Feds feel at home with advantages of telecommuting

Feds feel at home with advantages of telecommuting


Telecommuting is happening in the federal government. Not on a big scale, but it's happening.

'It eliminates drive-time commuting,' said Henry Brown, regional director of automated information support for the Defense Security Service (DSS) in Boston, a city well-known for tangled roads and nightmarish traffic.

Agency policies on telecommuting appear to vary.

size="2" color="#000000">Telecommuters list likes, dislikes


  • It eliminates commuting headaches.

  • You can work without interruption.

  • It increases productivity.

  • You lose face-to-face interaction with co-workers.

  • There is a sense of isolation.

  • It requires self-discipline

  • Technology at home may be inferior to that in the office.

At DSS, for example, an employee's proposal to telecommute must pass a benefits analysis test to be approved, Brown said.

At the Argonne National Laboratory in Washington, however, there is no definite policy on telecommuting, said administrative manager Patria Leath, another survey participant.

Leath said she is among the roughly 10 percent of the lab's staff that telecommutes; she works from home about one day a week. Most of the telecommuters interviewed said working from home is terrific. But what's the downside?

Leath was among those who couldn't think of any disadvantages.

But some telecommuters, including Brown, noted a sense of isolation when working from home.

Still others warned against too much telephone contact with people in the office.

In New Jersey, an Army communications specialist said he can save travel time and be more dedicated to work at home but found 'having to stay in touch with people in the office' a nuisance.

Among other negatives, some telecommuters said their technology wasn't up to snuff, citing slower PCs and sluggish access speeds at home.

size="1">The GCN Reader Survey is intended to provide data on trends and product preferences. This survey on telecommuting is based on a telephone survey of 120 federal readers who on their subscription forms identified themselves as information technology managers or computer specialists.

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