Mobile Work


Mobile work is an authorized working arrangement where employees perform all or part of their regular work away from their official workstation. You are encouraged to create a policy to define mobile work for your agency. At DES, mobile work is defined as a method of working that isn't tied to a single physical location and is dependent on technology to connect the employee to the services and networks required to do their job effectively. Some examples are teleworking, hoteling, and remote work.

Telework is a mode of mobile work where the employee performs their job from a home office.

While mobile work decisions (approve, suspend, and cancel) are usually made jointly by a supervisor and employee, mobile work is not an employee right – it is a benefit. Each supervisor is responsible for managing the workload and performance of their staff.

Why Mobile work?

Numerous benefits can be realized from mobile working when it becomes part of an organization's culture, operating philosophy and processes. Agency staff may need to change their perception and definition of the workplace and leadership must ensure the agency has the right tools to fully support moving the work to the worker, as opposed to moving the worker to the work.

Participating in mobile work?


A suitable position is defined as a position that has responsibilities that can be, at any given time, conducted from a remote location without affecting service quality or organizational operations. This analysis is based on the work to be done, not on the employee.

Determine suitability of a position by asking:

  • Can any of the job duties be done anywhere other than the office?
  • Yes = Suitable No = Unsuitable


  • Does the position require daily 100% on-site performance of work?
  • Yes = Suitable No = Unsuitable


Mobile working may be available to both positions and employees who meet the qualifying requirements. Mobile working involves hard work, dedication and adjustment.

Employees with a high level of independence are generally more suitable for mobile work.

Consider the following criteria when determining employee participation:

  • Absence from the official worksite will not be detrimental to the group's productivity, customer needs, or have a negative impact on other employees' working conditions;
  • The employee is accessible to their supervisor;
  • There are no current or documented performance issues;
  • Mobile work is operationally feasible;
  • There is no loss of production or performance;
  • It is voluntary;
  • If a position is in a bargaining unit, it does not change the terms and conditions of employment nor the provisions of collective bargaining agreement.

To discover more about mobile/telework suitability, check out the Office of Financial Management's (OFM) "Telework Suitability tool."

How do I manage a mobile workforce?

OFM has created a "Managing Mobile Employees" guide. This will offer advice, best practice and tools for your consideration.

Tips for Working at Home:

Ergonomic Self-Assessment of your Home Station:

Creating the perfect workstation at home doesn't have to be difficult. Just remember to follow these guidelines to make sure your posture is not negatively impacted.

Not sure your home telework station is set up correctly? Use this ergonomic self-assessment checklist to see if you need to make changes.

Tips for working at home during COVID-19

Internet Usage:

As we transition to teleworking during the COVID-19 situation, and more schools and businesses shift to teleworking and remote learning, it’s important to know how your home internet is being used. Netflix, Spotify, Skype, and similar services all require an internet connection, and with a lot of us being home with our families, these are likely using a lot of bandwidth.

If your connection seems slow, run this simple test to see how much bandwidth you’re using. "High-speed" is a download speed of at least 25 Mbps.

We recommend the following ways to reduce bandwidth during work hours to help maintain a good internet connection:

Limit video conferencing as much as possible. If you need to use video, the best times are before 9 a.m. and after 3 p.m., when traffic is lowest.

Avoid sharing large files over email. Use shared folders that can be accessed by others as needed.

Notice about Outbound Emails During COVID-19:

Due to large amounts of email being sent, outbound email from state agencies to providers like Gmail and Yahoo is at capacity and temporarily may not be delivered. If this happens, email will be held for delivery until these providers start accepting email from the State again. Please check your junk or filtered folders and wait a few minutes before resending. For more information, visit WaTech.

Teleworking Out of State
The state has a clear interest in investing workforce funding inside the state of Washington. However, there may be some exceptional circumstances where a state agency decides to allow a state employee to move out of the state of Washington and maintain employment, or even when an agency needs to recruit from beyond Washington's borders. The Out-of-State Telework Guidance attempts to balance the critical goals of finding and retaining the best, most qualified candidates to perform the important work of our state government, while prioritizing the reinvestment of taxpayer dollars back into our Washington state communities.

For policy assistance, please contact Laurie Pate at or your assigned DES Human Resources Business Partner.