Government work, as with work in the private sector, sometimes becomes quite taxing and you may find that you could benefit greatly if you could just take some of your work home with you and work on it there. Not so fast. Before you take anything home from your Government job you need to know the guidelines on doing so to ensure you not only get caught up with your work, but that you don’t get in a heap of trouble in the process.
While there are no official guidelines to follow when taking Government work home with you, here are some general guidelines that should be followed to ensure you are going to be covered:
Ask Your Supervisor
You should never assume that you can simply take your Government work home with you for the night. Remember that as a Government employee, everything that you work with and work on is owned by the Government. That means that certain documents are going to be very sensitive, and must therefore stay safe at all times.
If you wish to take some of your Government work home with you, then you need to get permission to do so. This is easiest to accomplish by going directly to your supervisor. Ask them if you can take home some of your work and explain to them why you wish to do so.
Be Prepared to Show
Your supervisor may say yes or no right away and they may also wish to see what it is you are thinking about taking home with you. So, you should be prepared to show everything to your supervisor that you wish to take home.
If you do receive permission from your supervisor to take some of your Government work home with you, be sure that you only print out what you need or take it home on a storage device and never e-mail it to yourself. While e-mailing documents and files to your personal e-mail might be an easy way to go about getting what you need to your home, it can also comprise the safety of the files and documents. If the wrong people get a hold of the wrong documents, then you could inadvertently be putting the entire country at risk.
It is far better to take the extra time and print out what you need or save it all to a storage device from your Government secured work computer. This ensures maximum safety and allows you to protect the documents and yourself.
Get Final Approval
Once you have everything printed out and/or saved, you should seek final approval from your supervisor. By doing this you are allowing them one last chance to see exactly what you will be transporting to your home to work on. This is an important step as your supervisor may catch something that should not go out, that might have been overlooked when you first discussed taking home the work with them. So, it is kind of a redundant step, but it is also a great fail-safe.
Keep it Safe
You will want to use every possible precaution is taken when transporting any Government work home with you. Again, you will be transporting Government property and you should therefore take every step necessary to ensure that whatever you take with you arrives safely at your home with you. Not that you need to handcuff a briefcase to your wrist, but you should certainly use more precaution than simply throwing everything loosely into a file folder and then tossing the file folder on your back seat.
For Your Eyes Only
Once you successfully and safely transport the Government work to your home you need to be sure to continue to keep it secure. The Government material you will have in your possession should be treated as ‘for your eyes only’ and should not be shared with others. This includes roommates, friends, your children, and even your spouse.
Practice Common Sense
Do not use the Government work that you bring home with you for any other purpose other than what you discussed with your supervisor. Be sure that you follow protocol with loading any files or documents onto your home computer and also when you save anything off of your home computer. Make sure your online backup software does not make and save a copy of the material you are working on. Though you will be doing some of your Government work in the comfort of your own home, you should treat it as though you are still at your Government office and therefore observe all the rules and regulations you normally would.
Return it Safe
Use the same method to transport your Government work back to your Government job as you did when you brought it home. Keep it safe and secure and make sure it is kept organized.
Check All Work In
Whether you did work for ten minutes or ten hours, you should check in all the work that you did at home with your supervisor. This includes any added documents that you may have printed or any new files that you may have created and saved. By checking everything in you will show your supervisor that you did in fact work on what you said you would and you will assure them that you followed the proper protocol when doing so. Additionally, it will help keep you covered just in case.
Government Work at Home – Play it Safe
It can’t be stressed enough that bringing any kind of Government work home without permission is a bad idea. When taking anything that belongs to the Government you need to play it safe and get permission. The same holds true for Government work that you want to take home with you.
By playing it safe and clearing everything with your supervisor, you will guarantee yourself of staying out of trouble. You likely worked extremely hard to obtain the Government job that you have and it is not worth risking the loss of your Government job because you decided to not play it safe and take home Government work without following any kind of simple guidelines.