Work from home extended for state employees

The doors of the state Capitol were closed to the public on March 16, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The about 23,000 state employees who have been working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic will be doing so for another month.

According to a memo from the state Department of Human Resources, the work from home arrangement has been extended until at least May 26. Meanwhile, Gov. Bill Lee this week began reopening segments of the economy like restaurants and retail stores.

About 18,000 state employees, or 44% of the total full-time workforce, have still been required to come to work during COVID-19. Changes are being made to account for the new workplace realities.

“Not only will this help the State of Tennessee reboot from the current crisis, it will also prepare our workforce for the future,” according to the memo.

Here’s the full memorandum:

Dear State Employees,

Thank you once again for your commitment to maintain services to  support the health, welfare, and safety of Tennesseans during the pandemic. As we strive to continue business in the safest, most responsible way possible, please review the following announcements regarding work from home, state facilities, workforce recalibration, and mission critical hiring.

Work From Home Extension
To support efforts to maintain social distancing, the directive for employees who are able to work from home is being extended to at least Tuesday, May 26. While work from home will continue where possible, the state is developing plans for a phased approach to return to state offices where needed. The plans will support site-critical employees in returning to their worksites safely. At the same time, work from home may continue for employees who are fully virtually enabled as a means to support social distancing.

State Facilities Update
Efforts are underway to ensure workspaces are ready to support safe employee return. The State of Tennessee will continue to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Department of Health (DOH) for the cleaning and disinfecting of state facilities and usage of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Workforce Recalibration
As we prepare to operate business in a post pandemic environment, we must be prepared for the ‘new normal’ that emerges. Leveraging work from home and online services is key going forward. Not only will this help the State of Tennessee reboot from the current crisis, it will also prepare our workforce for the future.

Mission-Critical Hiring
In order to be fiscally responsible as we face the economic effects of the pandemic, the State of Tennessee will focus on filling mission-critical positions only. This policy will be effective through June 30, the end of the current fiscal year. Continuation of the policy will be reevaluated at that time. For more information, visit

For additional COVID-19 updates and announcements for state employees, please visit


DOHR Communications

10 Responses to Work from home extended for state employees

  • Avatar
    Phil Lassiter says:

    Yay!!!!!! Another month’s vacation for many of us! Toss in that other round of stimulus and we will be rocking!

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Ah, the mentality of a liberal government bureaucrat. Just the mentality that as a society we should do everything we can to discourage and shame.

  • Avatar
    LeeAnn C. says:

    These are the ones that can joke around about the “hardships” of staying at home, ordering takeout, watching Netflix…while others cannot reopen their businesses, sinking deeper while bills pileup. Governor Lee has lost all perspective of the citizens. Totally disgusted!

  • Avatar
    Becky says:

    I’m not elated about staying home for two more weeks. I will say, however, I’m glad I don’t have to put myself at risk by going back too early. I think the Governor is doing the best he can. Some are desperate to get back to work; I get it. Some are afraid to go back to work; I get it. If one’s business is open, employees are obligated to go back to work. Being a high risk person, I cannot say, “I’m not going.” There are two sides to every situation and we need to be kind to both sides.

  • Avatar
    Zachary L. Bishop says:

    I hope Mayor Cooper enjoys his first & last term in office.

    • Avatar
      John says:

      Cooper is already measuring the drapes at the Governor’s mansion after Bill Lee’s first & last term in office.

      • Avatar
        Stuart I. Anderson says:

        HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Now John just promise us, in two years when Lee runs for reelection you will spend lots and lots of money supporting his Democratic opponent – spend it all John on that race, think you’ve come across a good bet there. And BTW, please encourage all of your leftist friends to do the same!

  • Avatar
    Jay says:

    I get so tired of people attacking state employees, they work so hard for the state and some are very under paid and those are the ones that work the hardest. Leave the little people alone they work very very hard to serve you and nobody cares. Their are some state employees risking their life still coming into the office to work because they have a director that don’t care about their safety. That is so sad. So please no all the facts before you talk about state employees.

  • Avatar
    Dan says:

    It takes a certain type of person to work from home. Not everybody has the discipline or focus to work from home. That’s probably the reason why my unemployment claim hasn’t been handled after over a month of waiting. I can’t interview until I can fly and my prospective employers are ready to start interviewing. I have never been unemployed before and it is a very frustrating process that is aggravated even more with the Covid crisis.

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