By Barbara Haga, September 14, 2021
This month, we tackle a few other aspects of the work and conduct expectations that I began in last month’s article, in which I tackled work schedules, attendance and other related matters.
INTERNAL WORK REQUIREMENTS. The following standards relate to how work gets done within our organization.
Standards for Work Assignments:
Due Dates: Certain assignments have specific due dates. Sometimes these are recurring items which have due dates such as monthly reports. In addition, various actions and projects will have due dates which may be either immediate or months in advance. Employees are expected to comply with due dates unless an extension has been given for good cause. If there are problems meeting a deadline, you are expected to notify your supervisor sufficiently in advance for alternative arrangements to be implemented to meet the deadline.
Priorities. Depending on the grade of your position, you may be responsible for setting work priorities or that information may come from your supervisor. You are expected to ensure that work is appropriately prioritized within guidelines and to raise issues regarding any competing priorities with your supervisor in advance to ensure timely completion.
Compliance with Directives. In some cases, work assignments are made with specific instructions or directives that explain how the work will be performed. Employees are expected to follow such protocols, directives, or procedures where they have been provided. This is not intended to limit opportunities for improving procedures or adapting to new conditions, but instead to ensure that supervisors are made aware of proposed adjustments in advance.
Files and Records: Any files or records that you develop in the course of your work are the property of the agency.
Sharing Information within the Unit: Staff meetings provide an opportunity for sharing information regarding our organization and our work and are a key ingredient to ensure that everyone on the team is aware of developments and changes that affect us.
Regular attendance at staff meetings is expected. In the event that there is a conflict with another meeting or work commitment, you are expected to notify your supervisor to discuss the conflict prior to the day of the staff meeting.
During staff meetings, you are expected to fully participate and to contribute to the information-sharing within the group. You should prepare as necessary to be ready to engage fully in discussions and to contribute well-thought-out suggestions.
(If status reports are required, include information on due dates/content here). Status reports ensure that your supervisor has up to date information on key parts of each employee’s work that then enables the supervisor to respond when issues arise from senior officials and customers.
E-mail: If you receive an e-mail requesting information or assistance, you are expected to respond within one business day of receipt. If you are not able to satisfy the request within one day, you will acknowledge the request and include an estimate of when you will be able to satisfy the request.
If you are going to be out of the office, you will utilize the auto-reply on your e-mail to alert others to the fact that you will be out for a specific period of time. Your auto-reply message is also to provide an alternate point of contact(s) who is providing coverage in your absence.
Telephone: If you receive a phone call requesting information or assistance, you are expected to respond within one business day of receipt. If you are not able to satisfy the request within one day, you will return the call and provide the caller an estimate of when you will be able to satisfy the request.
If you are going to be out of the office, you will change your greeting to alert others to the fact that you will be out for a specific period of time. Your message is to include an alternate point of contact(s) who is providing coverage in your absence.
Personal Telephone Calls and E-mails. Work time is to be spent performing work activities. Reasonable time for short check-in calls with family or making calls or sending e-mails for personal business that cannot be accomplished outside of work hours are permitted.
Required Training. Employees whose jobs have specific training requirements are expected to complete such training by any established deadline. Training may range from annual IT Security or Ethics Training to continuing education requirements for certain position. Once notified of a due date for training it comes your responsibility to ensure that you comply. Multiple reminders should not be expected. Failure to complete required training on time is grounds for disciplinary action.
Licenses and Certifications. Some jobs include requirements for licenses and certifications. It is incumbent on you to ensure that any continuing education is completed in a timely manner and that any administrative requirements to maintain such a license, certification, or membership are met. Failure to meet these conditions of employment may be grounds for removal.
ON AND OFF-DUTY BEHAVIOR. Federal employees are accountable for behavior both on and off-duty. Off-duty behavior may be a basis for employment action if there is a connection between the behavior and the position.
Off-duty behavior such as egregious sexual misconduct may be grounds for dismissal. Other types of specific off-duty misconduct could impart an employee in a particular type of position or job; for example, an employee whose job requires a license to drive who loses that license because of a DUI conviction may be removed because he/she doesn’t meet a condition of holding the job. Similarly, an attorney who loses membership in the bar would no longer qualify for that position.
Certain jobs may have more stringent requirements than others. Police and investigator positions, for example, are generally held to higher standards since it is their responsibility to enforce laws, testify in legal proceedings, etc. Jobs that are designated as highly sensitive or those who which require security clearances may be held to stricter rules regarding off-duty issues such as indebtedness. Supervisory jobs are also held to a higher standard. Haga@FELTG.com