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Coronavirus, Telework, and the GSA Schedule

Coronavirus (COVID-19), 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.

Federal Teleworking

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 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%
Peace Corps 1,029 1,029  293 28.00% 28.00%
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?

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Need to Obtain a GSA Schedule to Provide Solutions to the Federal Government?

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