As the federal government is encountering daily pressure to push their agencies toward teleworking, the issue of equal treatment of employees is being called into question as implementation processes begin. How can you possibly treat a teleworker the same way you do someone who works in the office? In response, the Merit Systems Protection Board issued a teleworking mandate several months ago that will hold federal agencies more accountable.
This mandate comes after the board conducted extensive research to determine the added benefits of teleworking; benefits that pretty much everyone in the workplace on demand world already knows: it improves work-life balance, increases job satisfaction, reduces real estate costs, and attracts and retains top talent for the industry.
The GSA (General Services Administration) has taken initiative with this mandate by being the first agency to institute the following goals: "Make every GSA employee, with few exceptions, eligible for telework; explicitly define some of the ways in which we work, such as hot desking, the workspace sharing arrangements known as hoteling and desk sharing; and most important, empower our entire workforce to be mobile for the 21st century." (source )
This is a great first step and has encouraged other agencies to follow suit. Despite this new trend however, supervisors still express concern over employee productivity and accessibility. They worry that without micromanagement, employee output will decrease.
Pro-telework arguments say that with proper office space and equipment, employees will have the same output and be fully engaged IF managers have the same expectations for their teleworkers as they do their nonteleworkers.
A survey of 20,000 federal employee teleworkers revealed that 82% felt their lives had improved since becoming mobile – they can boast a healthy work-life balance and are capable of working through emergencies. From a recruitement standpoint, supervisors admit that telework enables them to attract better candidates and retain employees.
Having a successful telework integration plan requires trust and being open to how the work culture in America is changing. This mandate has hopefully pushed forward the concept of equal treatment to all agency employees - and that includes giving similar assignments and having the same standard of expectations.What do you think? Have you noticed a difference in treatment for teleworkers since this mandate was issued? Let us know your thoughts below!