Workforce Wonk

By Alyah Khan

Blog archive

Are you living with your biggest telework obstacle?

You're teleworking one day, 10 minutes away from a conference call with your manager and a couple of engineers on your staff. It's time for an update on a knotty technology problem you've been working to solve, and it's taken close to a week to find a time to meet that works for everyone.

That's when your doorbell rings. Eying the clock nervously, you open the door to find your 25-year-old daughter there with your 2-year-old grandson in her arms. She hands you the baby with a cheerful, "You don't mind watching him for a couple of hours do you?" She puts the question mark on the end, but you know it's not really a question.

Teleworkers face problems like this every day. Someone in your orbit — a spouse, child or neighbor — sees that you're home and assumes it means your time is free to do something other than your job.

This week, federal agencies faced a deadline under the new telework law to inform employees about their telework eligibility. However, a survey shows that although three-quarters of agencies have created the mandated telework plans, relatively few employees eligible to telework are doing so.

Because it seems that reluctant managers and recalcitrant agency leaders are less and less of a problem, we wondered if maybe some federal employees simply don't want to be home during work-hours.  

A handful of reader comments in the past year or so have indicated that some don’t think telework is a feasible option for reasons having little to do with their manager's micromanaging ways or an agency's outdated policy.

“For me, I can’t imagine that I could work at home,” one reader wrote in response to a July 2010 FCW Insider blog entry. “There are too many distractions there.… Also, I can’t seem to get people motivated by e-mail and have to visit them and talk to them face-to-face to get them to do their jobs for me.”

Have you experienced obstacles to telework at home? What are they? How do you make telework possible when you’ve got a busy family life?

Posted by Alyah Khan on Jun 08, 2011 at 12:20 PM


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