The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requested that the Academy review its telework program to ensure that management controls and programmatic goals are effective and aligned with the Agency’s mission. This entailed a two-part review of the telework program, including:
To conduct this review, the Academy assembled an expert Panel of five Fellows. These individuals brought a diverse background in federal service and academia, as well as an extensive knowledge of management and operational standards of personnel, and knowledge of how to manage a dispersed workforce.
Over the course of the nine-month review, the Panel received broad input from a wide range of external and internal stakeholders, including USPTO executives and employee groups. As part of this review, the Academy team also surveyed all Supervisory Patent Examiners (SPEs) to develop a current picture of the supervisor’s perspective on whether recent training and policy improvements have been beneficial to the USPTO.
The Panel determined that the telework program has provided important benefits to the USPTO, including saving money, enhancing employee quality of life, potentially increasing recruitment and retention, and ensuring on-going work during emergencies. The Panel found that the USPTO has the controls in place to manage time and attendance for both on-site workers and teleworkers. The Panel recommended that the USPTO continue its Telework and Hoteling Programs, while enhancing oversight mechanisms and strengthening its management practices.
The Panel issued over 30 recommendations on how the USPTO could further enhance the telework program, including: