OPM alerts employees today on early-release options tomorrow.
As another winter storm that could disrupt travel approaches the Washington, D.C., region, the Office of Personnel Management is trying to get word out today that feds may be able to telework. OPM is trying to head off a repeat of last week, when a crippling afternoon snowstorm rapidly deteriorated travel conditions and left some commuters trapped in their cars for more than 12 hours.
In a news release issued today, OPM officials said, "Now is the time for managers and employees to discuss the possibility of working from home on Tuesday. Uncertain weather conditions could extend through Wednesday. OPM will update the operating status as needed and appropriate. This may include a delayed arrival on Tuesday morning. OPM will continue to monitor conditions closely and will make that decision as soon as possible. Please follow your local news and www.opm.gov/status closely for updates."
Meanwhile, feds are telling us that the two-hour early departure last week wasn't all that helpful, and while OPM Director John Berry had said on the radio that feds with telework arrangements could leave even earlier, many employees never got the message.
"Left work at 4:30 from Silver Spring MD. Heading up 29N. Got home well after 1:00 in the morning and then had to shovel out my parking space," wrote one commenter. "Precipitation wasn't that bad, never did find out what STARTED the blockage on 29, but then the slush piled up and everyone ground to a halt for hours. No police, no plows - it was chaos."
"The telework option was not circulated where I work. People were encouraged to follow the early leave dismissal," wrote another commenter. "I left ahead of the storm and did not get caught in the worst of the commute. Others who left about the same time did get caught because they live further away than I do. I teleworked the next day."
Another commenter warned that some agencies may be maintaining the inflexible policies that prevented some feds from teleworking during the major snowstorms of December 2009 and February 2010. "I am teleworking two days a week due to a medical condition. Here's the kicker. I am NOT allowed to alter my schedule for any reason other than training or management's discretion, weather is not a reason."