Home / Civilian / Teleworking, Middle Management and Porn: Changing Agency Culture and Who Isn’t Eligible to Telecommute

Teleworking, Middle Management and Porn: Changing Agency Culture and Who Isn’t Eligible to Telecommute

Image: Dusan Zidar, Hunta

Teleworking is a done deal; the only thing missing is the president’s signature on the legislation approved by first the Senate in September and the House last week.

For proponents of the Telework Enhancement Act, which opened the door for more federal employees to work remotely, it’s been a long time coming, but now that the bill is passed, there are still likely kinks to be worked out.

Dr. Naomi Leventhal, a director of Deloitte Consulting’s Federal Human Capital Practice, told Federal News Radio telework will require a “culture change” at federal agencies that implement it.

Historically, the biggest pushback has come from supervisors and middle management who worry the quality of work will decline if employees start phoning it in – literally.

“Managers have often been said to be really resistant to this,” Leventhal said. “The proof, though, is when they start to learn more ways of management. They develop new methods of communication and collaboration.”

Telework Exchange’s Cindy Auten, speaking on the Capital Insider TV show, said middle managers are often skeptical of workers they can’t personally supervise.

“And our answer to that, is you should really focus on the work output,” she continued.

In fact, far from the worries that it will degrade work performance, Leventhal said it actually improves job performance and effectiveness.

There are 1.2 million federal employees who are currently eligible to telecommute, Auten said, but only about 102,000 actually do so.

Auten said she expected that number to climb with the bill’s passage and its promise of greater funding for setting up remote work.

But not everyone will be joining in the teleworking.

There are some federal employees, such as law enforcement personnel and air traffic controllers who are simply not eligible to work from home.

But there’s also what Federal News Radio calls the “porn provision”: Employees are ineligible to telework if they have been officially disciplined for “viewing, downloading or exchanging pornography, including child pornography, on a federal government computer or while performing official federal government duties.”

Apparently, the bill’s authors thought those employees might need a little adult supervision from time to time.

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