Next time you spot somebody hunkered over a laptop, renting an entire table for four with a $1.75 cup of coffee at Starbucks, show a little respect. It could be a trusted member of the federal civil service.
A study by CDW Government, Inc. says teleworking is expanding in the federal government. About 41 percent of the employees surveyed said they teleworked, and about 43 percent of those said they had started recently. Roughly 6 percent of teleworkers surveyed said their workplace of choice was Starbucks.
The study, compiled with the help of O’Keefe & Co., was based on interviews with 235 information-technology professionals and 542 Washington area feds. CDW-G, a unit of CDW Corp., provides IT services to governments.
Although the numbers are encouraging, some in government suspect that such surveys are tilted to make it look like greater gains are being made.
This is in large part to satisfy people such as Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican. He has put language in several appropriations bills that provide stiff fines for agencies that don’t meet teleworking goals.
Mr. Wolf represents a district with some of the nation’s worst traffic congestion. The words “Tysons Corner” and “Mixing Bowl” strike fear into many people in the Washington area.
Mr. Wolf’s goal is to have so many feds teleworking so often that every day seems like a Friday. It is one of the lighter traffic days, except on holiday weekends, because so many people on four-day schedules pick that as their alternate day off. Politicians and officials also worry about what might happen if a major flu epidemic, natural disaster or terrorist attack hit the area.
Nobody knows for sure how many federal employees are working from home or from telework centers, or how often they do it, or what exactly identifies a teleworker.
In 2004, the Office of Personnel Management counted 140,694 teleworkers, up from 72,844 in 2001. A major problem is that it is in just about everybody’s interest to maximize that number.
Another issue is that skeptics of teleworking tend to keep quiet.
“[It’s] a fact that some bosses just don’t trust employees they can’t see. Being in touch via computer or phone isn’t enough,” a Defense Department employee said.
“They read about workers, whose home base is Dallas or Washington, but who actually do their jobs from Denver and Seattle,” he said, but “either they don’t believe it really works or they know it won’t work with their employees.”
Unless and until managers are convinced the program works, regular reports, surveys and audits showing the progress of the program may not cut into traffic or the nation’s energy problems.
It isn’t if, or when. The question for federal and military people is how much the January raise next year will be. In the past, there has been the possibility that one group would get a bigger percentage raise than the other.View Entire Story
By Elaine Donnelly
Extending sexual misconduct to combat units
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Entertainment News and Reviews from Washington, D.C. and beyond.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Video reviews of today's hottest trends in Minecraft (servers and mods) along with a look at the latest video games with your host MCairsoft14 (alias Jerad Zad).
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention