I am one of those teleworkers that continues working, regardless of the weather. Sometimes, it's a lonely existence, since a lot of employees still do not telework.
There are certain employees that have to go to work, regardless of the weather (e.g. Park Rangers, Secret Service Agents, Border Patrol, TSOs, Air Traffic Controllers, etc.), but if you are an office worker, do you telework when government offices are closed? If not, why not? If you do, what can make the experience better for you?
For me, the experience would be better if more of my co-workers also teleworked. Also, it would be more productive if we didn't cancel meetings and discussions. Instead, we should be using webcasting and collaboration tools like Lync to stay in touch, regardless of the weather.
What do you think? Are you a dedicated teleworker or a traditional office worker? Is anyone out there?
Really good question
Thanks Steve! Today's Government Closure is occuring on the 3-year anniversary of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 (December 10, 2010), when telework was first introduced as an option during government closure and dismissal announcements. It has resulted in better continuity of operations and improved the safety of employees who no longer have to struggle with traffic to get to the office. I hope that all the teleworkers out there are showing support for telework, especially on days like today!
Thanks for your support of telework Bill, and showing the example for your employees. Studies show that about 10% of employees choose not to telework. This percentage is slowing diminishing over time. I don't have any issue with these non-believers and don't begrudge them taking the day off, especially since they have to contend with the commute every other day of the year.
My issue is with those who want it both ways - who telework when it is convenient for them, but want a free day off when the Government is closed. You can't have it both ways!
Roger that, Terry, you are not alone.
I'm teleworking today per the OPM guidance and my agency telework agreement. The government needs a contingent workforce not only for snow days but for any emergency situation that shuts down normal federal agency operations. For the anti-telework crowd out there I would say this:
Bottom line: telework simply makes good business sense and is an operational necessity for any organization to remain effective, efficient and productive in today's mobile/digital world.
What I'd like to see more of is all federal agencies fully embracing telework, like mine does, to the maximum extent possible. Folks should understand that the days of an all brick-and-mortar workplace are going the way of the dinosaur.
I'd also appreciate some respect and gratitude from all the detractors of telework who refuse to get onboard and/or bad mouth remote work because they don't like it or won't do it for whatever reason.
Three cheers for remote work!
I'm with you 100% David! I think that we have finally reached the "Tipping Point" for Telework.
Terry - this is a great topic! I'm a consultant for a federal agency and, as part of my contract, I'm allowed/strongly encouraged to continue work from home even when my client is not. I echo the "three cheers for remote work" comment and so does my management consulting firm, Corner Alliance! I love having the flexibility to work from home and find I'm more efficient. In fact, I just wrote a blog on it.
That being said, I feel increasingly frustrated at canceled meetings and the lack of (or delayed) communication with my client/team members in these instances. It's assumed consultants will power through short set backs such as these to maintain momentum for the client. In most cases, however, that is difficult without equal participation. I'd be interested to hear what others think about this conundrum and how we can improve it?
I'm with you on the cancellations Lauren. It defeats the purpose of working remotely. Here is what I recommend:
Good luck and make sure to collaborate with your client on expectations before hand.
Glad to see our contractor partners are also advocates for telework!
Terry, great question and one that we receive often at ICMA.
For those who are interested in how to improve conditions to make teleworking a more attractive option, I have pulled some resources from ICMA’s Knowledge Network.
I hope these documents give those who are hesitant about teleworking or who are looking to develop a culture of telework some guidance. In addition to the documents posted here there are many great articles, blog posts, and documents about telework in general that can be found on the Knowledge Network.
Community Engagement Manager, Knowledge Network
No. We just hope it snows enough so when we call the installation emergency line, we are told not to come in....and mark "admin leave" on our time. Semi industrial and production cannot telework. It would be difficult to put an H53 or an AV8 Harrier in our back yard to work on. lol lol lol
A two hour delay is not bad either. In the south, if it should snow, everything comes to a stand still.
I like working at home, but there are still real problems with the IT and expectations about working during general emergencies. My best "telework" days involve NO IT and are regular workdays when the kids are in school and there are no distractions, no phone ringing, no office visitors. I stay at home with a big huge document to edit, best in hard copy. I can get it done in half the time.
BUT here is a A REAL dose of reality for you folks.....
1. My agency simply refuses to supply us all with decent equipment to take home. At home I have a small netbook PC and a slow wireless printer -- both purchased several years ago. They work fine for my own personal use. I can't afford to buy new stuff now and I will be GD if I have to do it just for work. This is a general problem which could be alleviated at least somewhat by giving us all laptops instead of office desktops (which is a new Dell with a nice large screen and the most up to date software by the way).
2. Me paying for faster broadband access just for work. Nope, I can't afford it.We have had to downsize over the last few years. Neither my wife or I have has had a pay raise in three years, and getting a lousy 1% this year is almost a joke. Really, we don't have cable TV or a home phone anymore either. Its a basic cell phone and a data plan. We have had to make-do with basic level speeds for regular home access, but it sucks when my PC has to be in terminal mode to access my PC at the office. Getting the kind of speed I need for my work requires another $600.00 a year -- no thanks. My telecommunications bill is down to $100.00 a month, just for basic Internet broadband and cell lines for us all, and that seems excessive. $1,200 a year.. is not cheap.
3. When the government closes most of us also have to deal with the fallout from the storm at home. The government closes not only for the good of the government, but because its employees may be facing real issues at home. Many of us have to de-ice and shovel out driveways. Schools are closed and kids are home and have to be taken care of. No daycare either. During Isabelle we had trees down on our house, no water and no electricity. So teleworking during general weather related emergencies should remain OPTIONAL, not required.
4. Teleworking to meetings? Ha! What a joke! Where I work this consists of a conference call where I can't see what everyone else can, can't hear half the people in the room, don't have access to hard copies and there is no thought for real meeting software. Plus, I am not even sure it would work on my Internet connection. If something is sensitive or classified, the open phone line is useless.
5. I have been working at home on a sporadic basis for 25 years. No telework agreement was ever required. My supervisor OK'd it in advance and knew what I was/am doing, but I wasn't expected to do it during snowstorms and I wasn't expected to buy equipment or services above what I otherwise need for my own personal use. Now it seems I have to have an agreement, and that agreement specifies that I have to practically buy myself the equipment of a home office. This is ridiculous.