Feds prefer working at home over using telework centers, survey says

The comforts of working from home trump the social, collaborative and technological benefits of government-designed telework centers, a recent survey reports.

Most of the 286 federal employees surveyed by LifeSize said they preferred the isolation of teleworking from their homes twice a week to the camaraderie of a General Services Administration telework center.

That is good news for GSA, which has announced plans to shutter nearly half the telework centers in the metro Washington, D.C., area because of budget constraints.

In the survey, 72.4 percent of respondents said they found the centers unnecessary and would rather work in other remote areas of their choosing in addition to their homes, such as a local coffee shop, before working at a telework center.

"Telework centers previously offered capabilities not available at home," said one respondent, adding that "with the availability of these technologies now in the home, the centers are no longer needed."

Other respondents said the telework centers are paradoxical and defeat the purpose of telecommuting, especially if an employee's office is a shorter distance from home than the closest center.

LifeSize, which conducted the study "Teleworking Opinions in the U.S. Government: Telework Centers Versus Work from Home," is a provider of high-definition teleconferencing and telepresence services to the government and commercial markets.

The company recommended that GSA provide federal employees with collaborative technology, such as cost-effective videoconferencing, at their homes rather than continue operating telework centers.

About the Author

Alysha Sideman is the online content producer for Washington Technology.

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