Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

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First they giveth, then they taketh away

Well, now that the opportunity for many feds to telework has been enshrined in law, a slew of government-supported telework facilities are getting the ax.

Yes, the new Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 will give eligible feds the chance to telework. But feds who were looking to do so at any of the telework sites sponsored by the General Services Administration in the capital region had better start looking for other options.

That’s because GSA says it will stop funding GSA-sponsored telework sites after March 31. The reason is simple: No funding behind the law.

As a result, a bunch of telework centers located around the capital region in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia—founded with local community partners—likely will close their doors for lack of funds.

While some feds might prefer the kitchen table, others like telework centers, which also provide teleworkers with access to a range of other office equipment and services.

And yes, that’s the sound of yet another bubble bursting.

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Mar 02, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Reader comments

Thu, May 26, 2011 Carmen North Carolina

I work for government. As for teleworking, we found those who can telework were more productive as a rule. When teleworking, we're not interrupted by office gossip, nor do we waste time walking or driving to various meetings. Instead, teleworkers use go-to-meeting which saves us time and money. As for goof-offs, the only time we had to fire someone for not being where they were supposed to be was when the onsite person wasn't in their office or anywhere onsite. Our teleworkers can always be reached and support our business applications as fast or faster. Not being able to reach a teleworker would be a major alert. However, it's the onsite workers who are able to 'disappear' for a while and the only ones management had to take to task. Unlike comments made regarding the Feds, or union workers, our management is most excellent and they've caught those who think it's okay to play hookie. My management has a Zero tolerance for those who fail to work as they're paid to do. As for teleworking, it hasn't been the teleworkers who broke the rules. We found teleworking improved our continuity of operations, our emergency preparedness and provides the flexibility to work more effectively and achieve a better work/life balance.

Tue, Apr 19, 2011

Teleworking centers make no sense. They are simply commute-shifting lcations. They may even make costs by splitting employee costs out with additional tax payer costs in the form of additional office space overhead (on top of their normal office space). Telework from home and meet the spirit as well as the letter of the law.

Wed, Mar 9, 2011

Are there any studies that show the level and quality of work by teleworking employees, vs their office-board peers? I think teleworking is an excellent tool, but that it requires a strong work ethic, great discipline, and high morals on the side of the employee. If it is to be allowed, the understanding must be that it isn't a right and that it can be taken away at any time if the employee's output slips, or if they 'disappear' (don't answer emails, telephone calls, etc).

Wed, Mar 9, 2011 Jim Washington, DC

Why should the Government (which means the taxpayer) pay to rent teleworking facilities when telework can be accomplished just as successfully from the teleworkers' home environment? Not only does the Govn save leasing costs, this also reduces cars on the highway.

Wed, Mar 9, 2011

We have certain people working at home. Like anything else in the government , half actually work the other half do not but take advantage of it , doe'nt matter , here in the office it is the same way. If you do employees that you know still do there jobs than working at home is great and the work does get done. That has been proven in our office. Than again one employee did nothing for a whole year before they made him come back to the office, but everyone knew that would happen. The government will absolutly not fire anyone that does not work. I will never understand that. Meanwhile everyone else has to do the work that they don't. I will be putting in to work at home.

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