12:49 pm, May 30, 2015

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  • Telework Bill
    CStephenson
    As a video conferencing consultant, I can tell you that if Federal managers and Federal teleworkers will look to the NIST FIPS 140-2 Certified List, they will find that there is a true end-to-end web-based product on the list. This web based product will allow teleworkers to utilize their existing laptop outfitted wtih a simple webcam to created a highly sophisitcated virtual meeting station.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Good idea, but...
    StarTrek1701
    Well, as an IRS employee, I do not see this as an option in my future. There would have to be a signifcant change in the mind-set around here for someone at my level to take part. That stated, I do have a problem with the final paragraph of the report; the use of one's own equipment. Yes, it is true that we know what we have, we are more comfortable, and there is much less start-up time. But, who is going to repair or replace those items that break, crash, or just plain wear-out? I have had updates (some with viruses) applied to my work computer that had caused some serious performance issues. If their software causes any of those problems we see at work, are they going to hire a "Geek Squad" to come to our home to fix these problems, and what if the damage is extensive enough to require a system wipe or re-formatting. No, that last idea is a really bad one.
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  • Use of employee owned computers
    scotto
    What I found is that, unless you're bound to face-to-face customer service, that most jobs have some component that's suitable for telework. It could be online training that could be done at home, filling out forms, or even handling customer service calls from your home office. I don't know what you do for IRS, but I'll be willing to bet that there is some aspect of your work that would be a reasonable fit for telework, if only on an occasional basis. On the other issue you posted, I agree that the use of one's own equipment doesn't work for everyone. I use my own as a full time teleworker, but I'm a software engineer by trade so don't have much of a problem with technical issues. When use of employee owned equipment is allowed, you're right, help desk and technical services should be provided or at least subsidized.
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  • good idea but is right
    LTKj
    you need to use GFE for all the reasons Glen G noted as well as the whole issue of spillage of sensitive information... I don't want to work on my desktop and inadvertently store information that others can get at... in addition, others use my desktop in my family and its not fair to them, nor is it secure. When you have multiple federal workers on telework .... and that's a common situation ... you need to address that not everyone can buy two and three computers .... So let's encourage "safe" access and computing, protect our federal information as a part of the trust the American people have to have in their government support. And provide GFE and offsets for access costs from home.
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  • Telework is typical dreamland politics
    NOVA_fed
    Despite all the politically-correct pressure to endorse telework, I don't see it happening anytime soon on a large scale. The reasons are many and obvious. First, how does a supervisor, who is responsible for employee performance, validate what an employee is doing at home? Second, many employees, no matter what the pundits say, cannot be trusted working on their own. I've called staff at home and found out they were taking care of their kids, doing the laundry, even getting ready to go to the store. That's an abuse of taxpayer dollars. Third, in this day and age of taxpayer revulsion at the perks of public employees, do you really think this is going to go over, especially with a new more conservative congress that actually listens to its constituents? And finally, I don't think there's one iota of evidence that people are "more efficient" at home. Yes, they make enjoy working at home and it may make for a higher morale level, but I don't think feds have been really LISTENING. The new policy agenda isn't about making feds happier or encouraging them to stay. Frankly, the American public has cried out it wants less gov't and hence less federal employees. The policy agenda is about cutting the federal workforce, not about "making it happier."
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Measuring Teleworker Performance
    scotto
    A supervisor, who is responsible for employee performance, validates what an employee is doing at home by having good telework agreements in place, train employees on what is permissible and what is not, and defining performance measures related to work products and output, rather than time on task. Granted, there are some employees who abuse the telework privilege (and it is a privilege), and violate their telework agreements, and must have their telework status revoked. Imagine, however, just for a minute, that it doesn't matter what the employee is doing, as long as they meet their performance requirements and quality criteria. If they have time to watch TV, go to the store, tend the kids, and such, AND they are measurably as productive as their office bound colleagues, then the problem is not with the employee, but perhaps with the manager who set performance standards too low. Besides, do you really know what your cubicle-bound colleagues are doing every minute while they are in the office?
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • measuring
    LTKj
    Bravo, well said. And isn't it interesting that many folks can describe what they do all day long. And the few times I've been able to telework, I've thrown in the occasional load of laundry as my office is right across the hall... and that hasn't stopped me from getting my work done, but it does make my weekend's more pleasant and leisurely. I get up and walk around periodically at the office also. You have to plan for what you do on telework, and that is what's different from on site work, and what should be the same... I realize that we have a lot of drive by taskings, but telework at DISA is more and more seamless. All my folks answer email and phone calls within a reasonable amount of time. I'm very proud of their accomplisments whether on site or off site. We get the job done for our Warfighters.
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  • Bravo
    Stark
    Bravo to scotto and LTKj. NOVA_fed, your statement, "Second, many employees, no matter what the pundits say, cannot be trusted working on their own" is very telling. First, that's a loaded comment and belies an old-school aversion to telework just "because". Not being able to trust an employee is not a telework problem, it's a management problem. As scotto noted..do you watch over that same employee every second of their 8-hour day to ensure they are working? Probably not. You set standards and requirements that they have to meet, just as you would if they were teleworking.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • how you supervise remotely...or off line of site
    LTKj
    What I see here is that its really hard to set performance standards for on site people, let alone OFF SITE teleworkers. However, some people are better on telework than others... its just really hard to address performance issues if there's someone who's not doing well. The only way is to have supervisors write daily or weekly or monthly accomplishments expected from an employee and then tracking to see if its done... During the day I work on email, meet with people, talk on the phone, have policy meetings etc ON SITE. About a third to half my staff are on telework everyday but Wednesday, which I have as my on site day for my staff. I don't let them describe that all they are going to do is check email -- I want to know what issues they dealt with in email, not just how many they received; how they coordinated; how many things they resolved; I don't let them just do training on telework, though we have a lot of on line training in our jobs, so its not a bad way to deal.... We all wish we had more tools to deal with telework efficiencies and reporting, but we also still try and be effective on telework, because folks like it, especially those who have a long comute, like dressing casually (bunnie slippers), and who still want to do the jobs they are paid to do.... I've seen my management seriously try to not require face to face only meetings when the situation isn't classified... they've sat on the home end of the phones and esperienced how badly some of our tools work, and they work for more tools and capabilities...they've required that the reporting supervisors do the same, so that all levels can address the pros and con's of telework. You need to WANT TO MAKE IT WORK, that's what DISA has found...
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Well said, LTKj
    scotto
    That's what I've experienced as well. Most of the telework opportunities for my employees are full time, and in an academic environment, but we manage to provide quality services in spite of predictions to the contrary. I found that when interviewing people regarding telework at DISA as well. I also agree that you need to "want to make it work"! If you want telework to fail, it's easy enough to create a self-fulfilling prophesy. It took us 3 years of gradual introduction to convince management, and now at least 1/2 of our Deans are full time teleworkers. The Federal government is, somewhat surprisingly, way ahead on that account.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Oh come on-relax
    Lisa Lisa
    I want to address a few concerns: 1) Telework for most is ONE day every 2 weeks. The complaint that the supervisor cant properly assess an individual for their annual performance-thats just nuts. My boss is right across from me and STILL has no clue what I do on a daily basis-too busy being up his bosses you know what. 2) Depending on what you do, most can actually get work done because you dont have colleagues popping over at your cube or office telling you how their weekend went throughout the day or how their date went or the funny thing that happened just now. 3). I agree with most that the idea of the use of our personal computer for some that work on sensative materials shouldnt use their personal PC because like many, the computer in the family room is used by family members. Just to answer emails and work on simple word or excel docs, not so much of an issue. You should be able to log in to your PC at work from home and that should be the best approach. 4) Teleworking saves gas and time each day teleworking is used 5) In cases of national emergencies or weather emergencies, we can continue business as usual from home and not sit around doing nothing. This does not include essential personnel to keep IT equip running, maintenance workers, etc. that need to keep the building running for various reasons. 6) We are evolving in to a more technological world everyday. There are very little reasons today why this cant be accepted except for those that just dont want to and thats just not good enough.
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  • Excellent comment!
    Stark
    You hit all the big points, Lisa Lisa. I think many folks are making a snap judgment and not realizing your first point: even this new telework bill won't suddenly make our buildings empty because everyone is teleworking all the time. My gosh, relax and calmy understand what's going on here. Most folks telework once or twice per pay period. That's really not a big deal. Heck, lots of people take leave that often, have flex days that often, or are just away at meetings that often! At least when teleworking it will be Work.
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  • Not Interested
    seabee47
    To do my job, I have to work with original documents that cannot be taken away from the office due to security reasons. There are NO 'on-line' copies of these documents. Additionally, the Government is not going to pay for the use of my home internet and telephone lines and I do not wish take them away from others at my residence from using them.. Since I do not wish to participate in teleworking, the use of my home lines will not be donated for FREE. If the Government wants me to telework, then they can provide the communication lines, but, as I said in the first paragraph, I cannot take the original documents 'off-site, so I CANNOT do any work at a telework site.
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  • Obviously.
    Stark
    The policy covers assessing all jobs and evaluating whether they can actually be performed via telework. Kind of a "no duh" procedure. Can a federal police officer patrol a compound or stand a post from their computer at home? Obviously not, so therefore they would not be able to telework to perform those duties. Does a given employee who requires the use of physical documents that cannot be taken out of a specific facility, perform those duties remotely via telework? Obviously not. We all need to make this very, very small mental leap. Frustrating.
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  • Some jobs ...
    scotto
    There are some jobs that aren't suitable for telework for one reason or another, apparently including yours. I'll venture a guess that nobody will try to turn your job in to a teleworking situation, especially if you don't want it to be so.
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  • Freebie
    ITGEEK
    For your internet connections this is the way I see it. If Uncle Sam won't reimburse me for part of my internet bill vs. me putting up with traffic, burning time and gas, then perhaps I will let that go. 40 bucks a month for internet out of your pocket vs. saving say 1-2 days a week of driving in and putting up with time on the road. Sides if you're already paying for internet for private use then it doesn't make that much of a difference in some sense vs. if you currently don't have it. Somethings aren't worth the hassles.
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