GAO Pushing Telework for Government Employees
Under pressure from Rep. Frank Wolf, until last week my Congressman, GAO is forcing government agencies to put explain why employees should not be given the option to telecommute.
GAO: Agencies must define ‘eligible teleworkers’ (Government Executive, 4 OCT)
To increase the number of teleworkers in federal agencies, Congress should promote a consistent definition governing which employees are qualified to work away from the office, the Government Accountability Office recently recommended.
In a report to Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., GAO found that certain categories of employees at the departments of Commerce, Justice and State were not eligible to work away from the office because of the positions they held. But GAO auditors found that all positions at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Small Business Administration were eligible for telework.
The review (GAO-05-1055R) is the result of a provision in the fiscal 2005 appropriations bill for the departments of Commerce, Justice and State, the federal judiciary and its related agencies to make telework available to 100 percent of the eligible workforce.
A commendable project but, sadly, one that is almost sure to fail. While telecommuting makes great sense, especially for those of us in highly conjested metropolitan areas, managers want to be able to eyeball their workers and “manage by walking around.” Until leadership gets comfortable simply assigning tasks and holding people accountable for their timely completion, they will insist that they can’t get by without the physical presence of workers. This is especially true of bad managers, who love to hold endless meetings.