Coronavirus, Telework, and the GSA Schedule
7 Ways the GSA Schedule Can Help Agencies Endure COVID-19
With concerns growing over coronavirus (COVID-19) and the World Health Organization declaring a pandemic – companies, agencies, and even schools are looking to obtain sanitation solutions and optimize remote options to adhere to “social distancing” suggestions. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has been providing guidance and information on programs available to help federal agencies deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including telework arrangements.
However you refer to it — telework, remote work, work from home — the concept of working remotely is not new. According to a guide posted on OPM’s Telework.gov website, the federal government has been cultivating a telework policy since at least 2000. While many aspects are left to the discretion of each agency, The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, addresses and sets guidelines for federal telework programs, including the establishment of policies and agreements, eligibility and participation, and training. The act requires each agency designate a Telework Managing Officer and submit annual reports on their remote programs.
The 2018 “Status of Telework in the Federal Government Report to Congress” shows that approximately half of federal agencies reported 50% or more of employees participated in teleworking during fiscal year 2017. The chart below includes fiscal year 2017 statistics for federal agencies with 1,000 or more employees that reported teleworking statistics.
Agency Telework Participation in FY 2017
|Agency||# of Employees||# Eligible to Telework||# Teleworking||% of Eligible Teleworking||% of Employees Teleworking|
|National Science Foundation||1,488||1,488||1,379||93.00%||93.00%|
|Securities and Exchange Commission||4,599||4,580||4,184||91.00%||91.00%|
|Equal Employment Opportunity Commission||2,067||–||1,859||–||90.00%|
|Federal Energy Regulatory Commission||1,460||1,420||1,251||88.00%||86.00%|
|General Services Administration||11,488||11,282||9,398||83.00%||82.00%|
|Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation||6,236||6,015||4,997||83.00%||80.00%|
|Environmental Protection Agency||15,152||15,124||11,895||79.00%||79.00%|
|Federal Communications Commission||1,409||–||1,098||–||78.00%|
|Department of Labor||15,202||15,146||11,698||77.00%||77.00%|
|Department of Housing and Urban Development||7,837||6,649||5,405||81.00%||68.97%|
|Nuclear Regulatory Commission||3,258||3,258||2,200||68.00%||68.00%|
|Federal Trade Commission||1,141||986||735||75.00%||64.00%|
|Consumer Financial Protection Bureau||1,641||1,181||1,017||86.00%||61.97%|
|Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency||1,174||1,145||709||62.00%||60.00%|
|Agency for International Development||3,668||2,440||1,919||79.00%||52.00%|
|Department of the Treasury||96,058||53,059||45,843||86.00%||48.00%|
|Department of Health and Human Services||85,842||52,985||40,333||76.00%||47.00%|
|Department of Energy||14,832||13,954||6,095||44.00%||41.00%|
|Patent and Trademark Office||12,609||11,893||5,151||43.00%||41.00%|
|Social Security Administration||61,971||31,381||25,177||80.00%||41.00%|
|Department of Agriculture||94,286||62,744||32,277||51.00%||34.00%|
|Department of Transportation||54,843||25,985||18,692||72.00%||34.00%|
|National Aeronautics and Space Administration||2,902||1,077||976||91.00%||34.00%|
|National Credit Union Administration||1,153||458||357||78.00%||31.00%|
|Small Business Administration||5,324||2,465||1,559||63.00%||29.00%|
|Department of State||24,520||17,149||5,025||29.00%||20.00%|
|Department of Defense||785,751||365,946||121,080||33.00%||15.00%|
|Department of Homeland Security||199,674||60,136||27,069||45.00%||14.00%|
|Department of Veterans Affairs||391,210||49,144||31,404||64.00%||8.00%|
|Department of Justice||115,644||38,144||8,338||22.00%||7.00%|
|Tennessee Valley Authority||10,092||10,092||340||3.00%||3.00%|
GSA Schedule Solutions for Teleworking & Coronavirus
The GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Contract, also referred to as the GSA Schedule, can serve as a resource for agencies looking to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 through both teleworking and sanitation solutions. Below are just a few ways companies on the GSA Schedule can help agencies throughout the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
❶ Telework Training – The GSA Schedule Professional Services category (formerly MOBIS) includes companies that can help your agency understand and effectively implement requirements of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010.
❷ Telework Consulting – Agencies can also use the GSA Schedule Professional Services category to find consultants that can help you assess and improve upon existing telework programs.
❸ Telework Equipment – From cables, printers, modems, and laptops, to teleconferencing and VPN network security equipment, the GSA IT Large Category provides access to electronic equipment employees need to work remote. The IT Hardware and Software categories under the GSA IT Schedule 70 (which is now the IT Large Category) are even designated as a Best-in-Class (BIC) solution. GSA also offers an online purchasing tool for desktops and laptops under the GSA Schedule as part of a Governmentwide Strategic Solution (GSS).
❹ IT Services for Telework Infrastructure and Security – Beyond the physical equipment, agencies need access to cloud based solutions, wireless mobility solutions, software, cybersecurity, electronic credentialing services, and general IT consulting to run an effective and protected telework program. GSA Schedule contractors under the IT Large Category can provide all these solutions at pre-negotiated rates approved by GSA.
❺ Web-Based Training – Federal agencies can use the GSA Schedule Contract to acquire web-based training courses for their employees, whether they are in the office or making the best use of time working remote. Approximately 1,000 companies offer various professional and management development training through the GSA Professional Services Large Category, some of which can be provided remotely via the web. In fiscal year 2019, agencies spent more than $281 million through what was formerly known as the MOBIS training category.
❻ Telemental Health – There are companies on the GSA Schedule category, “Social Services, Professional Counseling and Veterans’ Readjustment & Behavioral Health Services,” that provide telemental health counseling to allow patients to get the care they need while maintaining social distancing.
❼ Office Cleaning Supplies – While some agencies are expanding telework programs during the COVID-19 outbreak, not all employees are eligible to work remote. Agencies can use the GSA Schedule to purchase supplies like hand sanitizer, soap, and antibacterial wipes to help combat the spread of the coronavirus. In fiscal year 2019, government buyers spent more than $4.5 million through the GSA Schedule on disinfectants alone.
Need Information on How to Purchase through the GSA Schedule?
FEDSched is a private company, that helps businesses obtain and manage their GSA Schedule Contracts. For information on how to purchase through the GSA Schedule, visit GSA’s website at https://www.gsa.gov/buying-selling/new-to-gsa-acquisitions/how-to-buy-through-gsa
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