By Tim Cherry, Belvoir EagleFebruary 23, 2012
Commuting to work is a strenuous task proven to bring unwarranted stress to a person's life.
There is however, one way Belvoir personnel can completely rid themselves of this agony, at least for one day.
The concept is called teleworking and it allows employees to work at home or another location away from work, typically for one day a week, but some federal employees' telework more frequently.
The work method helps the employer and employee save money and reduces stress.
Teleworking for post employees is up to the discretion of the organization that for which they work.
"Workers like the idea of having flexibility in getting their work accomplished," said Tony Farmer, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Benefits and Worklife Group Human Development Client Service branch chief.
Farmer is in charge of the NGA's Telework Program which has been in place for approximately six years.
He said the intended goal is "to be an organization that is environmentally conscious, to have a tool that we can use for business continuity and contingency of operations planning and to help the workforce with balancing work and life."
According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management website, eligible teleworkers consist of supervisors and subordinates whose jobs are partially or completely portable, which means they are accomplishable without workflow or security concerns.
An organization can create additional requirements such as accepting or rejecting a telework request based off a person's performance.
Federal contractors can participate in teleworking but an arrangement must be negotiated amongst the contractor's employer and with the federal agency.
Telework programs enable government agencies to save money by reducing the amount of office space used weekly.
The concept could also assist agencies maintain productivity during natural disasters as employees can telework from home and it can also save employees money by eliminating at least one commute per week.
Managers can deny a telework request based on business reasons such as staff limitations or an employee's inability to meet the standards of the agency's policy. Agencies establish their own policy in regards to equipment. Some provide their employees with laptops and second phone lines, and others require the worker to supply their own material.
Farmer said NGA's program only provides personnel with a laptop.
"Typically the employee has to be in good standing (have a successful performance rating), be self motivated with a proven track record of accomplishing tasks on time and have a job role that is not classified as essential personnel," Farmer said.
Teleworking is seldom used within the garrison, but personnel can visit the telework link located on the front page of Belvoir's website for more information on the garrison's program.
Some directorates do offer alternate work schedules, which enable employees to work longer work hours within an individual day in return for a shorter work week.
MaryPat Begin-Ortiz, Plans Analysis Integration Office director said she has five employees who work four 10 hour shifts and take one day-off per week.
"It increases employee satisfaction and productivity," said Begin-Ortiz who encourages other directorates to use the program. "My employees also feel that they're helping reduce traffic flow on base."
People with questions about teleworking or alternate work schedules, should contact their immediate supervisor.
Belvoir's telework website is located at www.belvoir.army.mil/paio/Telework.asp.