Gov Careers

By Phil Piemonte

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Wanna-be federal teleworkers raise their voices

Anyone doubting feds’ deep-seated desire to telework had better take a look at some of the activity on the GovCareerNetwork blog over the last 48 hours.

Because the question of whether qualified workers are being denied the chance to telework unleashed a tidal wave of responses. And the answer has been a resounding “yes.”

At the same time, just hours after that original telework item was posted, the Telework Improvements Act cleared the House (the Senate passed its telework bill earlier in the year). If the final bill is passed into law, it will lay down rules that should allow all eligible feds to telework at last.

The bill’s proponents outline a lot of benefits they expect the law to generate—personal benefits such as such as better work/life balance, and societal ones like less traffic congestion and less pollution.

While the flood of responses to the last post described a great many instances in which permission to telework had been denied, a few responses also detailed some examples of telework successes.

While individual feds clearly benefit from telework, there must be some more examples out there of some real government-side benefits that emanated from telework arrangements—dollar savings on physical facilities, improved continuity of operations, and so on.

Here’s the place to make them known.

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Jul 16, 2010 at 12:13 PM


Reader comments

Thu, Jul 22, 2010

the Telework Improvements Act cleared the House (the Senate passed its telework bill earlier in the year). If the final bill is passed into law, it will lay down rules that should allow all eligible feds to telework at last.
Considering a manager that is apt to create objectives would also be more inclined to utilize telework. Ditto, ditto, ditto!

Wed, Jul 21, 2010 Atlanta

Probably one of the biggest, but of course unvoiced, concerns about teleworking is that those of us who are supervisors/managers would actually need to know our employees' duties and be able to provide supervision beyond ensuring they show up for an 8 hour day.

Wed, Jul 21, 2010

Be glad you are working at all...

Wed, Jul 21, 2010 RayW

Odd, many of the reasons to telework seen to be pure "ME" attitudes, not the good of the job. I see things ranging from "I won't have to help mentor co-workers" to "I have too many possessions that need constant care and I need to hire help for the wife".

I 'waste' about an hour a day on the average helping co-workers with issues, it is not in my job description but I am a senior engineer (well, a journeyman under the GS system) with outside experience that is useful. If I teleworked "I" could get more work done, but the group would suffer.

Some jobs are good for telework. But if you are handling my personal data, then get your selfish butt into the office where there is less chance of it getting captured by a (insert bad guy type) as you use a normal unsecured line to transmit data back and forth. And do not use the excuse that you do not store it on your machine and you use an encryption scheme. If you can see it, the data is there and can be skimmed either off the line or via mal-ware.

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 Richard Zavesky FERC

As a GS14 810, working in a regional office, we travel quite a bit. Our job is to inspect dams and hydroelectric facilities. One year I was told to take 23 trips and they were not day trips and not to large cities with the amenities they afford. Almost all of the trips involve driving off road and that excludes use of rental cars and SUV [read the fine print]. Some of us buy our own equipment, which is not reimbursed. That requires storage space and maintenance not just for the equipment but for the vehicles. We have exotic pets and plants at home and when I am away, we have to hire people to help my wife care for our menagerie. Several years ago, HQ (Washington DC} decided that only one day a week out of the office was tolerable. I assume that meant those that are assigned office work as a steady diet. But, as usual, one size fits all, and the regional offices were mandated to conform to that of HQ. Those on AWS were limited to one Flex day per pay period. As work evolves, IT systems we are ordered to use become relatively antiquated, but our Flex offices often have better systems. Go figure.

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