Teleworking, AWS & The Reluctant Boss

Friday - 4/30/2010, 4:00am EDT

If it's Friday you must be working from home. Or could be. Or should be, right? Or is teleworking as-you-know-it not working very well. Reserved for a chosen few, or not even an option?

Depends.

It depends on what your job is, what agency you work for, sometimes your geographical location and in some cases whether your boss "gets it" or operates like its 1981 not 2010.

Key members of Congress are trying to get more feds out of the office (and off the roads) and enhance the government's COOP program via a robust teleworking program. In addition to new emphasis and new policies on teleworking, Congress is looking for feedback from feds on the pros and cons.

The Congressional Research Service has done an excellent side-by-side comparision of the House and Senate teleworking bills. To check it out, click here.

Last Friday we asked readers how the teleworking program is working (or not working) in their office. We were swamped with replies. And despite the overall enthusiam for teleworking, some people say it's flawed or a nightmare.

Here goes starting with the problem of having a reluctant boss:

  • "I am a supporter of agencies implementing a telework strategy... I was hired into the Federal workforce on the agreement of AWS, and the use of alternate work schedule was a very key factor that led me to make the switch from the private sector.

    "AWS has been in place since I began my public service, and has been put to great use as I have a child with special needs, and this allows me some time to tend to appointments, meetings, etc. regarding his health and education.

    "When a new leader arrived in my agency, it was randomly decided that AWS didn't work for her and the benefit was to be removed effective immediately. Of course I pushed back professionally, and it remains in place 'for the time being.'

    "AWS, if followed properly, provides a win for the agency and employee. It is the 25+ year bureaucrats (even those in IT) that are not amenable to its benefits because they 'want to be able to put my eyes on you' in the office." Defense Department

  • "... (L)ook into where the telework 'dollars' are … for example, moneys allocated to GSA to manage mostly vacant Telework Centers should be repurposed to other telework incentives. Agencies that do through a telework policy produce monetary savings should be duly rewarded so that they can reinvest in their program and expand it. A prime example would be office space savings, through actual use of 'hoteling'. Another example would be to redirect Transportation Subsidy savings (because of less commutes) back to either the agencies or straight to the individual teleworker to compensate for remote worker's internet service costs, or equipment needs.

    "Overall, there should be a central 'Telework Fund' and oversight by OPM to reign in the telework dollars..., and disburse funding based on agency performance and on a strategic way ahead." Rick With Air Force

  • "...I partly agree with K from the IRS, yes there is a problem with how telework is given out in all areas of the government. Managers are the ones who make that decision and it usually is given to the pets or the golden children. I think it should be a choice for all workers to have. I believe we would have a more productive work environment if it were a choice, more work would get done with less distractions. I know it is hard for anyone in my office to get a single job finished without 5-10 distractions (and that's on a good day). I'm not saying that it should be a 5 day a week choice but 1-2 days a week spread out among all in the division. Not everyone should or would be off at the same time if this choice was given. And the employees would be more high spirited and less stressed out, which in return projects would be completed in a more efficient way and time." Michele with the Marines

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


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