How to efficiently work from home as a federal employee

This content is sponsored by WAEPA.

We are in unprecedented times, and now more than ever, people are forced to work through the quarantine by doing what they can form the comfort of home. Working from home, or teleworking, is one of the only ways most of us are still working, but it can be tough to remain productive and keep your manager’s faith through all of these changes. Here are some tips to help keep you productive while you work through the quarantine!

Teleworking Basics

Telework regulations and laws have been in place for federal employees since 2000 and are focused around retaining productivity while providing the freedom for employees to work remotely. These laws and regulations have been growing over the past 20 years, but their main function is to allow federal employees the ability to work efficiently from wherever they choose.

These laws were further bolstered with the signing of The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010. This act outlined and established metrics of success for individual roles to ensure that there was still full accountability while employees telework. With these regulations in place, federal employees can now work remotely easier than ever before.

How To Be A Productive Teleworker

Working from home or remotely can be difficult. There are distractions ranging from smartphones to pets and family members, and if you aren’t focused, you could find yourself quickly falling behind on your work. The first thing you need to do is to know and address all questions toward your Telework Managing Officer or TMO. Your TMO will help make sure that you are hitting your goals, staying on track, and have the support you need to succeed.

Make sure that you know your telework policy and procedures, including applicable collective bargaining agreements. By knowing your agency’s policies and procedures, you can easily set yourself up for success as you transition to working remotely. Ensure that you have all of the machinery and technology you need to thrive in your position and if you don’t contact your TMO immediately. If you aren’t sure that you have everything that you need, do a quick self-assessment to see if you are falling behind or missing anything that you need to succeed.

If you are a manager, you need to take the time to ensure that you understand your agency’s emergency plan, implement telework rules to your best extent, and establish robust lines of communication. Managing a large team from afar can be difficult, but you need to make sure that you establish realistic metrics for success for each and every one of your employees.


Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions on telecommuting and the functions around it:

How do I get my manager to trust me while teleworking?

The key difference between the telework relationship and the in-office relationship is your manager cannot see what you are doing when you are working at home. It all comes down to trust. You can take a number of simple steps to earn your manager’s trust by:

  • Completing work assignments on time
  • Pitching in to help when needed (it is important to continue to be a team player even when teleworking)
  • Volunteering for projects
  • Working independently without the need for close supervision
  • Keeping your supervisor and co-workers informed about what you are working on and what you have accomplished

Can I use my own computer?

The answer will depend largely on the requirements of your individual agency, the agency telework policy, and your manager. The telework agreement should specify what equipment and/or expenses will be covered by the agency, employee, or shared.

Are business phone calls from the home reimbursable?

Yes. For specific information about what expenses are reimbursable under your agency telework policy please refer to your agency telework policy, contact your agency telework coordinator, or visit your agency HR Department.

If you have more questions or want to learn more about how you can efficiently telework for your federal job, WAEPA has helpful guides here!

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