For second time in a week, federal offices in D.C. region closed

Federal employees in the National Capital Region were told to stay put for a second time this week as another wave of cold winter weather moved across eastern portions of the U.S. and threatened the D.C. area with several inches of snowfall Friday morning.

The Office of Personnel Management said Thursday evening that federal offices in the Washington D.C. region would be closed Friday. “Emergency” employees — those who know ahead of time that they must work regardless of weather, are still expected to report for duty on Friday.

WTOP, Federal News Network’s sister station, is predicting 2-to-4 inches of snow starting around 10 p.m. Thursday through 2 a.m. on Friday.

This is the second winter storm this week to close down federal offices in the DC metro area. On Monday, OPM closed federal offices as anywhere from 5-to-12 inches of snow fell in the region.

And the vast swath of the workforce that’s already teleworking because of COVID-19 is still expected work as usual.

OPM announced the closure after the National Weather Service posted a winter storm warning for the area, including Washington, D.C., most of northern Virginia and the suburban Maryland counties around the nation’s capital.

The initial forecast called for up to  four inches of snow by overnight Thursday into Friday morning. For updated forecasts and other area closures, stay tuned to our colleagues at WTOP and WTOP.com.

Because of the high proportion of the workforce already teleworking because of COVID-19, it’s unclear how many employees will be affected by Friday’s closure.

In its most recent report to Congress, OPM said 50% of the total federal workforce was deemed telework-eligible by their agencies in fiscal year 2020, and of those employees, 90% actively teleworked. Overall, 45% of all federal employees teleworked in 2020.

But the office cautioned those relatively outdated figures may not have been an accurate governmentwide snapshot, since agencies were reporting data to OPM at the very same time they were changing telework rules and definitions in response to the pandemic.

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