Missouri sets remote work rules for state employees

After months of development, state agencies may soon have standardized guidelines for remote working.

Chris Moreland, public information officer for the Office of Administration, said state agencies were working with OA to identify alternative labor standards for all departments.

Departments are discussing standards for providing training, regular in-person meetings, mentors, onboarding and performance metrics for employees working outside of the typical office setting, Moreland said.

“Departments are developing plans that identify positions eligible for alternative work and how they will meet those standards,” Moreland said. “These plans will be reviewed with the governor’s office before they are implemented. “

Kelli Jones, spokesperson for the governor’s office, said some agencies have submitted their distribution work plans to Governor Mike Parson, and they are currently under review.

Distributed work refers to employees working outside the usual offices of a department, including temporary or permanent homework.

Many state employees began working remotely after offices closed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Parson ordered state employees to return to work in person on May 17.

About one in five government employees has been infected with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to data provided by OA earlier this month.

Parson told reporters on Thursday that he hopes some sort of distributive work plan will be implemented in the near future.

Assessing workload and determining the success of remote employees were looming concerns for the governor, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported Thursday.

Jones said none of the plans were approved by Friday afternoon.

Jennifer Battson Warren, deputy director of affairs at the Department of Conservation, said the state agency had yet to finalize a work plan distributed on Wednesday.

The Department of Conservation closed its commission headquarters building from August 17 to 20 after two positive cases of COVID-19 were identified among staff.

Instead of shutting down a single pod or floor where the case was identified, Warren said about 300 employees were fired home for remote work because one of the positive people was working with other employees throughout. the building, so that the potential spread could not be located.

Warren said the Conservation Department regularly had team members working in remote locations due to lack of space to house them or the nature of their work.

“Distribution work and work from remote locations has taken place for the Department of Conservation since its inception,” said Warren. “Our conservation officers, many of our field workers, our fishermen, biologists, foresters, all of these people work in a distributive way because their work is in the field.”

Warren said the department’s work from home policies have the same principles as other state departments, with guidelines for attendance and hours of work that establish basic hours of work.

“Everyone has performance goals to manage their annual job,” Warren said. “So no matter where a person works, we have an attendance and hours policy in place, we have telecommuting agreements that people have to sign if they are somehow remotely. full-time or even part-time status, then annual performance goals that help us manage their individual performance to ensure work gets done. “

The governor has been working with state departments since May, she said, to establish a solid baseline of what distribution work would look like for each agency.

“We are working with all other state agencies to make sure these basic expectations are covered,” Warren said.

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