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OPM to agency bosses: Patience please

By Ed O'Keefe

As federal offices in the Washington region return to normal status on Wednesday, the Office of Personnel Management has asked agency bosses for patience and understanding as workers balance tough commutes, kids in and out of school and backlogged workloads after the recent snowstorms.

"As we return to normal operations tomorrow, please convey to your managers and supervisors that there may be continuing situations where federal employees are facing difficulties in returning to work, or returning to work on time," OPM's Kathryn Medina said Tuesday afternoon in an e-mail to federal human resources officials. "We ask that they be mindful of these circumstances and attempt to utilize as much flexibility as is appropriate in handling these situations on a case-by-case basis, until the snow is no longer an impediment."

Medina serves as OPM's executive director of the Chief Human Capital Officers Council, which handles HR issues for the federal government.

Washington area federal offices haven't operated at full operating status since Feb. 4. OPM has said that many federal workers teleworked during the recent storms and will soon ask agency chief information officers for hard numbers to back up those claims. The new data will help OPM draft new estimates on lost productivity costs resulting from delays and closures.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 17, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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Fed works are such babies.

Posted by: support6 | February 17, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

But we do know how to spell.

Posted by: iluvkay | February 17, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Glad to see this because my child's schools are still on a 2 hour delayed schedule. My job is really good about working with me when it comes to the school issue. I make it my business to always be at work and be the first one in everyday. So when situations like these arise they are really flexible with me. People forget we may work in the city or in northern Virginia but we commute from way out. The last 4 stops at the above ground subway stations by me were closed up until last Friday as well as Metro bus. My street is still full of ice and snow today. So I think it was smart to close the government last week. Not everyone lives in DC or near an underground subway station.

Posted by: enewton | February 17, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

enewton, that's great. work out your issues with your boss. the whole fed gov't doesn't need to be closed down because you want your mcmansion 200 miles away. try living within your means. oh, i forgot, you worked from home 12 hours each day during the storm. and you also work more than 8 hours each day and don't bill the feds for that either.

if 200,000 feds were out of work for a week and business went on as usual then they aren't needed. bye bye

Posted by: support6 | February 17, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

If your six-year old can't report to school until 10 am and you're supposed to be to work at 9:00 am, common sense would say that your child comes first. That's not whining; that's life. I'm glad that this administration recognizes that managers should be mindful of family/life situations. Contrary to popular opinion, it does not breed ineptitude, but it does allow government employees peace of mind to handle family issues so they can they concentrate fully on their jobs.

Posted by: teejackson_93 | February 17, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse


Whos says they have a mcmansion? I live in the district, a block from a metro station (above ground). Metro canceled the only bus route through our neighborhood, the red line continues to have delays, and streets/sidewalks still are not cleared (mostly by these so-called churches that are in residential houses). So, its not just people that live outside DC that have troubles with their commute. My guess is that you are some low paid hourly worker that missed out on a paycheck. We Feds actually do work, and at least our employer works with us during crisis periods.

Posted by: Aimhigh2000 | February 17, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Who works for who? I believe you work for the taxpayers, the taxpayers do not work for you. Your elitism is offensive.

"My guess is that you are some low paid hourly worker that missed out on a paycheck."

One day their will be a revolt and the lazy, overpaid, do nothing feds will be the first ones to go.

Posted by: support6 | February 17, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The last lane should read "there" not "their."

Posted by: support6 | February 17, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

These suggestions contradict the government's pay for attendance system.

I am glad to read that flexibility will no longer be advised once the snow is gone.

Posted by: member5 | February 17, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

support6, revolt is a verb.

I'm assuming you are a "low paid hourly worker", as you didn't contest to it. I'll also assume that you hate your boss, otherwise you wouldn't really care how fed-heads go about treating their employees.

Don't worry though; with your communication skills, you're bound to land a better job in no time at all.

Posted by: steampunk | February 17, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

steampunk, i enjoy my job plenty, thanks.

Posted by: wpjunk | February 17, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

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