Telecommuting is a fancier term. Telework is the jargon chosen by Stephen Barr of the Washington Post, reporting on a bill working its way through Congress to permit federal employees to do so.
Telework Bill Cleared by the House
Federal Diary | By Stephen Barr |Wednesday, June 4, 2008; Page D03
A bill that would permit many federal employees to telecommute at least two days every two weeks was approved by the House yesterday on a voice vote.
Under the bill, federal agencies would be required to create and implement policies to enable eligible employees to work from home or away from their regular office as long as telecommuting did not hamper their performance or interfere with agency operations.
Telework advocates and union officials have been pushing for expanded telecommuting programs in the government for two years, and the House action enhances the chances of Congress sending a bill to the president this year.
Similar legislation has been approved by a Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, but a committee report has not been released, a step needed before the bill can come to the Senate floor. There are some differences between the House and Senate bills that will have to be resolved, but a compromise is likely because the concept of expanded telecommuting in the government has drawn substantial bipartisan support.
Yr (justifiably) humble svt is a serious devotee of working from home. Faced with a sixty-mile round trip, variable weather and pervasive road renewal (two seasons in Chicago: winter, and under construction), equipped with a competent broadband connection and company issued laptop PC, I feel that I could be a poster child (okay, poster codger) for the working from home concept.
Modern technology, such as the web conferencing and instant messaging tools that I support, make it possible to collaborate with employees, vendors and clients anywhere in the world from any office anywhere, even the one over your garage.
Happy to have Congress, never, on the evidence, an expert on work of any kind (that sounds a bit like Samuel Clemens, doesn’t it?), stoop to consider such an innovation.
[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]
As the story notes, Congress has awakened to the fact that corporate America is well ahead on this issue.
IBM, for example, has institutionalized the concept for many of its 375,000 worldwide employees. A truly substantial number, perhaps as many as 25%, have no office in an IBM owned or leased facility. They have space, perhaps “hotel” space, in their clients’ facilities, or they work from their home offices. At MUDGE‘s employer, our IBM support liaison works in any spare cubical found in our office three days, his own home office the other two.
IBM gets its client facing people literally in their clients’ faces, and avoids incredible amounts not spent on commercial square footage, heat, light, air conditioning, and the general infrastructure required to support an employee in the big cities they inhabit.
Many other corporations have also recognized the value of telecommuting, but most not to IBM’s extreme.
Stanley Bing notwithstanding, telework is not an engraved invitation to goof off. It allows working mothers to support both elements of that description. It allows working fathers to support their spouses in a way not previously conceived, staying home with a sick child while preparing that monthly report.
Here’s the point of today’s post headline: Not the least attractive element of working from home is that it has the capacity to save significant quantities of gas that would otherwise be expended commuting.
When it costs upwards of $60 to fill a sedan’s gas tank, potentially cutting consumption by 20% per week has the potential to become a non-trivial savings.
Multiply that by 1,800,000 civilian federal employees (if the federal workers bill makes it through the legislative process), admittedly a gross number that doesn’t take into account public facing and security workers that the bill would exclude, and national gas consumption might reduce significantly.
And the government’s example could prove influential to smaller businesses that might not have IBM’s imagination.
As a national energy security strategy, this beats ethanol by a mile.
It’s it for now. Thanks,