The Four Horsemen of Telework

Monday - 8/16/2010, 5:11am EDT

Most of the back and forth about teleworking boils down to four basic ideas, notes Washington Technology in 4 reasons why federal managers resist telework. Those same points are touched on in How to make telework really work from the Dorobek Insider on Federal News Radio.

Here's a quick look at the issues and the pros and cons:

1. Technical disconnects

    WashTech: Federal workers "need government-provided portable devices, security software, management software and other tools" to get the job done.

    Dorobek Insider: You "need surprisingly little to actually telework." A "basic laptop with wireless capability and a cellphone," should cover the essentials.

2. Disconnected employees

    WashTech: "'In their 'work from home days,' they do not respond at all,' one reader wrote."

    Dorobek Insider: Managers "have to change their mindset to focus on the results... to make it so that people can get the results," including meeting expectations that employees will respond to phone calls or e-mails.

3. Management matters

    WashTech: "'Telephones and e-mail are good for communicating facts, but nuances are lost,'" says one manager."

    Dorobek Insider: "(S)uccessful telecommuting programs are very results-oriented that have leaders who are focused on the end game, not the process itself.""

4. Bad apple? Bad news.

    WashTech: The "process for dealing with underperforming feds leaves something to be desired and that many managers would rather just avoid it. As they see it, their best available option is to keep those employees on a short leash."

    Dorobek Insider: "We're working against hundreds of years of management by walking around. . . . This is a change in mindset." Being an effective leader requires setting clear goals regardless of where the employee performs the work.