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Telecommuting

This page provides information on local government telecommuting and remote work policies in Washington State, including links to regulations, examples and recommended resources.

For information regarding implementation of telecommuting programs in response to the COVID-19 emergency, see our FAQ: What are the best practices for implementing a telecommuting program? Below are examples of policies, including temporary telecommuting agreements.



Overview

Telecommuting, teleworking, and remote work programs allow employees to work from home (or at a neighborhood telework office) rather than commuting daily to a more distant work site. Telecommuting has experienced significant growth in recent years as technology has progressed, and many agencies are re-thinking their teleworking policies following their experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic that required many employees to work from home for an extended period of time.

Reasons for telecommuting's popularity include: increased production, more flexibility in the workplace, decreased sick leave, decreased turnover, reduced office space needs, the ability to attract or retain talented employees outside of the normal commute radius, and less pollution and traffic congestion from people driving to work.

Many telecommuters work part-time in the office and part-time at home, but some may work mostly or entirely remotely. Though telecommuting also comes with challenges and is not for everyone, local governments and other organizations can create telecommuting programs that increase productivity, flexibility, and improve the bottom line.

The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 was signed into law in December 2010. Federal agencies are the primary focus of the legislation, although the act may be an example for local action. The act requires covered federal agencies to develop a formal telework policy, and teleworkers must be given equal treatment in performance appraisals, work environments, and other areas.


Examples of Policies

Below are examples of telecommuting policies and documents adopted by local governments in Washington State. Some of the policies are general in nature, while others address temporary telecommuting due to unique situations such as public health emergencies.

General Telecommuting Policies

Cities

  • Bothell Telecommuting Policy (2008) – Sets out eligibility requirements, responsibilities, and regulations.
  • Duvall Telecommuting Policy and Request Form (2020) – Encourages, where appropriate, the use of telecommuting in order to attract and retain a diverse and talented workforce; also allows for selective telecommuting status based on public health and safety recommendations and measures.
  • Kent Telecommuting Policy (2021) – Detailed telecommuting policy, enacted following the city's experience with COVID-19. Includes discussion of eligibility and different types of arrangements; also includes telecommute agreement and telecommute review checklists to determine eligibility and safety of the telecommute location
  • Renton Telecommuting Policy, Application Form, Agreement, and Checklist (2019) –  Telework/telecommuting policy for staff who have been employed at least 12 months; includes arrangements for informal/ad-hoc telework as well as routine telework. For routine teleworkers, includes telework application, agreement, and checklist
  • Shoreline Remote Work Survey (2021) – Survey questions to gauge staff feedback on remote work and telecommuting, in an effort for the city to provide for regular and ongoing remote work opportunities in the future
  • Vancouver Telecommuting Policy (2011)

Counties

Temporary Telecommuting

The forms and agreements below were all developed to allow temporary telecommuting during the 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


Recommended Resources

Below are some resources to help organizations develop or implement their telecommuting policies.


Last Modified: May 19, 2021