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Telework Basics

In September 2006, Governor Kaine signed Executive Order Thirty-Five establishing the Office Of Telework Promotion And Broadband Assistance. The Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance resides within the Office of the Secretary of Technology and consists of a director appointed by the Secretary of Technology.
The Executive Order outlines the duties of the director which include, but are not limited to promoting and encouraging the use of telework alternatives for public and private employees, supporting the efforts of both public and private entities within the Commonwealth to enhance or facilitate the deployment of affordable broadband services and advocating for, and facilitating the development and deployment of applications, programs and services that will bolter the usage of and demand for broadband level telecommunications.

How to Get Started

Agency Heads and their respective managers are responsible for implementing telework arrangements as practicable in their departments and in accordance with the Section 2.2-2817.1 of the Code of Virginia and policies and guidelines as set forth by the Department of Human Resource Management’s  Policy 1.61 – Telecommuting.    Following are some guidelines for establishing and implementing a successful telework program.

  • Establish your business goals for implementing teleworking and identify appropriate metrics to measure program success.  Some possible metrics might include:
    • Increased Productivity (e.g., number of cases completed, reports generated, phone calls made, etc.).
    • Lower Operating costs (e.g., reduction in real estate costs).
    • Increased Employee morale (conduct a survey before program begins and periodically thereafter).
    • Reduced cost associated with employee recruitment and retention (work with your HR department to track quantity and quality of applicant pools and turnover).
    • Improved Continuity of Operations Plan, COOP, (difficult to measure but an important benefit of teleworking).
    • Accommodation of persons with disabilities who might not be able to work at your facility otherwise.
    • Community Concerns (traffic mitigation/congestion management/environmental).  Calculate reduction in commute miles traveled.
  • Appoint a telework coordinator to serve as a single point of contact for questions, coordination and fulfilling reporting requirements.
    • Establish your agency telework policy that supports your business goals.  DHRM provides a customizable policy on their website.
  • Start SMALL – initiate a pilot program to test the system
  • Identify the roles best suited for remote work.
    Typically, positions that do not require a high degree of face-to-face interaction are best suited for teleworking.  Activities most suitable for teleworking can include (but are not limited to):
    • Work that requires thinking and writing – Data analysis,
    • Reviewing grants or cases,
    • Writing decisions or reports;
    • Telephone-intensive tasks — setting up a conference, obtaining information, following up on participants in a study
    • Computer-oriented tasks — programming, web page design, data entry, and word processing
  • Determine the technology needed to support the work you plan to do remotely.  For some work, a basic telephone may be the only tool needed, but in other cases the remote worker will need access to the same suite of technology tools they use at the office.  Contact VITA for assistance in making technology tools available remotely.  
    • In-scope (to VITA infrastructure) agencies should contact their assigned VITA Customer Account Manager (CAM).  The director of the CAM division is Judy Marchand.  Debbie can be reached at (804) 416-6126 or via email at Judy.Marchandhampton@Vita.Virginia.Gov .
    • Out-of-scope agencies and those uncertain of their status call the VITA Customer Care Center.  The VCCC will take the call and forward it to someone who can get an answer.  Their toll-free number is: 1-866-637-VITA (8482); the local number is 804-786-3932; their website
      is:; they can also be contacted via email at
  • Create a telework agreement that defines your requirements for communication, productivity, and collaboration. The Department of Human Resource Management provides a template telework agreement as part of  Policy 1.61, Telecommuting.
  • Establish outcome-based performance measures for evaluating teleworker performance. These should be no different than the measures used for in-office staff.
  • Discuss your expectations and concerns with managers and employees. These items should be addressed in a signed telework agreement; however it is important for the manager and employee to fully understand the arrangement and its meaning:
    • How will the manager know the employee is present? (Signing in, signing off procedures may be needed.)
    • How will the manager know the work is being accomplished?
    • What technologies will be used to maintain contact?
    • What equipment is the agency providing? What equipment is the teleworker providing?
    • Who provides technical assistance in the event of equipment disruption?
    • What will the weekly/monthly telework schedule be? How will the manager and co-workers be kept updated about the schedule? Do changes need to be pre-approved?
    • What will the daily telework schedule be? Will the hours be the same as in the main office, or will they be different?
    • What are the physical attributes of the telework office, and do they conform to basic safety standards? (Use a safety checklist.)
    • What are the expectations for availability (phone, e-mail, etc.)?
    • What is the expectation regarding the amount of notice (if any) given for reporting to the official worksite, and how will such notice be provided?
    • How is a telework agreement terminated by management or an employee?
  • Establish procedures for communicating with coworkers and customers.
    Set a schedule for reviewing and evaluating the systems, policies, and processes

Just Do it

Starting a Telework program may be a little challenging at first. However, very quickly you can find that it simply becomes another way you do business. By starting small, you can gain the benefits of teleworking right away and can work through the minor problems which will come up from time to time. Some of the largest resistance to teleworking may come from middle managers. Have them review various resources and attend an appropriate training course. Most importantly, reinforce your agency’s commitment to teleworking, and encourage them to let their staff telework and even try it themselves, if only for one day a month.