Telecommuting In The Federal Government Essay

7304 words - 29 pages

IntroductionThere has been a great deal of confusion about the definition of telework, or telecommuting. While there is no commonly accepted definition, the following is frequently used, "Telework occurs when paid workers reduce their commute by carrying out all, or part of, their work away from their normal places of business, usually from home." (Bailyn) Some believe that all telework requires the use of technology; others believe that it refers only to employees, while others believe it applies to employees and all self-employed home-based workers. Telework, also referred to as telecommuting or flexiplace, has gained widespread attention over the past decade in both the public and private sectors as a human capital flexibility that offers a variety of potential benefits to employers, employees, and society. (Niles)Organizations that have the greatest success with telework tend to integrate telework so that it fits within their existing legal, financial, administrative, human resources etc. infrastructure. They ensure that telework is voluntary, subject to management discretion, operationally feasible and results in no additional costs. (Christensen)Telework organizations take full advantage of new technologies and new ways of working to focus on the work performed rather than on the location where it is performed. They discover first hand how it increases productivity while reducing accommodation costs, layoffs and absenteeism. As the information revolution reshapes our corporate and personal lives, moving us closer to a global society, telework also represents a major step towards working anywhere, anytime. As one of the key workplace transformers of the next decade, there is little doubt that it will inevitably and dramatically reshape how work is carried out in United States and throughout the world. (Kraut) Also, telework is emerging as an important and attractive work option for the Federal Government and its employees. It has the benefit of providing employees with the flexibility to better manage their work and personal responsibilities. For agencies, it provides another flexibility that makes Federal service attractive to prospective employees and a tool to encourage employees to remain in Federal service. Telework also has numerous benefits that complement our transportation systems, conserve resources, and improve the quality of life. It also is a powerful way of assisting those with disabilities to participate fully in the Federal workforce by the means of advanced technology. Telework should be an integral part of any agency's plans for continuity of operations. Telework allows the Federal government to remain responsive to the nation at all times. (Gite) With emerging technologies and the need for employers to be more flexible about where and how people work, telework is one logical and promising solution. Managers and supervisors who aggressively encourage the use of telework for the right employees and the right situations will...

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