Hot Scoop: Telework in the News

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There’s been a ton of news on FedScoop this week over federal telework programs and the progress of telework legislation currently stalled in congress.  Check out some of the stories below following the telework trend, as well as FedScoop’s own telework study, published last month.

Telework is vital to government operations, chiefs say

(Government Executive)

Despite indications that telework is losing momentum in government, top executives at five agencies promoted the practice and said managers should make it possible for more employees to work from home.

“There’s a lot of talk about the trouble of commuting to work, but to me the real national security issue is if we had something that disrupted the ability of the federal workforce to get to the office, could we continue to provide the services of government? I think you’d find that many departments and agencies would have problems,” said John Streufert, deputy chief information officer for information security at the State Department.

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Rethinking the workplace in the 21st century

(Washington Post Blog)

Sometimes the sign of good leadership is an ability to see challenges as opportunities rather than roadblocks to success.

Case in point: telework.

It can be tempting as a manager to assume that workers who are not present are not productive. One agency head recently told one of my colleagues: “People come to the office and do nothing. I want those kinds of employees inconvenienced by having to come into the office. I don’t want them working in the comfort of their homes.”

Yet, with the ever-increasing demands on government, leaders must learn to adapt to the new century and start rethinking when, how and where work is done. The bottom line is simple: it’s not where you are, but what gets accomplished that counts.

While a great deal has been written about the benefits to individuals, avoiding long commutes and improving work-life balance, implementing an effective telework arrangement can save the government money on overhead, provide better citizen services by extending hours, ensure continuity of operations during regional and national emergencies and improve worker performance.

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Manager buy-in remains the biggest telework challenge

(Federal News Radio)

With legislation to expand teleworking pending in Congress, and backing from the White House and the Office of Personnel Management, you might think that getting more and more federal workers to do more of their jobs away from their offices might be just around the corner.

But you’d be wrong-at least according to several experts.

Kurt Vondran, a legislative representative for the National Treasury Employees Union, says no matter how many executive orders the White House issues, how many laws Congress passes, or how many well-meaning pronouncements from Cabinet officials, nothing will matter unless agency managers buy-in to the idea that telework is an operational advantage.

And he says NTEU’s efforts to negotiate telework agreements with agencies, such as the IRS, provide a good launch pad for discussions about getting federal managers to say “yes” on telework.

“We had discussions with them over proposals to save space,” says Vondran during a panel discussion on teleworking during a program sponsored by the Coalition for Effective Change, Thursday at the Partnership for Public Service in Washington.

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