Is Telework a Viable Long-Term Option?

October 7, 2020 11:49 AM , Updated October 21, 2020 10:38 AM
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Young mother conducting telework at her home as she talks on the phone in front of a laptop computer while holding her baby

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When the COVID-19 pandemic began, panic set in and entire swaths of our economy and way of life changed overnight. Public events were cancelled, businesses were shuttered, and employees began working in home in huge numbers.

As 2020 winds down, many employees are still teleworking, but some federal employees that began teleworking during the pandemic have begun returning to work in the office.

In the private sector, despite some businesses saying early on they would embrace telework for the future, others have begun rethinking the long-term viability of remote work for their employees. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that problems are starting to arise for companies.

“Projects take longer. Training is tougher. Hiring and integrating new employees, more complicated. Some employers say their workers appear less connected and bosses fear that younger professionals aren’t developing at the same rate as they would in offices, sitting next to colleagues and absorbing how they do their jobs,” said the WSJ article.

One executive reported that problems which took an hour to solve in the office now take a day with expanded remote work. “That’s just a logistical nightmare,” Chef Robotics Chief Executive Rajat Bhageria told the WSJ.

Despite these problems, telework seems to have been popular in government as a way to combat the virus. When agencies began bringing some employees back to their offices for work, some lawmakers in Washington immediately pushed back, introducing legislation to expand its use and warning that federal employees would be put in danger by working in an office environment.

But is telework working, and can it be a long-term option for federal workers? We want to hear from our readers who are living it.

Are you currently teleworking? What has your experience been this year? Do you normally telework or was it a new experience for you? How has your productivity been? What about that of your co-workers? Have you noticed any morale problems with the expanded use of telework?

We’d like to hear your thoughts and experiences on the subject. Our survey is now closed; we will publish the results soon.

© 2020 Ian Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ian Smith.

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About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.

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