Testing Telework Progress

Cindy Auten, general manager for Telework Exchange, noted last week that agencies are finally beginning to reach the “telework tipping point,” where telework has officially become part of the culture. “I really think that we’re starting to get there from a cultural standpoint, and the technology also is supporting that move,” she said.

But recent happenings at the General Services Administration could spoil that progress report. My colleague Charles S. Clark writes that 95 mostly high-grade virtual employees – including a dozen supervisors – billed GSA for a total of $750,000 for travel expenses from October 2010 to June 2011. Rules governing the management of these virtual employees at GSA, which has long been considered a leader on federal telework, are based on the 2010 Telework Enhancement Act, Clark writes.

This example could be one reason why telework is such a tough sell for federal managers. In March, I wrote about how some federal workers apparently are leaving auto-reply messages that they're out of the office when they're teleworking. Taken together, these examples may mean more accountability and oversight of federal telework programs is necessary. 

Do these examples make telework a tough sell at your agency? Are more accountability and oversight of telework programs needed?