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By Phil Piemonte

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Telework—blessing or curse?

The move to implement telework in the federal workplace suffered a setback on May 6 when the House rejected the Telework Improvements Act.

Most significantly for rank-and-file feds, the bill, H.R. 1722, would require agencies to develop telework programs that allow employees to telework at least 20 percent of the hours worked in every two administrative workweeks (provided the nature of their work allows them to telework).

The bill gained momentum after two successive blizzards in the nation’s capital shut down most federal offices for days on end. While offices were closed, those with teleworking capability remained “on the job”—and helped prove the value of telework arrangements.

But now that the excitement has died down—at least for the moment—it could be time to think about the disadvantages of telework, too.

At first glance, the ability to work from home seems to an ideal solution for workers for whom family obligations or geographic distances pose daily challenges.

But with all the talk about work-life balance, is telework really helping to balance work with one’s personal life? Or does it serve to integrate one’s work with one’s personal life by bringing it right into the home?

You might want to ask some of those fortunate teleworkers who were lucky enough to work from home during the D.C. blizzards while their kids chased each other around the house for days on end.

Care to share experiences, anyone?

Posted by Phil Piemonte on May 07, 2010 at 12:13 PM

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Reader comments

Thu, May 27, 2010 Cindy Oregon Coast

I don't know how Darryl can say it only has upsides. There are folks out there that can claim they're working when in reality, they're sidetacked constantly by home issues. If a supervisor truly trusts an employee, then so be it but I think a much better option would be to stagger shifts. Those who could qualify for telework could also qualify for swing or graveyard shift. Then, driving wouldn't be as big an issue and there would be fewer cars on the road at any given time. Say 9-5 and 7-3? Just a thought. I worked from home for a couple of months and found it hard not to want to stop and chat with my bf or daughter or make a snack. It's difficult to figure your time when that stuff is going on.

Fri, May 21, 2010 Noravia Rodriguez Miami, Florida

Telework is amazing, it is not just a saving matter, it is an effective and productive solution to maximize workforce operations using today technologies to keep opne lines of communication and cooperation.

I hope we all tune on it soon.

Best regards,

Tue, May 18, 2010 Darryl DC Metro Area

Teleworking only has upsides, it saves time and money especially those employees located in the DC Metro area who have long commutes. I don't think it hurts anyone if they bring work home as long as they are diligent from separating their work from their home life. From my personal experience, I have saved money 1. Not using my car while teleworking -- gas, money and wear and tear. 2. Not having to pack a lunch or go out and get a lunch. -- by only using groceries from home I save money also I tend to eat healthier. 3. Not having to wear a suit everyday. -- saving on not having to dry clean suits/clothes or wash my dress shirts as often. 4. Piece of mind -- not stuck in a car for an hour or having to take the train for 60 minutes. I also get extra hour of sleep and feel more relaxed.

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