Management

Pentagon to begin returning employees to the office

Offices in the Pentagon Reservation will begin June 15 to bring back some employees that had previously been ordered to stay home, as the agency moves into phase one of its reopening plan.

That first phase will bring back only a limited number of staff and reopen select entrances of the building that had once been closed.

“Many of you have been away for months and returning to the various buildings may look and feel different. We have put in place a number of measures to support the Secretary of Defense’s number one priority of protecting you, our DoD workforce, as well as your families,” DoD Chief Management Officer Lisa Hershman wrote in a June 10 memo to staff.

According to phase one guidance, organizations should plan to have no more than 40 percent of their staff in the office, while at least 60 percent remain on telework. That telework and other work flexibilities should be maximized for employees in vulnerable populations.

For those employees that do return to the office, social distancing of six feet or more will be mandatory wherever possible, and cloth face coverings will be required for any situation where that distancing cannot be maintained. Gatherings of employees are also capped at 10 people.

Prior to returning to the office, the Pentagon has asked employees to take their temperatures each morning and stay home if that temperature is at or above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or if they are exhibiting symptoms of illness. Employees and contractors will have their temperature tested at random at facility entrances.

The food court will only provide limited offerings during phase one and athletic facilities will remain closed. Some work spaces will also be reconfigured to maintain social distancing within limited spaces.

“These are just the first steps in our phased return to normal operations. Leaders and supervisors should have a plan specific for their organization on how and when their workforce is returning to workplaces in accordance with the Pentagon Reservation Resilience Plan. Please talk to your supervisor for what phase one means for you,” Hershman wrote.

The executive branch has offered no concrete deadlines for federal agencies on the whole to return employees to the office, instructing leadership to instead base their three-phase reopening timelines on the current reopening plans for the states and localities in which those offices are located.

Agencies like the IRS have moved more rapidly to return personnel to the office as pressures like tax filing deadlines have required more in-person employees.

The Pentagon Reservation is located in Northern Virginia, which plans to enter phase two of its reopening plan June 12. Washington, D.C., has not set a specific date for its second phase of reopening, but officials have said that such a determination would not be made until June 19.

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