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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Reader comments

Tue, Jun 28, 2011 Concerned Citizen

It sounds like the government is trying it's best to accomodate the efforts of the "PUBLIC" Identity thief, by increasing the availablitity of "PUBLIC" records,.... AGAIN.

Tue, Jun 14, 2011 Keith Segerson Northern Virginia

As a provider of flex-office space, for use by Government employees, we'd suggest consideration of co-working, team/group work, and COOP support as a benefit of facilities-based telework sites. Additionally, not all homes are served by broadband networks or are conducive to a secure work environment. All our facilities are available 24 hours per day and offer both office and conference/training room space. Even home-based teleworkers may benefit from community-centric meeting and training facilities. Keith Segerson George Mason University 703-277-7724 - office direct

Tue, Jun 14, 2011 Barbara Sprenger California

Think about the idea, though, of a center that was a walk, bike ride or 5 min. drive from your home. That was comfortable, friendly, connected and a part of the community you've chosen to live in. That was open to members 24/7 -- without the distractions of home or the isolation. Would that make a difference? That's what we're trying to do.

Tue, Jun 14, 2011 Dave K

Only a Federal Bureaucrat would propose building alternate govt-managed floorspace to save money on govt-managed floorspace!

Tue, Jun 14, 2011 skeptica1

Telework Centers are a stupid idea! If you want to call it a branch office, fine, but it is NOT actually telecommuting. How could it save any significant money to add a bunch of branch offices? Branch offices of pharmacies or banks, for example, don't save any money. They are for RETAIL CUSTOMER CONVENIENCE and MARKET PLACEMENT not for employee productivity.

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