Text Polling Tackles Thorny Situations

According to your agency's policy, you're able to telework up to three times a week. But your boss says that he really likes you in the office, and suggests you don't telework. Would you go all-in and fight the situation? Hold your cards and try again later? Or would you fold, and decide the struggle isn't worth it?

Hundreds of federal employees weighed in on tricky situations like these via text message at the "Creating Change in Government" panel at Gov Loop's Next Generation of Government Summit, held last week. As answers rolled in, the results were shown in real time on screen, fluctuating as people continued to vote.

Three panelists -- Haley Van Dyck, who works on a presidential initiative at the U.S. Agency for International Development; Andreas Addison, a civic innovation team manager for the city of Richmond, Va.; and Matt Collier, a senior adviser to Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry -- provided their own take on the situations presented.

In the case of telework, the panelists all suggested folding in that situation.

"If it's important to your boss that teleworking is not in your schedule, then that seems like an easy time to fold; it'll pay off in the future," Van Dyck said.

The audience, however, was more divided, with each option capturing roughly a third of the vote.

Other hypothetical problems posed also related to tech in the workplace, and some touched on the challenges generational gaps present.

"You're working at an agency deciding a new logo for a website. The decision committee is nine baby boomers and you. The logo you like, they don't, and what they like, you hate. You think you have a lot to add to this perspective; you're a much better fit for the demographic. Keep fighting? Or do you give up?"

"Think about a larger strategy of losing the battle and winning the war -- hold," Van Dyck advised.

Collier also suggested holding in that situation.

"Take a look at the field. Is it that important? Or is it more important to launch the website?" Collier said. "Push but don't ruffle feathers, and come back once the website's up."

The audience followed suit, and "hold" won in the text poll, but not everyone agreed. The other two options trailed close behind.