Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

Blog archive

Telework—almost home

Speakers and participants at a watershed conference on telework this month in Washington seem to share the opinion that leaders finally see the advantages of allowing federal employees to work remotely.

At the event held by the Telework Exchange, federal officials and experts pushed the case that a new bill—a compromise version of the Telework Improvements Act of 2010—appears to be ready for passage, and it will be a game changer. The bill, which has cleared the Senate, requires agencies to authorize most employees to work a minimum of 20 percent of working hours.

General Services Administration Administrator Martha Johnson talked up productivity gains, which she said at GSA have shown a “200-1,500 percent return on the initial technological investment,” slashed greenhouse gas pollution, and cut fuel costs of participating employees by 39 percent—and is the only way possible to achieve the $3 billion real property cost cuts the president is aiming for.

Tom Fox, the director for government leadership at the Partnership for Public Service, told us that making sure that telework is available to employees is the only way the federal government can attract the young workers it needs.

One problem up to now has been that a lot of supervisors and managers still resist change—and think that the only productive employees are those who are in the office.

We’re sure a lot of you folks out there have been watching this legislation. And so have your bosses. What’s the talk around the office? We’d like to know. 

Posted by Nathan Abse on Oct 20, 2010 at 4:02 PM

Reader comments

Sun, Oct 31, 2010

When most managers learn to measure productivity instead of attendance then telework will be more widely accepted. I have worked for the federal government for 18 years and worked remotely as a participant in an agency telework program for more than 10 years. As a government project manager I also work directly with contractors who work remotely. In my experience this agency's telework program is successful because of the formal telework training for employees and supervisors, written telework agreements, and technology that supports telework. Since 9-11 the telework program is also part of the agency's disaster recovery and continuity of operations strategies allowing the agency to continue operation in the event of an emergency closure.

Thu, Oct 28, 2010 Vallejo, CA

I often work remotely when I go out on training or a work assignment anyway. Being permitted to work from my home remotely at least the minuim 20 hrs per week should not be a problem.The government need to make it a mandate and take the power away from the supervisor, make it "They Will Allow All Employees To Telework!"

Sat, Oct 23, 2010 SAP North Texas

I have worked remotely from home for the last nine years. Spend one week per month at HQ. Working remotely has proven productive will be higher, quality of life much better, and actual hours I tend to work are more because the office is at my house and it’s just simpler to stay connected to office work from home. Telework is probably a term that needs an upgrade, it's really old school in so many places:)

Sat, Oct 23, 2010

It is a good concept, but the sad part is when a manager allows some employee's to telework, but some are not allowed. So it will be great if everyone would cooperate and do the right thing.

Fri, Oct 22, 2010 Springfield, VA

OIT field services management is intent on refusing telework for its Field Service personnel, except for a few special wink, wink, nod, nod friends. Their attitude is no one is no "one is going to dictate" to them how to run their shop. They feel that they can not keep a constant eye on their personnel. I think that they like to micro manage too much. Heck, they have everyone under them fill out an electronic time card in Share Point on everything that is done. This is tracking employee movement and work down to every 5 minutes.

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