Telecommuting is becoming increasingly popular among office workers of all types. Although many telecommuting employees spend part of their time at the office, the ability to do some of their work from home provides them with more flexibility than they would have if they were required to do all of their work at the office. Thanks to the telework bill that passed the Senate last week, many Federal employees will be able to add themselves to the growing ranks of people who work from home at least part of the time.
The telework bill requires Federal agencies to develop policies that will enable their employees to work from remote locations such as their homes part of the time, unless their positions are specifically excluded. In the past, many supervisors within Federal agencies have been unwilling to permit employees to telecommute because of their perceptions about managing workers that they cannot see. As a result, telecommuting was not a widespread practice within Federal agencies. The telework bill aims to address the concerns of the supervisors by providing training and support to help them successfully implement telework within their agencies.
Employees are not the only ones that stand to benefit from the telework bill. The agencies that employ the people that choose to telecommute may receive greater productivity from the telecommuting employees. For example, last winter, a series of snowstorms shut down many Federal offices in Washington, D.C. for a day or so. Telecommuting employees can usually work when severe weather forces the office to close, unless the storm causes them to be without electricity. Also, everyone in the office benefits from employees that can choose to work from home when they are not feeling well. Unfortunately, some people would rather bring their flu symptoms to work with them than miss a day, and then other people end up getting sick.