5 reasons why some feds would rather not telework
The vast majority of readers want to work from home, but here is the minority report
- By John S. Monroe
- Jul 22, 2010
Make no mistake: The vast majority of readers commenting on telework stories in recent weeks clearly favor having the option to work from home on a regular basis. It’s not even close.
That said, we have noticed a handful of comments from readers who feel otherwise. Either they don’t see the attraction of a home office or they feel office work just comes with the job.
Granted, it’s a small sampling -- a handful comments, really -- but it’s enough to make us wonder if there might be other feds who would agree. What do you say? Is there anyone else out there who prefers not to telework, or actually opposes it? If so, why?
Meanwhile, here are the reasons we’ve heard so far:
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1. Some office “distractions” are part of the job.
Many readers have said that they get more work done at home because do not get waylaid by coworkers wandering the halls. But RayW sees it differently.
“I 'waste' about an hour a day on the average helping co-workers with issues, it is not in my job description but I am a senior engineer (well, a journeyman under the GS system) with outside experience that is useful. If I teleworked I could get more work done, but the group would suffer.”
A former manager, and now senior staffer, agrees.
“While commuting is a pain, as a service provider, it is necessary to be in the office to be able to physically interact and mentally interact, one on one, with whoever is also left within the hallowed halls.”
2. Ah, home sweet home.
“Besides security and privacy issues, I do not want to telework,” writes one reader. “I like keeping my work and home life separate.”
3. Too many security hoops to jump through.
For every network or security product that shows up on the market, a new threat appears as well. Access and security are forever at odds.
“Security on the network is so heavy that it takes a long period of time to get the work done and not cause problems with the applications that we work with,” writes an employee at the Agriculture Department.
4. It’s not a telework world.
Talk about a chicken-or-an-egg dilemma.
“Even my most productive telecommuters have items they must complete in the office,” writes a reader from Washington. “As long as face to face communications and paper documents remain part of the job, telecommuting will be at best only a partial solution.”
Which is to say that as long as so many people are not teleworking, would-be teleworkers will need to come into the office more often than they would like, which only reinforces the idea that telework is not a practical solution.
It’s enough to make my head hurt.
5. Some people just like to be in the office.
The self-described “Middle-aged Curmudgeon” might speak for more people than you might imagine when stating a clear preference for working at the office.
“We've specifically moved to where we can be near our work so we do not have long commutes,” the Curmudgeon writes. “We thrive in an office environment and know that, for us personally, telecommuting is a deterrent. If my agency forced me to telecommute or if I was the only one not telecommuting, I would find a job elsewhere.”
John S. Monroe is the editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week.