All hands on deck?

Images by Tang Ming Tung/Getty Images

Even as many feds have returned to their agency offices and other traditional workplaces, some argue far many more should be back at their desks.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, in job slots that made it at all possible more than two-thirds of feds worked remotely. The president said in his State of the Union address that it was time for far more feds to wind down this level of remote work.

And, now—as we enter the summer of 2022—of course many feds have either returned to their traditional job sites full-time or at the very least part-time.

Yet many hundreds of thousands of feds who had only rarely or never worked away from the office prior to the pandemic continue to spend much of their time still teleworking, far from the office and their colleagues.

A new analysis piece, by the editors of Bloomberg news, argues it is past time for far more of the federal government’s workforce to return to their traditional posts. The authors point to those hundreds of thousands still in these remote work situations.

“That’s a problem,” they argue. “Remote work hobbles the ability of government officials to collaborate, respond nimbly to crises and forge consensus on policy goals.”

“Because taxpayer funds will be spent maintaining federal buildings regardless, it also wastes money and worsens voters’ cynicism about government,” they conclude.

Many feds and their unions maintain the opposite position, of course. And with the resurgence of COVID—and to an unknown degree long COVID and other steeper costs of the continuing pandemic—they have reason. Yet even amid admonitions to “mask up” all over again from health officials and those who manage large venues and other public spaces, counter-claims such as this one from Bloomberg are perhaps gaining more purchase in the wider society.  

For more, see the full text on Bloomberg.

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