It's not an easy time for federal employees and their managers as they brace for the fallout from sequestration -- the $85 billion in automatic across-the-board spending cuts required under the 2011 Budget Control Act.
With Congress and the White House working to find an alternative plan to avoid the severe cutbacks, employees face the prospect of furloughs, lost pay and added stress.
An informal poll of the Partnership for Public Service's "Emerging HR Leaders," a coalition of young government human-resources professionals, found a mix of views. Half think that federal employees will be furloughed and lose pay. About a third assert that the sequestration will hurt the ability of their agencies to accomplish their missions.
In discussions with leaders throughout the government, it is clear that even the threat of sequestration has caused major challenges in the workplace. For federal managers, it has meant endless hours deciding how to handle various budgetary scenarios and resulted in the inability to do long-range planning, make new purchases or hire employees. It also has created much unease among federal workers.
As this latest round of brinkmanship plays out between Congress and the White House, federal leaders and employees face other uncertainties as well, including the expiration of temporary budget funds on March 27, the debt limit ceiling suspension that will expire on May 19 and the looming debate over the 2014 budget.
All the while, federal managers need to keep employees focused and motivated. There are no sure-fire solutions for handling the current state of affairs, but there are some steps you can take to maintain morale in these tumultuous times:
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