Letter: USPTO has 'hoteling' program, not a flexible telework program

While "Home is Where the Work Is" [Feb. 18] offered much good advice on home telework, it unwittingly highlighted one telework program's hypocrisy by portraying the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office management as "nurturing" its employees' telework.

Many patent examiners are very happy with the USPTO's "hoteling" program, which requires them to give up their agency office in order to telework each week for four days and commute to the office for one, sharing or "hoteling" in communal office facilities. However, many other patent professionals would prefer to keep their agency office space and have the flexibility to telework for two days per week, as the article showed one USPTO manager doing -- but the agency refuses to allow thousands of rank and file employees to do so. Why? In denying two days per week of telework, the USPTO says it is limiting employees so that they go into the hoteling program which saves agency office space.

Illustrating your article with a happy manager teleworking two days per week when the USPTO is rejecting that right for thousands of highly skilled patent professionals was misleading to your readers. The USPTO will have a truly successful telework program when it expands telework
to improve employee productivity and efficiency, not to fix its facilities planning problems.

Robert Budens, President
Patent Office Professional Association

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Reader comments

Sat, Aug 29, 2009

Well, I'm wondering Robert Budens's letter is to whom? To Judy Welles? Or somebody else? 'd like to receive answer (pls send to binqiangliu@gmail.com), thanks. After that I'd like to say progress must be made step by step, as a new policy, teleworking can and should be carried out step by step, and in this course, there is inherently going to be 'inequity' that could be corrected as the program moves on. I think so, what is your idea? Alles Gute!

Fri, Feb 22, 2008 John Monroe

I sympathise with those who want to telework two days a week and keep their offices too. I also admire those who free themselves even more from gas-guzzling commutes and office trappings by choosing to telework four days a week and "hotel" the remaining day. The article was intended to provide helpful information about home offices, not telework policy per se, with some examples of teleworkers' home offices, regardless of the number of days they work at home. Comments on telework are often complaints about agencies or offices that still do not permit work at home. It's interesting to have a comment about an inequity at an agency that permits telework, over the number of days that allows workers to retain office space to work in a government building rather than at home. Judy

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