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Understand

Mobile work is an authorized working arrangement where employees perform all or part of their regular work away from their official workstation. You are encouraged to create a policy to define mobile work for your agency. At DES, mobile work is defined as a method of working that isn't tied to a single physical location and is dependent on technology to connect the employee to the services and networks required to do their job effectively. Some examples are teleworking, hoteling, and remote work.

Telework is a mode of mobile work where the employee performs their job from a home office.

While mobile work decisions (approve, suspend, and cancel) are usually made jointly by a supervisor and employee, mobile work is not an employee right – it is a benefit. Each supervisor is responsible for managing the workload and performance of their staff.

Numerous benefits can be realized from mobile working when it becomes part of an organization's culture, operating philosophy and processes. Agency staff may need to change their perception and definition of the workplace and leadership must ensure the agency has the right tools to fully support moving the work to the worker, as opposed to moving the worker to the work.

Position:

A suitable position is defined as a position that has responsibilities that can be, at any given time, conducted from a remote location without affecting service quality or organizational operations. This analysis is based on the work to be done, not on the employee.

Determine suitability of a position by asking:

  • Can any of the job duties be done anywhere other than the office?
  • Yes = Suitable  No = Unsuitable

Or

  • Does the position require daily 100% on-site performance of work?
  • Yes = Suitable  No = Unsuitable

Employee:

Mobile working may be available to both positions and employees who meet the qualifying requirements. Mobile working involves hard work, dedication and adjustment.

Employees with a high level of independence are generally more suitable for mobile work.

Consider the following criteria when determining employee participation:

  • Absence from the official worksite will not be detrimental to the group's productivity, customer needs, or have a negative impact on other employees' working conditions;
  • The employee is accessible to their supervisor;
  • There are no current or documented performance issues;
  • Mobile work is operationally feasible;
  • There is no loss of production or performance;
  • It is voluntary;
  • If a position is in a bargaining unit, it does not change the terms and conditions of employment nor the provisions of collective bargaining agreement.

To discover more about mobile/telework suitability, check out the Office of Financial Management's (OFM) "Telework Suitability tool."

OFM has created a "Managing Mobile Employees" guide. This will offer advice, best practice and tools for your consideration.

For policy assistance, please contact Laurie Pate at laurie.pate@des.wa.gov or your assigned DES Human Resources Business Partner.