Teleworking & Two-Way Wrist Radios

Thursday - 7/15/2010, 4:00am EDT

Teleworking in 2010 is what detective Dick Tracy's two-way wrist radio watch was in the 1950s: The wave of the future. The solution to most if not all of our problems.

Fans of the wrist radio timepiece, which enabled the fabled newspaper cartoon detective to talk to other crime fighters, predicted we would all be wearing one. Some day. And that once we did, it would make it virtually impossible for crooks to escape the law. They were correct. Up to a point...

From DickTracyMuseum.com

Now we've got cell phones with cameras that tell time. But the crime thingee is still problematic. We haven't stopped it, but we can watch it later on YouTube.

Much the same thing is said about teleworking, especially in the federal government. Backers say that if enough people do it, it could reduce traffic jams, fight pollution, eliminate tardiness and make for a more productive workforce. No one has yet claimed teleworking will help people lose weight or grow hair. But it sounds good.

So is there a downside to teleworking? And if so, would anybody dare voice them?

Along comes Dave.

Dave says he is a long-time fed, with lots of federal friends and with some experience with teleworking. He says that the teleworking cloud doesn't necessarily have a silver lining.

Example:

    "When things get slow, Congress 'discovers' the merits of teleworking. Nobody will ever be late, sick or unhappy again if they can stay away from the office some or all of the time. Teleworking will enable the US Gov to operate if there is an earthquake, tsunami or multiple terrorist attacks. It is the ultimate win-win solution, so we are told.

    "How about a reality check. I worked in an office that tried teleworking years ago. With a couple of exceptions it was a flop. The people who could not telework because of the nature of their work, were bitter. Those who could and did telework seemed to lose touch with the reality of the workplace, resented when they had to come in and quickly went from being grateful to a sense of entitlement. When they had to come to work, or or come in for conferences or meetings, they seemed bored, resentful or distracted. The office stopped doing it after several years. And things, for the most part, returned to 'normal' and got better.

    "I've read in your column and elsewhere that the government is using teleworking as a 'lure' to recruit the best and brightest college grads who demand fast-track promotions, training and other 'work life' benefits, such as teleworking before they will deign to serve their country. My question is do we really want these people, and is teleworking worth it?"

Managers, who allegedly dwell in the stone age, are frequently blamed for delaying telework efforts. Bill Bransford, general counsel of the Senior Executives Association says that managers are often blamed by pro-teleworking politicians for opposing telework.

But he says many bosses are skeptical of telework "not from an outdated sense of workplace norms, but due to a sense of entitlement that seems to occur among some employees and the use of telework privileges in improper ways."

Bransford said that teleworking employees are often "inaccessible by telephone to customers" or fellow employees. And he said that "many supervisors have encountered employees who resisted coming in for a necessary meeting because it was called on their scheduled telework day."

Any thoughts?

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

The throwdown has been issued: The Daily Mail newspaper reports a new British snack "rivals even the most fattening American treats". Those modern wizards of cuisine have invented the lasagne sandwich. It has 565 calories and 26.9 grams of fat. "This means that one Tesco lasagne-sandwich is the equivalent of two McDonald's cheeseburgers," notes the paper. KFC's new Double Down sandwich limps in with 540 calories, so now it's up to you America.


ADDITIONAL PAY AND BENEFITS NEWS ON FEDERAL NEWS RADIO
House approves Telework Bill
By a vote of 290-131, the House of Representatives today approved H.R. 1722, the Telework Improvements Act. The bill, which is designed to expand the use of teleworking in the federal government, mandates that federal workers eligible to telework be allowed to do so unless agency supervisors determine that the nature of an employee's job keeps them from telecommuting. Read more here.

More feds will telework soon
Will telework soon become a mandate at your agency? Jessica Klement is with the Federal Managers Association and was Mike Causey's guest on Your Turn yesterday. Learn why she thinks more feds will be teleworking in the future, no matter what Congress thinks. Read more here.

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