Issue Briefs

Following is a section of a new inspector general report containing a sampling of comments from a survey of the maximum telework experience at DoD.


Overall, survey respondents provided positive remarks about their telework experience. Of the participants providing written comments at the end of our survey, 80.3 percent were positive remarks while 19.7 were negative remarks. The majority of the positive remarks were on the topics of increased productivity (35.6 percent), better work-life balance (31.1 percent), and more flexibility in their workday (26.0 percent).

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Max telework, at least for our program, is an outstanding way to reduce the physical footprint required for office space while increasing productivity and quality. Everybody wins!

Telework has greatly increased my productivity and work-life balance. Technological advancements have allowed employees to seamlessly collaborate and accomplish the mission remotely.

It has been outstanding, to be honest. 2 0-25 hours per week in additional time I used to spend commuting. Extra sleep, extra spare time, and yes . . . extra work. Even if I run over 50 hours a week, I’m considerably better off than commuting plus 40 hours in the office. I can’t speak for the organization as I don’t have those metrics, but as for me, production numbers are up and life is just better.

The majority of the negative responses were about information technology support (28.6 percent), issues related to management (20.2 percent), and increased workloads (19.3 percent). The following are examples of negative sentiment regarding telework shared by respondents.

Bad IT support at every point when one needs it the most.

Joint Service Provider (DC region DOD network provider) performance during this entire pandemic time has been bad. Connectivity speeds and dependability have been and continue to be slow and intermittent, and customer service has been almost useless. Technicians do not seem  ery knowledgeable.

Micromanagement is rampant.

From a management perspective, maximum telework created additional challenges, as illustrated in the following comments.

Permanent telework has increased productivity for those who work very independently but has decreased productivity for those with families and who require a lot of oversight. Being a supervisor in this environment has been extremely difficult as employees avoid contact and are not always forthcoming about status of items . . . . It has highlighted problem personnel.

Difficulty dealing with subordinate employees. I am a supervisor and currently, I have . . . government civilians that are not doing work while teleworking and there is no recourse during this time to ensure they stay busy. If we were not in this environment, it would be easier to address, but since we are in the mandatory telework environment, this employee is basically doing no work and still getting p aid. I n m y honest opinion, it is waste, fraud and abuse.

Poor performers have not gone unnoticed by their co-workers, as exemplified in the following comments.

It feels like there is minimal oversight on employees who would normally be held to certain timelines and quality of work, and now they can do what they want without consequence. If the tele-work is going to continue there needs to be tighter and more controlled oversight on the tele-working employees to ensure the mission happens without fail or delay.

Hold coworkers accountable to actually perform work rather than make excuses to not work. If they cannot connect, then they need to be in the office and monitored closely. It’s become imbalanced on the amount of work coworkers perform, and Leadership isn’t holding them accountable.

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2021 Federal Employees Handbook