In the age of work-life balance and flexible work schedules the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Agriculture) is taking a step backwards. I saw a news report last week where they are moving from employees being able to work remotely four days a week to one day a week. Amazing! The idea of teleworking in the federal government started at least twenty years ago Telework Guidance and Legislation.
The reason given was to build a sense of community among Agriculture employees. The high-ranking official that was interviewed said this change in policy is in response to a complaint by employees that work in the office. These employees said they have experienced and are experiencing a lack of connection with their colleagues that telework. My first reaction was, how many employees are in the office on a daily basis to complain and why aren’t they teleworking?
This new policy is supposed to go into effect July 1, 2018. The report said this will put approximately 5,000 people on the roads in the Washington, D.C. area. When I heard that I flipped out! I live and work in the D.C. area. I also telework two days a week. I can’t imagine the effect that is going to have on the commute in this area. The D.C. area already has some of the worst traffic in the U.S. How Bad is Traffic in DC.
In the next few months it will be interesting to see how this is plays out. Hopefully it will work out in favor of Agriculture employees and the rest of us that live in this area. If officials at Agriculture truly wanted to resolve the issue of comradery among their employees they could have found a better way Three Pitfalls Facing The Federal Distributed Workforce.