Get a Life

By Judith Welles

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Walking the talk on telework

On the day that the Washington metropolitan area, especially Maryland, was ranked as the second worst place for commuters, right behind New York City, an agency head stated she would telework.

General Services Administrator Lurita Doan said she would lead by example to encourage managers at GSA to telework. When I asked about her plans, to my surprise, she said she will telework 2 days a month starting next week. She might telework more days if her travel schedule permits.

What might result if all Cabinet members and all program heads walked the talk like Doan and teleworked even on an intermittent basis? Would that spark many other managers to follow their leaders and try telework too?

Doan’s message to managers is, “Try it, you’ll like it.”

By training managers and adding performance metrics that cover telework, she wants to “incentivize” GSA to enable 50 percent of eligible employees to telework one or more days a week by 2010. Currently, 10 percent of eligible employees telework.

Security is the simplest piece, she said. Her hope is that as GSA moves to laptop PCs, employees and managers will consider telework. Targeted support from chief human capital officers will also be part of the approach.

A panel on eliminating management resistance to telework had a crowded audience at the 2007 Telework Exchange Town Hall. The benefits are well-known, said panelists, but persistence is the key to convincing upper management to allow telework.

After the session, an employee from the Army’s Acquisition Support Center told me that her performance plan requires her to increase the number of managers who telework. She thinks having managers talk with other managers who telework might help. Maybe having leaders telework could help, too.

Posted by Judith Welles on Sep 12, 2007 at 12:13 PM


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