This is What Work Life Will Be Like at OPM Post Coronavirus

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By on June 1, 2020 in Agency News with 0 Comments
Two employees in an office practicing social distancing; they are wearing gloves and face masks and passing documents to each other while their desks are apart and facing in opposite directions

The Office of Personnel Management has released reopening guidelines for returning its employees to work in their offices after the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The guidelines follow the White House’s Opening Up America Again framework as well as the Office of Management and Budget guidance on returning federal employees to work in an office environment.

OPM’s memo follows a three-phased approach just like the aforementioned guidelines suggest. Phases 1 and 2 look largely the same in terms of processes and procedures suggested, but in phase 3 the guidelines note that unrestricted staffing of worksites can resume.

This is a summary of some of the processes and procedures OPM is outlining for its employees to return to work in their offices:

  • Telework is encouraged, particularly for employees with dependent care concerns or whose parking options are still disrupted by the coronavirus situation
  • Strongly consider special accommodations for personnel who are members of a vulnerable population, who are caring for dependents who are members of a vulnerable population, and/or have childcare or transportation needs
  • Common areas will be closed to prevent employees from socializing; otherwise strict social distance guidelines would be enforced on employees
  • Food services can resume but with to-go options only
  • Personal protective equipment will be provided for security staff, people who interface with the public, and staff who provide service to building occupants
  • Open work spaces that do not allow at least six feet between employees may require that employees work onsite in shifts if possible or may require other mitigation strategies
  • Signs will be put up telling people to stay apart and wash their hands as well as report symptoms

A copy of OPM’s reopening guidelines is included below.

Returning to OPM Facilities Plan

© 2020 Ian Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ian Smith.


About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.