woman teleworking (Creative Lab/Shutterstock.com)

Far-reaching federal telework to be made permanent

Last March, to protect feds from COVID, the Office of Personnel Management issued guidance directing agencies to ensure that “as many employees as possible” could telework. And in the year-plus since, the vast majority of feds have indeed worked remotely.

Vaccination and fast-falling numbers of coronavirus cases in recent weeks are bringing pressure from management and some in political Washington to order employees back to brick-and-mortar workplaces.

The back-to-the-office push, as soon as COVID’s ravages abated, was anticipated. But in a surprise move, the administration is instead signaling it wants widespread telework to remain in force as the “new normal,” according to a new report in the Washington Post.

Why? According to the report, it’s a combination of statistics showing feds—prior to the pandemic—had fallen far behind the times compared with private industry in telework, as well as the practice’s popularity among a workforce that suffered excessive criticism under the previous administration and could use a morale boost.

 

Reader comments

Wed, Jun 30, 2021

Our office is a federal building but to access the front door, you must walk past hordes of homeless and a methadone clinic to get into the building and GSA will not allow employees to access another entrance door because they don't want to staff security for it. It's a real pleasure to not walking through a dangerous place in order to get to your office and don't get me started about the lack of airflow, air conditioning, dark damp hallways and elevators that people get stuck in for hours at a time. It's a real pleasure to not sit in a cubicle all day surrounded by others that come to collect a paycheck while conducting their personal owned small business work from a federal location and federal owned equipment. Telework has done a lot for my productivity, anxiety and sanity!

Sat, Jun 19, 2021

I am an older fed and I don't ever want to see the inside of that office again. Telework is the best thing that ever happened in my opinion - no office politics, no more having to listen to the noise that comes out of the next cubicle, no more having to ignore the screaming across the office that the managers can't or won't put a stop to because 'they don't want to cause any problems'. The only ones who want to go back in at my office are the people who enjoy being 'disrupters' and a new manager who has waited all her life to be in her position and intends show her supervisors that she can control this office and make it into a showplace. She has been chomping at the bit to get everyone in to the office so she can finally manage'...lol. Not everyone has screaming children or barking dogs at home, and since you do and have no control over your home, then please, be my guest and do the extra three hours of unpaid commute time to get away from the nightmare that you live in, but me, I rather enjoy getting up, getting a cup of tea, listening to the birds sing and not having to wear my 'bus jeans'. I am happier and work a much better day and actually put in overtime now which is a win-win for everyone. And for the person who wrote that we need to go to office to interact with other people, go make some friends.

Wed, Jun 16, 2021

telework

Mon, Jun 14, 2021 Arlington, VA

Not all federal employees work in federally owned buildings. Now that we know telework works, it is a waste of public tax dollars to pay for renting privately owned buildings for fed employees to work in. This should be the FIRST in line most wasteful cost that should be eliminated by a move toward fully remote work in such offices.

Sun, Jun 13, 2021 Arlington, VA

Now that we know telework is fully functional, it is a waste of public tax dollars to continue pay exorbitant DC area rents to the privately owned buildings that house employees. All buildings federal employees work in are not owned by the federal government and are a waste of public tax dollars especially the DC area where a large portion of the fed jobs are. Maybe in small remote towns the cost to the public is not so bad.

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