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Responses to federal workforce Question of the Week: Is telework encouraged?

After two recent snowstorms closed the federal government and schools across the region, people began digging out. The season's snow tally in D.C. reached 55.6 inches Wednesday -- more than the last record of 54.4 inches, set in 1898-99.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Brian Taylor

Arlington County, Army Test and Evaluation Command

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Telework agreements have got to be written differently for each employee, just as job performance objectives should be different for each employee. Teleworking should not require prior approval. Every day should be a possible telework day. Management could install some limit criteria, such as a maximum of eight days a month.

The government also should develop teleworking sites such as Fredericksburg, Manassas, Baltimore, etc. These would help the commuting concerns of employees and also be a place where classified information could be worked.

Jared Hautamaki

Silver Spring, Environmental Protection Agency Office of Site Remediation Enforcement

I had shoulder surgery a month ago, and between doctor appointments in Bethesda while relying on Metrobus and these recent storms, EPA has allowed me to work from home when needed and when necessary due to weather. Because of this flexibility, I was able to work from home on days four and five after the operation, while attempting to commute via Metro would have been medically impossible.

While I prefer to work in the office, telework is an invaluable resource which could reduce the financial losses incurred by government shutdowns, since our transportation infrastructure in the region is so obviously inadequate and ill designed.

Doug Baggett

Stafford, contractor, National Science Foundation

Unlike federal workers, every time the federal government closes operations many contractors have to make up those hours or take vacation/sick time. Teleworking could be an option to many of those workers, but only if their contracts or federal agency customer approves. It would be nice if there was some rule concerning contractors working on-site at federal agencies that compelled employers to allow teleworking.

Cindy Savage

Louisville, Small Business/Self-Employed Division at the Internal Revenue Service

With about a foot of snow on the ground, working from my home keeps me working without missing any work. My work laptop gets me into every system that I can use at the office just as quickly as the office connections, and no interruptions from others in the office.

Yes, I don't get off when the office closes, but it is worth it not to have to get out in the cold and fight the traffic and weather.

Theresa Okton

Washington, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

We have telework and hoteling. The term "hoteling" is used for employees that work permanently from home and come to the work site one day a week. Unfortunately, telework is not offered to all employees because some choose not to hotel but would prefer to telework especially on weeks like this one.

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