getting started wtih a Government job working from home. Please send any information to: Faith.Hane1@verizon.net

  • In_my_kitchen_max50?1239975297

    Tleyendecker

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Interesting,...........I work for the Department of Veterans Affairs and would love to telework. I work as a coder,............Please send any information on how to get started working from home to: theresa4leyendecker@yahoo.com

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    barry123

    almost 6 years ago

    18 comments

    Barry
    Verrrry inter-esting!
    .. tell me: I've been trying top get a Government job for the last 2+ months.. Can't even get to first base! I am beginning to believe the only way to get a Gov. job is if to have a friend or relative working for the gov.
    ...ideas and/or information will be graciously accepted.
    bk.five@gmail.com

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    rojam39

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Dear Barry123,

    You should go to USAJobs.com and build your resume..keep in my when your building your Federal resume to give as much detail as possible. This would be first base..then when you see a job on the site that you would like to apply for your resume will be saved to do so. Remember to read and follow instructions for any other documents that's required when applying for a particular job. Good Luck!

  • Raiders_50_yrs_max50

    rhl

    almost 6 years ago

    6 comments

    I am very interested in this telecommuting for the FED GOV. Former EE for RDECOM CERDEC I2WD Fort Monmouth now in Charlotte, NC.
    contact info: rvrnalutt22@yahoo.com

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    ryanturner

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Please send me more info this is my info ryanonealturner@yahoo.com

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    mmarrero

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Please send me more info on this maryann.marrero@yahoo.com

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    chrissy_2

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I work with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. We assist clients with disabilities in finding employment. Many clients have years of experience in ofice setting, but after becoming disabled it can be difficult to return to work in an office and are trying to find employment where they can work at home, with a good salary and benifits.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    spooky

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I have 8 years of military service and a wide range of professional skills. Please send me more information on telecommuting positions with the federal government. My contact is mutualfunding@financier.com. Thank you and God bless America!

  • Bobcloseup1_max50

    aullman

    over 6 years ago

    4 comments

    The Federal Government has opened 17 telecommuting centers around DC. Workers in the private sector can find telecommuting / remote office centers on a free web site: http://www.remoteofficecenters.com

    There are a lot of people who want to telecommute, but do not have adequate facilities or work environment in the home. Telecommuting / Remote Office Centers are ideal for these people. A Remote Office Center leases office space to workers from different companies in a shared center. They provide internet, phone, security, personal firewalls, and a place to go to start the day, and a place to come home from when work is done.

    Telecommuting makes sense for the economy and ecology. Government is leading the way. Private industry needs to follow the lead of government.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    seven

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    please send me info about the telecommuting govt jobs to sevengirlsix@gmail.com

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    cab

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I am a former Federal employee. Worked for a congressional office for 12 years. I would like more information about working from home for the government. Thank you. Email address is cburroughs1@netzero.com

Govcentral School Finder

Save time in your search for a degree program. Use GovCentral's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

Get Info

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.