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How to make telework happen — the federal manager view


August 5, 2010 - 0 Comments

As regular readers know, telework is a HUGE issue in the federal government. And it’s naturally a topic we cover here on Break Down the Walls pretty extensively. A big question we hear a lot in the federal space is “why is it taking so long?”

There is emerging conventional wisdom around the answer to that question. Managers in federal agencies are seen as reluctant to embrace telework.

So we read with great interest today an op-ed in Federal Computer Week by Patricia Niehaus, the president of the Federal Managers Association. Kudos to Patricia – she addresses the issue squarely and presents what she feels are the legitimate concerns of her members. Here’s a link to the editorial.

First off, she admits telework is coming and changes need to be made to help it happen in the most efficient manner. Agreed! And she admits that yes, many managers fear a loss of control and a drop in employee productivity. Excellent – we can’t make change happen without an acknowledgement of concerns, right?

To our read the most critical things she cites are:

  • Telework requires a culture shift, which then requires increased training of federal managers to adapt
  • Trust must be strengthened through clear performance goals and accountability
  • One size fits all cannot work – there must be flexibility, and telework doesn’t work for some federal jobs
  • Pilot programs are a good way to increase acceptance and demonstrate viability

All good stuff, and we welcome the voice of the FMA to the debate. What do you think? What’s the view from your agency? Drop a comment and let us know.

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