Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

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Telework bill still cranking through Congress

Well, with the mid-term elections and all the noise over federal pay, we haven’t heard much about the telework bill lately.

But the National Treasury Employees Union hasn’t forgotten about it. The union today said it is calling on members of the House to agree to Senate amendments to the bill, H.R. 1722, which passed the House earlier.

NTEU said it has sent letters to that effect to all House members. The union said a House vote on a motion to concur with the Senate amendments is expected this week. So the bill is in the home stretch.

That means that all you “overpaid” Washington-area feds may soon also be pampered with the “luxury” of working from home during the next blizzard—instead of having a nice, quiet, private-sector-like snow day off.

You lucky ducks.

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Nov 16, 2010 at 4:02 PM

Reader comments

Sat, Nov 20, 2010 Kate Lister

Passage of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 (H.R. 1722) could save taxpayers over $15 billion a year! The staggering costs of lost productivity from federal workers during last Winter's snowstorms--estimated by the government at $71 million a day--would pay for the five year cost of a telework program for federal workers (estimated by OPM at $30 million) in just one snow day. While 61% of the federal workforce holds a telework-compatible job, less than 8% of those eligible do so on a regular basis. Using assumptions from a 2006 study by the U.S. General Services Administration (conducted by Booz Allen), our model estimates that that if those eligible employees who wanted to work from home (79% according to a recent Federal Telework Study) did so just one day a week (the level set by H.R. 1722): Agencies would: - Increase productivity by over $4.6 billion each year - equivalent to 26,000 man years of work - Save $850 million in annual real estate, electricity, and related costs - Save $2.3 billion in annual absenteeism - Save $3.1 billion in annual employee turnover Federal Employees would: - Save 2-3 weeks of time they'd otherwise spent commuting - Save $800-$2,700/year in transportation and work-related expenses - Collectively save 114 million gallons of gas / year The Nation would: - Save almost 6 million barrels and $465 million in imported oil - Reduce greenhouse gases by 1 million tons/year—the equivalent of taking 193,000 cars off the road - Reduce road travel by 2.3 billion miles/year - Reduce road congestion thereby increasing productivity for non-teleworkers as well - Save over 1,900 people from traffic-related injury or death each year and save $234 million a year in related costs. Our proprietary Telework Savings Calculator has been used by company and community leaders to model the benefits of telework. Our research has been cited by the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and scores of other publications. Kate Lister Principal Researcher

Thu, Nov 18, 2010

OMG, the rants from feds on "how great it is to work from home" etc., shows exactly how tone deaf some of us are. The public perception of feds as lazy bums isn't going to go away any time soon, and the fact that some of us want to work from home just bolsters this viewpoint. Also, I have experienced working with some folks who are very productive at home, but others I can tell are using teleworking as an excuse to run errands and engage in childcare. While being a good parent is laudible, that's not what we are being paid to do. All of us need to "get real." Go out and L-I-S-T-E-N to the needs of the American people and their perceptions about us, and then react accordingly. Some day, maybe, this will pass. But as long as folks are out of work, as long as parents are working 2 - 3 jobs to keep their heads above water, the average American is going to look at feds with their nice cushy jobs, benefits, and pensions, and resent the heck out of the federal workforce. Go about your jobs quietly, do the best you can for the American public (who are our bosses), and maybe we can turn around perceptions about feds. But continually whining doesn't cut it--not now, not ever!

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 Arlington VA

I have been teleworking for the past year and I work harder and get more done than when I come into the office. I actually complete projects. I do budget and have the responsibility of writing standard operating procedures. I cannot perform these projects at work because I am constantly being interruped by the phone or staff that need assistance along with the many meetings I have to attend.

Wed, Nov 17, 2010 Texas

What about liability issues? If you trip over your carpet at home, is the government responsible for you as an employee?? There are just too many issues to make it work well. I do think it should be approved on a case by case basis. If an employee is a performer and has proved themselves, maybe they meet criteria. Otherwise, it's just another way for the loafers to work the system. Yep, the ones who are always first in line.

Wed, Nov 17, 2010

Teleworking is a great solution to work space problems, setting productivity goals, dealing with hostile work environments, and not to mention the work continuing regardless of the inclement weather, fire drills and alarms, etc. It is a good thing.

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