Don't try this at home

Agency telework policies and employee agreements should be clear about what kinds of practices aren't  allowed. If teleworkers violate certain rules, they might face some consequences, such as the loss of telework privileges.

Here are a few common telework taboos.

  • Reckless driving. Introducing an unsecured thumb drive to an agency’s telework setup is a security problem waiting to happen. Some agencies provide encrypted drives as part of teleworkers' home-based tools.
  • Odd (computing) couples. Agencies encourage teleworkers to create a work-only area at home, with the goal of achieving a work/life balance. A shared efficiency apartment with Oscar Madison snoring nearby might not be ideal.
  • Do-it-yourself computer help desk. Telework policies generally bar workers from adding unauthorized software to a government-furnished computer. Agencies might also insist on the use of government-supplied peripherals, such as printers.
  • Public works. Working on laptop PCs in public places could enable passersby to view restricted information. And some agencies recommend remaining wired while working for security reasons — so there's no telecommuting from Starbucks.
  • Site-seeing. If a certain type of website is restricted in the office, it’s a sure bet it will also run afoul of the telework policy.

About the Author

John Moore is a freelance writer based in Syracuse, N.Y.

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