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Lankford Chairs Hearing on Lessons Learned from Federal Telework Processes during COVID-19 Pandemic

CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s Q&A.

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today chaired a hearing of the Homeland Security Committee Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management entitled, “Modernizing Federal Telework: Moving Forward Using the Lessons Learned During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” to speak to federal agency leaders to help Congress assess how executive agencies viewed telework before COVID-19, which adjustments they made in the midst of the pandemic, and which telework strategies they plan to implement in the future based on what they have learned. On July 28, Lankford chaired the first hearing on this topic that focused on private-sector best practices for teleworking.

Testimony for today’s hearing was provided by leaders from the Department of Transportation, Social Security Administration, Government Accountability Office, and Department of Labor. Lankford’s questions throughout the hearing focused on the impacts of teleworking on management success, the impact of teleworking on productivity, the cyber security infrastructure needed to telework safely, and onboarding hurdles with virtual-only workers. Lankford encouraged the witnesses to communicate their ongoing regulatory issues and process issues with the Committee to work on real solutions.

Excerpts from Lankford’s Opening Remarks

Lankford: “It’s been a decade since the last significant piece of federal telework legislation with the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010—it set the baseline standard for federal agencies to follow for telework. And in the last 10 years, we’ve seen great advances in technology, workforce expectations, and an increase in cybersecurity threats. With so many changes in the world, it makes sense to take a look at look at the current telework policies and strategies within the federal workforce. The current pandemic has acting as magnifying glass for telework policy improvement…”

Lankford: “The pandemic has been extremely disruptive to all of our lives, and I’m hopeful we can use these challenging times to shine a light on telework processes and find long-term solutions that provide real value for federal agencies and their employees. As I stated in the first hearing, there’re some very important telework questions that I believe need clarity on in order for us to chart a clear path forward for the federal workforce. For example, how do we best prepare employees so that during a future disaster or pandemic they can seamlessly transition into a federal workforce policy? How do we effectively train managers to stay engaged and to monitor performance of remote workers? What tasks could be permanently telework, which would open up opportunities to hire anyone anywhere in the country?…”