Report: WH slashes telework, employees—infuriated—push back

The Trump administration, across departments and agencies, is criticizing and slashing the amount of telework available—while unions and federal employees are exasperated and fighting the administration’s moves, the Washington Post reports.

Despite decades of increasing telework—with faster remote work systems helping to reduce traffic and greenhouse gases—the current White House has curbed and even ended tens of thousands of telecommutes, as enumerated in the report.

The rollback against telework is especially pointed at Education, Interior, and the EPA, among others. It is forcing some longtime teleworkers to choose between returning to long commutes, or taking an early exit from government. Many feds and their unions are pushing back—already succeeding at restoring a major telework program at Social Security.

Finally, the data on the pros and cons of telework is not clear in many cases, the report said—but with the administration failing to offer support the crackdown, to many the moves appear unnecessary and punitive.

Reader comments

Mon, Feb 10, 2020 Mark

If an employee is lazy in the office it's foolish to let them telework. Managers should decide. However what happens when a lazy employee is a minority or a woman and not allowed to telework because they are lazy? EEO complaints, etc. Thus most managers don't want that headache so they let lazy employees telework.

Mon, Feb 10, 2020

Wow - I am so surprised at the anger being shared here. I am a medical teleworker and I so thank God for this opportunity. I confess I have learned the cons of telework - the feeling of isolation and being out of "tune" with the team but I have been able to accomplish so very much for the American People while working from home. I agree with the one noting how my home station is as powerful as by site workstation and I have never missed a meeting or deadline and if anything -being home I have backed up my coworkers who are fighting traffic, emergencies, weather or are traveling. (Ever been in a meeting when the office building is being evacuated due to a drill?) I am proud of the work I am doing for the American People - I am always very cognizant of the "taxpayers" money - and so should you be. If working from home helps the taxpayer - than why not do it. But if someone abuses it - such as those who have done so in the office - those individuals need to be reprimanded.

Sat, Feb 8, 2020 Bll

Unless better oversight can be put in place over teleworkers, I'm against working at home.

Thu, Feb 6, 2020 Pam Virginia

I work in an office where everyone teleworks except for myself and two other employees. I see first hand how teleworks robs the government. When teleworks started you were not permitted to watch your children while working and not to take care of family members. How do you work for an hour, walk away for 2 hours, work another 2 hours, and walk away again for another couple hours. The work doesn’t get done and the work that is done I’d subpar. Phone calls are not answered so those phone calls are then routed back to the office. What ends up happening is the work not completed is left to the few people in the office. This can go on for awhile but eventually it it wears you down, you want to help but how long can you go on without feeling completely used. Your own work suffers. So, it comes down to is telework does not mean you get a paycheck for taking care of your personal life, you really have to do your job and CARE about you work!

Thu, Feb 6, 2020

I find it rather interesting that individuals leaving comments to this story are spewing such venomous hate for telework and employees who are afforded the right to telework. It’s easy to blame the telework process for lazy employees. A lazy employee displays the same work ethic in an office environment or when teleworking. I watch the ones who flit from cube to cube playing the role of social butterfly. Yet nothing is being said regarding their lack of production. I work harder on my telework days because of the lack of distractions. The loud talkers, the always sick and spreading disease workers. The ones who are never at their desks and the ones who use meetings to avoid actual work. Do not discount the attempt by an administration to gut the federal workforce, primarily at agencies whose purpose does not fit their personal agenda. Of course the system could use some refinement and better assurance for personal accountability. If a manager cannot ensure productivity in the office, is that the fault of the lazy employee or the manager approving the telework request? If the job requires the employee to be onsite then so be it. If the job allows telework to productive employees then Hooray! I for one absolutely relish the days when I don’t have to get on the road with angry dangerous drivers, deal with distractions from noisy coworkers, be saddled with lazy employees, and being sneezed on by sick disgusting people. Telework like anything else has its good and bad aspects. But, don’t blame bad management and poor leadership in both the office and the Whitehouse on telework.

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Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
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