Federal Records Management

FAQ about Telework

June 6, 2011

General Information

  1. What is the purpose of this FAQ?

    The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 provided for the establishment and implementation of telework policy for Federal employees. As defined in Section 6501(3), "telework" or "teleworking" is "a work flexibility arrangement under which an employee performs the duties and responsibilities of such employee's position, and other authorized activities, from an approved worksite other than the location from which the employee would otherwise work."

    Employees' flexibility to work in locations other than in employees' usual work venues does not require new government-wide records management policies. Federal employees are responsible for managing records generated in the course of their work, regardless of location. This FAQ reiterates basic records management guidance from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to agencies and their employees that applies to Federal records in a telework environment.

  2. What is records management?

    Federal records management is the planning, controlling, directing, organizing, training, promoting, and other managerial activities involved in the records life cycle -- creation, maintenance and use, and disposition. Records management provides for the adequate and proper documentation of the policies and transactions of the Federal Government and effective and economical management of agency operations (44 U.S.C. 2901).

  3. What are my records management responsibilities in a telework environment?

    Federal employees have three basic obligations regarding Federal records:

    a. Create records needed to do the business of their agency, record decisions and actions taken, and document activities for which they are responsible;

    b. Take care of records so that information can be found when needed. This means setting up directories and files, and filing materials (in whatever format) regularly and carefully in a manner that allows them to be safely stored and efficiently retrieved when necessary; and

    c. Carry out the disposition of records under their control in accordance with agency records schedules and Federal regulations.

    Employees also must consider and follow agency-specific policies for managing records that contain personally-identifiable or security-classified information.

  4. Do my records management responsibilities change in a telework environment?

    Federal employees should follow agency policies for managing records in a telework environment, such as returning files to its filing system and managing copies of records created in the course of teleworking. Each agency should incorporate their different security and related needs into their policies. Further, agency policies may depend on approved telework methods (working on agency-supplied laptop computers, using a Virtual Private Network, e-mailing work to and from the telework site, etc.).

    With the exception of agency-specific policies, the general records management responsibilities of a Federal employee do not change in the telework environment. Employees should remember that these responsibilities apply to the management of both federal records as well as non-records, such as reference copies.

  5. My questions weren't addressed in this guidance, who can I ask for further information?

    You should contact your agency records officers for further information about managing Federal records in a telework environment. A list of agency records officers can be found on the NARA web site at http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/agency/officers-lists.html. Your agency's records officer may contact the NARA appraisal archivist with whom your agency normally works. A list of the appraisal contacts is posted on the NARA web site at http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/appraisal/.

  6. What other NARA resources are available?

    NARA has the following resources and related guidance that you may find useful:
    • NARA Regulations - NARA regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) reflects all amendments since the July 1, 1995 revision date of the printed CFR Title 36

    • Frequently Asked Questions About Records Management: Provides a list of FAQs on noteworthy records management topics

    • Records Management Training - NARA has developed records management courses designed to meet the changing Federal recordkeeping environment.

    • Records Express Blog: The official blog of the National Records Management Program (NRMP) at NARA highlights guidance and upcoming events. It also discusses how the NRMP is working with our agency partners to improve records management in the Federal government.