Thousands signing up for Telework Week

More than 5,000 pledges have been made to participate in the event from Feb. 14-18

In an effort to demonstrate that telework's value outweighs any downside, the Telework Exchange is inviting federal agencies, organizations and individuals to partake in Telework Week, a nationwide telework effort during the week of Feb.14-18.

According to the organization's website, as of late Wednesday, 5,483 people had pledged to take part. The site offers a tally of the number of pledges, the estimated savings for their organizations and the tonnage of pollutants they won't be generating in commuting. 

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Telework Week comes only a couple months after the president signed the Telework Enhancement Act into law.

The new law requires agencies to develop telework policies and expand the number of employees eligible to telework. Agencies have 180 days to establish the policies, determine eligibility and notify all workers about their eligibility for telework. Some agency managers resist telework, for reasons such as the security of data or the diligence of employees when not under a manager's watchful eye.

In addition to setting new policies, the new law requires agencies to appoint a telework managing officer, who must be a senior official with direct access to an agency head. The law also establishes interactive training programs for teleworkers and telework mangers and includes telework in business continuity plans.

The Office of Personnel Management last month announced a new telework policy for federal workers who are unable to commute to work due to severe weather or other emergencies. Under the policy, all federal employees with telework agreements will be eligible to participate in an “unscheduled telework” option when they can’t make it to the office.

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

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Reader comments

Mon, Feb 14, 2011

In response to comment from DoD, specifically the Navy - I have NOT had that experience whatsoever, and beg to differ. Although I have an informal telework agreement, I have NEVER been asked or required to notify my supervisor anytime I leave my workstation especially to go to the bathroom! I do notify him out of consideration whenever I leave my workstation for more than 10-15 minutes - just common courtesy. I was not told to do that, however as a professional I choose to keep my supervisor informed particularly since I am NOT at the office. I am very grateful when my supervisor lets me work from home and therefore I ensure he is kept abreast of my whereabouts. I believe there are many so called professionals that abuse the system, thinking they DESERVE to telework. Additionally I have little problem connecting to the NMCI network or accessing my network drive files.

Fri, Feb 11, 2011

I work for the Army in an Agency that is not "embracing" the idea of teleworking. Fortunately for me, I have an enlightened supervisor who has supported my needs for teleworking due to severe arthritis and multiple surgeries over the past four years. I do have some challenges at times like getting to all my files (the drives seem to get lost) but all in all it has worked well and I find that I have been able to keep up with all my work (except the paper filing at the office) during the time I have teleworked. This past spring and summer I teleworked almost daily for five months while undergoing two surgeries. I would not have been able to get into the office during this time - spent about 7 days with each surgery on sick leave - the rest of the time teleworking. I would have teleworked from the hospital and rehab if I could have gotten the connectivity. Great solution for me - was able to do all my work and have the sugergies I had put off for so long.

Mon, Feb 7, 2011

Here in the DoD (and specifically the Navy) Telework Week is a sick joke. Not only is the network (NMCI or "Not My Costly Idea") slow and unresponsive even when connected directly to the network; but getting from the "outside" back "inside" the network boundary can be a real challenge even with the right passwords, certificates, etc. After that ladle on top a generous helping of bureaucracy. Things like notifying your supervisor ANYTIME you leave your workstation (yes, even to go to the bathroom !!!) and you can see why we "refuse to go back to 1st grade" just in order to telework.

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