Rep. Hice calls on IGs to assess telework’s impact on agency performance

US Representative Jody Hice, R-GA, speaks during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on legislative proposals to put the US Postal Service on a sustainable financial footing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on February 24, 2021. (Photo by Graeme Jennings / POOL / AFP) (Photo by GRAEME JENNINGS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., has called on inspectors general to assess the impact of remote working on federal agencies’ missions and the performance of their employees.

In a statement Thursday, Hice said it was “clear” that the increase in the number of federal employees working from home had contributed to delays, inefficiencies, and declines in performance.

“I’m calling on inspectors general to investigate the overall impact telework had on our federal agencies during this pandemic and report back to Congress so we can accurately assess how to move forward before rushing into foolhardy reforms,” the lawmaker said.

The congressman has written to the inspectors general of 10 agencies, including the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security, asking them to look into the impact of mass telework over the past 16 months. Hice is a ranking member on the Subcommittee on Government Operations, which is part of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Agencies across the federal government have been given a July 19 deadline by which they must finalize plans to get staff back into the office, a process that is being overseen by the White House-backed Safer Federal Workforce Task Force.

However, according to new guidance issued as part of the return-to-office program earlier this month, agencies have been instructed to consider embracing a more virtual workforce.

A joint memorandum sent by the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Personnel Management and the General Services Administration said that such a move should be taken “where possible and appropriate.”

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Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
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