The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, one of the most avid users of telework among federal agencies, says its productivity largely held up when agencies in the Washington area were closed for two days because of Hurricane Sandy.
Despite the government shutdown, the patents and trademarks teams averaged more than 70 percent productivity, patent office Director David Kappos said in an agency blog post. He called the performance “a remarkable achievement, considering many of our examiners couldn’t participate because of widespread power outages.”
“During a natural disaster that closes our offices, USPTO employees must first care for their homes and families. And yet once everything was in order . . . they still showed an extraordinary ability to carry on business as usual in the face of extreme challenges,” Kappos wrote.
Many employees’ duties allow for remote working. Among patent examiners, productivity, as measured by progress in moving cases toward a decision, was 76 percent of normal Monday and 58 percent Tuesday. Among trademark-examining lawyers, it was 81 percent and 79 percent, according to the agency. The agency said its call center was fully operational during the shutdown, with 100 percent participation from the work-at-home employees.