Monday, April 16, 2012

USDA Should Go on Telework?

USDA offices were closed because of a small fire and the resulting cutoff of power, says this Government Executive piece.  I wonder what sort of fallback plans they had in place?  Any?  Or just take leave?


  1. Teleworking is generally encouraged when the HQ complex must be shut down, and as Monday is a telework/work-at-home day for many USDA employees, that would normally have been fine. But because electricity was out to the entire HQ complex because of the fire, the servers were down and remote access to the USDA networks and more critically, email, was not possible. Since so much work is email/Internet based, there wasn't much work that could be done today. At least the weather was nice for USDA employees to enjoy today, :).

  2. A lot of employees did work from home as much as possible so it wasnt a totally lost day workwise.

  3. It made sense to close the Whitten and South Buildings because there was no power (hence no light, a/c, etc.). But closing the Patriot Plaza and GWCC offices which were obviously not physically impacted at all because of "connectivity issues" was absurd. To think that work can't be done without the internet is crazy.

  4. Interesting comments. There was a piece in the Post on the problems either Commerce or Interior, I think Commerce, was having because their servers had been hacked and so they had to revert back to manual methods: fax, snail mail, etc.

    I wonder how the rules apply for administrative leave when the day is a scheduled telework day but some of the necessary infrastructure is down?

  5. All those who were able to telework were expected to work and thus ineligible for administrative leave. But the many USDA employees who were unable to work remotely because of network problems were given administrative leave. Bizarrely, they even gave administrative leave to employees who were on vacation last Monday.

    1. Sounds as if they need some more experience with power outages and telework in order to get their rules reasonable. Likely however that power outages happen for any one agency that it will be another generation before the rules catch.