It’s a been proven: teleworkers are more focused, productive and able to balance their family life and work life. But in comparison to other industries, the public sector has been slow to adopt telework policies. President Obama, however, is making significant strides to change that. Last week, the House passed the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 requiring federal agencies to establish policies that enable government employees to work remotely.
Teleworking in the public sector is not new. In fact, government workers were advised to work from home in April 2010 during the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington to avoid the traffic snarls from high-security measures. And when snowstorms, also known as snowpocalypse, closed down federal offices in Washington for days in February 2010, teleworking kept government agencies running and operational. Until now, though, teleworking has only been implemented during extreme situations. Yet, 61 percent of the federal workforce holds a telework-compatible job. If those eligible work from home at least once a week, government agencies would see productivity increases, federal employees would realize transportation-related savings and the nation would experience reduced carbon emissions.
Furthermore, research shows that teleworkers find more satisfaction in their jobs compared to those who are office-based and that teleworkers experience a greater number of benefits associated with working remotely. Giving federal employees more freedom to telework is expected to save the government money since it will spend less in onsite resources, help retain employees because of increased flexibility and be prepared for the unexpected disruptions that stall operations. Overall, it’s a promising move that we can expect will be adopted by more government agencies down the road.