Telework first-timers look back on the experience

Newcomers to telework who took part in Telework Week found it to be eye-opening.

man teleworking

Some first-time teleworkers taking part in Telework Week say they were pleased with the experience. (Stock image)

Lisa Krall, a resource soil scientist at the Agriculture Department, decided to telework for the first time during the week of March 4 in hopes of keeping up with her job duties while also attending to her hospitalized parents’ health.

She said the ability to work remotely a couple hours a day for three days during the Mobile Work Exchange’s annual Telework Week helped make a stressful personal situation a little more bearable and helped her avoid the additional stress of falling behind at work.

Under USDA’s progressive mobile work policies, Krall received quick authorization to telework from her superiors. She joined more than 135,000 employees who participated in Telework Week, by far the most in the event’s three-year history. More than 100,000 of them were federal employees.

The rapid rise of mobility in the workplace makes it clear teleworking isn’t just here to stay – it is becoming an integral part of how agencies and their employees achieve their missions.

"I think [telework] is a very individualized thing," said Krall, who assessed her productivity while teleworking as very good. "For me, it’s very helpful for situations like I experienced or during bad weather. It’s also helpful when I really need some quiet to get something done because I don’t have a private office."

Some employees, like Krall, had personal reasons for teleworking, while others told FCW they wanted to get some extra work done without the hassle of traveling to the office. In addition, some agencies encouraged employees to work remotely during Telework Week so they could test their policies and server capacities. The Defense Logistics Agency Energy, for instance, held an agencywide telework day in which contract specialist Jacqueline Verrine participated.

She worked from home that day using a government-issued laptop and was able to communicate effectively using email and instant messaging. The biggest challenge, she said, was that the agency’s servers occasionally bogged down due to all the telework traffic. But despite the hiccups, Verrine said she was more productive at home because she had fewer distractions and interruptions.

She has continued teleworking when applicable. "Overall, I liked the experience of teleworking," Verrine said. "I found telework to be equally effective as being in the office. I had all the same capabilities and functionality, but I was more focused and it eliminated the stress and expense of commuting."

Cindy Auten, general manager of the Mobile Work Exchange, said employees often feel empowered when they’re given the chance to telework. She added that concerns about productivity usually aren’t justified. Based on the exchange’s follow-up research, she said nearly 70 percent of all participating organizations see an increase in productivity during Telework Week.

Given the budget challenges agencies face and IT initiatives that direct them to create efficiencies wherever possible, Auten said telework is a great solution, assuming it helps agencies meet their particular missions. Telework promotes efficiency and cost savings while decreasing energy use, but it still must serve the purpose of the individual agency.

"Don’t just telework to telework. Telework to meet an objective," Auten said. "It’s not a silver bullet, but it’s a great solution for the challenges government has right now. Sustainability, recruitment and retention, energy savings -- these are all good reasons to telework, but you want to telework ultimately to meet some objective."

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.