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Nuclear Summit Brings Telework Directive

Federal workers are urged to work remotely to minimize traffic snarls this week, a signal of government's growing acceptance for teleworking.
Federal employees who work in downtown Washington were encouraged to telework Monday and Tuesday to avoid a traffic snarl likely to be caused by the Nuclear Security Summit. The move shows the Obama administration's increasing support of teleworking.

At the Nuclear Security Summit, President Barack Obama is meeting with the top leaders of more than 40 nations in a meeting that represents one of the world's largest gatherings of heads of state.

Because of the significance of the people attending the summit, downtown Washington will be full of road closures, transit changes, and travel disruptions to accommodate security and motorcades, the Office of Personnel and Management warned in a memo last week.

The memo advised federal employees to avoid coming into the office either by teleworking, commuting at different hours, or even taking leave during the two days of the summit.

"OPM strongly urges the use of telework and alternative work schedules to keep the Government operating while helping to minimize traffic congestion and unproductive time during the nuclear security summit," according to the memo, issued by OPM director John Barry.

The Federal government has been warming up to the idea of teleworking, particularly under the Obama administration.

When Washington was hit with two major blizzards in quick succession in February and government offices were closed for a week, people who could telework were encouraged to do so.

In fact, in remarks made last month in a public appearance, new General Services Administration head Martha Johnson cited the success of teleworking during those blizzards to demonstrate how the GSA is being more innovative in its use of technology.

Sixty percent of GSA employees logged in remotely or worked from home during the blizzards, she said. Johnson herself was even sworn into office over the phone because she could not get into the office due to snow.