MSPB offers advice on telwork

Sunday - 11/6/2011, 9:24pm EST

Federal managers worry that telework could hurt office dynamics, according to the results of a recent survey from the Merit Systems Protection Board. However, MSPB says there are many benefits to telework as long as the process is managed effectively. This includes making sure supervisors have the right skills to manage the performance of their teleworkers and making sure agencies have the right technology available for employees who telework. MSPB also urges agency leaders to discuss telework amongst themselves and develop approaches to telework that will work for their individual departments.

"[O]rganizations need to identify and weigh the pros and cons of telework for their situations and customize approaches that will maximize benefits and minimize challenges," said MSPB chairman Susan Tsui Grundmann in a release. "Telework does not occur in a vacuum, and organizations need to find the right balance."

Federal News Radio recently asked federal employees a somewhat similar question in an informal, online survey. When asked whether telework hurts office dynamics, 24 percent of those that already telework one day per week or more said yes. However, 46 percent of non-teleworkers believe that telework damages office dynamics.

In addition to making recommendations to managers implementing telework policies, MSPB also offered advice for employees considering telework. At the top of its list—feds should consider whether telework is actually something that will work for them.

"This should include determination that your home environment is suitable for telework. You should also make sure you can accomplish the same quantity and quality of work while teleworking as when working in the office. Further, make sure you can maintain appropriate communication, teamwork, and work relationships..."

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MSPB Report: "TELEWORK: Weighing the Information, Determining an Appropriate Approach"

Does telework hurt office dynamics? Depends whom you ask