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Study: Telework worked during snowstorms

By Ed O'Keefe


While snow blanketed the Washington region in February, at least some federal workers kept working from home. (Post)

Eye Opener

Remember that big snowstorm earlier this year that caused four straight snow days for federal workers? It might be hard to remember during a hot week with temperatures soaring into the 80s -- but let's flash back for a moment:

Obama administration officials want Congress to approve more telework options for federal workers, arguing that the government could save millions of dollars in lost productivity during bad weather if employees could work from home in between shoveling snow and entertaining cabin fevered children.

And a new survey conducted by a federal watchdog finds that at least some federal workers teleworked during "Snowmageddon."

About half of National Labor Relations Board employees at the agency's Washington headquarters who responded to a survey said they worked at home during the closure, and on average, each put in about three hours of work.

Inspector General David Berry commissioned the survey of his headquarters colleagues and 87 percent of coworkers responded.

Two-thirds of them said they use a government-issued laptop that they could take home, if necessary, and agency records show that almost 36 percent of workers with laptops took them home during the storm. (Some survey respondents kindly suggested the agency give them newer laptops to make working from home easier.)

Roughly a quarter of respondents said that at least one of the snow days was already scheduled to be a work-at-home day and six percent were bold enough to show up for work on at least one day during the storm. (Kiss up!)

Though the evidence compiled at NLRB may be scant, it signals there's an ability and willingness among feds to keep working despite the bad weather. Lawmakers have telework bills awaiting their consideration in the House and Senate. It would behoove them to pass the legislation when they return from Memorial Day recess.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Question of the Week: Do you think it is appropriate for Defense Department civilians to be housed in buildings that have a greater level of security than buildings for other government workers? E-mail your answers to federaleye@washingtonpost.com and please include your full name, hometown and the federal agency you work for. We may use your answers in Friday's Washington Post.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | June 3, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Workplace Issues  
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Comments

My job requires me to be on "the road" for the Army about 3 weeks per month. This has been ongoing for about the last 30 years. During that time I essentially telework to manage a contract, purchase items, take all the freakin mandatory training classes, and other admin BS that is required.

Yet my managers are dead set against telework.

There is a mindset against telework.

We should be held up to standards on "work" done, not where we do the work.

Posted by: gemniii | June 3, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

At my agency, we are only permitted to telework one day per week. That point was clearly driven home to me the week BEFORE the snows. So, during the blizzard week, I dutifully teleworked only the one day per week I was permitted to do so.

Of course, "off book" I did do some work so that I wouldn't be behind once I was "back to work".

Posted by: Shep-DC | June 3, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

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