Department's Telework Program Overview
A permanent telework program will require departments to assess their operations and determine what work, based on operational considerations, is appropriate for telework.
A department’s telework program has many potential benefits:
- Telework can support the achievement of important operational objectives such as cost savings and improved organizational productivity.
- When developed as a strategic program, telework can support organizational health, recruitment, and retention.
- When leveraged as a management tool, telework should support business continuity plans.
- Telework can support employees, allowing them to balance work and home while achieving career goals.
- Telework can reduce state environmental impacts, such as traffic congestion and air pollution.
A department’s telework program should consist of:
- The Department’s own Telework Policy, based on the Statewide Telework Policy
- The process by which Eligibility and Participation are determined
- The process to obtain Telework Agreements for each teleworking employee
- The process for reporting of department telework metrics internally and to DGS
- The process for denying, modifying, or terminating a telework agreement
Developing a Department’s Telework Policy
A department telework policy provides the structure for developing an effective department telework program. The department’s policy is critical to establish:
- Authorization for employees to telework
- Positions eligible to telework
- Notification to employees of their eligibility to telework
- The goals of the department’s telework program
Telework policies shall be published and made available to all department staff. Additionally, a copy shall be provided to DGS for compliance review and to publish on telework.govops.ca.gov.
Policy Writing Standards
Department policies should:
- Use Plain Language: a style of writing emphasized by clear, familiar words, avoiding jargon, keeping the end users in mind
- Be well organized
- Be designed as a practical resource for any stakeholders requiring information
- Be written to address usual situations, not one-off circumstances
Department policies should adhere to the Statewide Telework Policy and include content that is foundational to its program’s success, including but not limited to:
- Program implementation
- Department management, employee, and Telework Coordinator (TWC) responsibilities
- Program operations
Telework Program Implementation
A department’s policy should include:
- A statement of purpose and goals for the telework program that aligns with the Statewide Telework Policy
- Clear definitions of any terms used
- Emphasis on telework as an arrangement established to facilitate the accomplishment of work
- Information about how to identify telework-eligible positions, including any limitations
- The financial responsibility of the department and what support, materials, and equipment the department will provide
- The technology and security responsibilities of the department
- Expectations for managers with respect to employee assessment and opportunities for teleworking employees
Department Management, Employee, and Telework Coordinator Responsibilities
Specific responsibilities should be defined for all supervisors and managers of teleworkers, teleworking employees, and TWCs.
Telework Program Operations
The department’s telework policy should describe processes related to telework arrangements, including:
- Procedures for establishing a telework arrangement.
- Departments must use the Telework Agreement (STD 200) or a digital equivalent to document the arrangement.
- Departments may elect to create and use a separate mechanism to capture additional information specific to their departmental policy. Departments should consult with their Labor Relations Office for guidance.
- Departments may choose to use tools such as the Employee Self-Assessment and Supervisor Assessment to initiate and evaluate a request.
- Documenting any department specific requirements for training.
- Expectations and procedures for unexpected contingencies that could impact the telework arrangement.
- Procedures for establishing a telework arrangement.
In addition, the operational component of a telework policy should:
- Establish that the performance of teleworkers will be evaluated consistent with the department’s regular performance management system (e.g., teleworkers should be treated the same as non-teleworkers with regard to performance management).
- Emphasize that teleworkers will receive the same treatment and opportunities as non-teleworkers (e.g., work assignments, awards and recognition, development opportunities, promotions, etc.).
- Outline department expectations regarding telework training for managers and supervisors.
- Include clear and specific requirements for record keeping, reporting, and evaluation of the telework program.
Telework Eligibility and Participation
Departments have the discretion to make their own eligibility determinations subject to operational needs. In making these decisions, departments are in the best position to define what it means to ensure that telework does not diminish or hinder employee performance or department operations.
There are a variety of circumstances that relate to position classification, organization structures, and department missions that makes it impractical to suggest a uniformed approach to describing eligibility and participation criteria in their telework policies.
Telework Eligibility vs. Participation
To be able to participate in telework, an employee must be eligible. The department determines eligibility, and the supervisor or manager determines participation based on the nature of the work and the business needs.
Key eligibility points to consider:
- Effective performance management is a key component to a successful telework program. All employees should be held to the same performance standards. Department policy should provide that an employee’s agreement may be cancelled or modified if not meeting operational needs, or results in a reduction in performance, does not enable training, oversight, or any other supervision deemed necessary.
- Participation might be limited due to the duties of the individual position. Some duties are not conducive to teleworking.
Departments and mangers should be flexible when determining employee participation and consider which duties can be performed remotely even if it results in partial participation.
Departments should ensure that teleworking staff and their managers are adequately trained on the department’s telework policy and processes prior to beginning a telework arrangement.
Once an organization has staff working remotely, all staff are essentially working in a distributed environment. Anyone working in this environment needs access and training on the department’s chosen collaboration tools and communication processes.
Departments may provide their own telework training program for employees.
Training programs overall should include:
- Overview of the program
- How to request telework
- How to set up a remote office
- Specific training on collaboration tools
Manager training should additionally include:
- Benefits of the program and its goals
- Program procedures
- Determining participation
- Managing in a remote environment
State policy requires each participant in the telework program to sign a Telework Agreement (STD. 200). This form may not be modified, and must be used by all departments, but does include open fields for items specific to the department and the agreements, such as equipment being used. Departments may choose to digitize the form or incorporate the approvals in a digital workflow but may not change the contents or context of the agreement. The Telework Agreement outlines the responsibilities of both the employee and the department.
Original copies of all department Telework Agreements must be retained, as these agreements are key to evaluating the efficiency of the program. Data collected may be used for reporting purposes. Copies should be provided to the employee, the supervisor, and the Telework Coordinator. For electronic agreements, departments must establish their own process for providing agreements to employees and supervisors. DGS advises departments to ensure the STD. 200 record retention schedule aligns with a documented annual STD. 200 review process.
Telework Metrics Reporting
DGS will collect metrics from each department that measure the implementation and efficiency of the programs. These metrics will be implemented in stages and are outlined in Track Telework.