Bloomberg, IRS Dangles Telework to Lure New Recruits to Beleaguered Agency:
The IRS is in the midst of a return-to-office effort that will offer many employees the option to telework some or most of the time, something agency officials and union leaders view as an asset in recruiting.
The Covid-19 pandemic forced the agency to close its offices for several months in 2020. While employees tasked with processing paper tax returns and other documents have been working in-person for the last two years, many other employees have continued to work remotely.
The IRS is taking a phased approach to bringing everyone back to the office, which started in late April with members of leadership coming in at least once per pay period. As of May 8, employees without formal telework agreements were required to return to the office, and other employees could do so voluntarily.
“We’re starting to see increased foot traffic in our buildings again,” Geralda Larkins, project director of return to office at the IRS, said in an interview.
Normal operations are scheduled to begin on June 25, when employees will need to follow the specific rules of their telework agreements, including whether they need to be in-office a certain number of days each pay period or need to telework within a certain distance of their office.
The return-to-office effort comes at the agency tries to fill thousands of open jobs, from entry-level jobs at processing centers and agency help lines to a new leadership role focused on improving taxpayer experience. Like many employers during “The Great Resignation,” recruiting and retention is a challenge for the IRS, but agency leaders view expanded remote work flexibility as a recruiting tool for many roles.
“We recognize that flexibilities make us competitive with other agencies and the private sector, and so we do continue to promote our flexibilities to make sure we are staying competitive,” Larkins said.