Telework Position Eligibility Guide - 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we work. We have learned a great deal about our capacity to perform many of our functions through telework, flexible scheduling and technology, and we know that some essential work must still be done on-site in our facilities and offices. A combination of on-site and telework—a hybrid model—may be the best option for many lines of businesses and for many positions. The guidance below is to assist agencies in how to determine telework eligibility for their positions.
A position that is eligible for telework is a position that has at least some responsibilities that can be conducted from a remote location without diminishing service quality or organizational operations. This analysis is based on the work to be done, not on the individual employee.
Can any of the job duties be done anywhere other than the office/state facility?
Yes = Eligible, or No = Ineligible
Does the position require daily 100% on-site performance of work?
No = Eligible, or Yes = Ineligible
Examples of responsibilities that are suitable for teleworking:
- analyzing data
- auditing reports
- phone work
- data entry
- graphics and design
- work planning
- preparing budgets
- monitoring contracts
- project management
- software development
- spreadsheet analysis
- web training
- writing and editing
Requiring On-Site Work
There are some types of work that must be performed on-site, or that result in diminished service quality or negative impacts to organizational operations when performed remotely. Agencies should review their work and identify the specific tasks, services and processes that require an on-site presence from staff.
Listed here are some examples of responsibilities that are not suitable for teleworking. This list does not include every type of work that requires an on-site presence, but is intended to illustrate the kinds of work that may need to be performed on-site:
- Frontline customer service when the public must come into the state office in-person
- Direct care in state institutions for residents, patients or clients
- Safety inspections, licensing or quality assurance inspections of physical spaces or sites
- Trades, maintenance, hardware installation, on-site logistical support for other on-site staff, grounds or custodial work
Supervisors should be able to quickly identify those tasks for the work of their teams. Managers should review and verify those identified tasks and processes, and should refer to the Guiding Principles in the Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery when in doubt.
Agencies must then answer these questions:
- Who performs those tasks or processes?
- How much time do those tasks or processes take to complete?
- Can those tasks be rotated to diminish the requirement for a specific person to be on-site, or is there just one person who can perform that work?
- Why does this employee need to be on-site to perform work?
*Important Note*: Even employees who perform these types of work may still be eligible for some telework. Simply performing work that requires an on-site presence does not mean that they do not also perform work that can be done from anywhere. Be flexible wherever possible.
Fostering a Modern Work Environment
Assess what business objectives, such as some of those listed above, can be met through telework and flexible schedules. Embed those practices in your agency culture and continue them wherever possible. Continue to use feedback from employees and customers to inform what is working or what improvements can be made for success. If an employee doesn’t need to be at a state worksite or work a traditional schedule to perform all or some of their duties, support them achieving their work objectives at their telework site and/or with a flexible schedule.
Data integrity – reviewing and updating position and employee information in the Human Resources Management System
HRMS telework and flexible schedule data can be used to guide decisions about the workforce and about future space use needs. Keeping it current and accurate is important. Agencies are expected to review telework and flexible schedule eligibility designations and make updates to HRMS accordingly. The guidance above is intended to help. HRMS now also allows agencies to document the specific number of days per week that an employee is participating in telework. Assigning the correct telework eligibility designation to the position, and inputting accurate participation information, will help maximize the usefulness of your modern work environment data.