This time last week hundreds of thousands of federal workers — in a dozen cities — were home-bound because of the 1,000-mile-wide storm that swept from west to east.
The midwest and northeast got hammered as they haven’t been in a long time. Most of the Great Lakes were frozen over. Even the deep South was slipping and sliding.
Washington, D.C., as per usual, got the bulk of the government- snowstorm-shutdown coverage on the nightly news. But feds in many other places also got the day off. And emergency personnel kept the government open 24/7 despite the “shutdown.”
For teleworkers, ice storms and snow days are just another day at the home-office. They might not have dressed in 9-to-5 attire, but they got the job done. With mixed emotions in some cases.
Some teleworkers blessed the fact rush hour commutes are rare, or a thing of the past. Others took working on a snow day in stride. A handful said it is one thing to telework on a regular basis, but it doesn’t seem fair that they should work when others get the day off.
Different strokes, right?
The lightning rod for many was a comment from Federal Report reader, B.W.. He said:
“I am one of those people who work at home. And normally I love it. However this has been a rough weather year and federal offices have closed down several times — more than I can ever remember. Essential-emergency workers know they must report, whatever. Nonessential-nonemergency workers get to stay home with pay. I’m fine with that. The problem is for people like me. When I stay home because of foul weather, I am expected to keep on working. There is something wrong with the system.”
Very few said that being a teleworker shouldn’t put them in the same category as essential/emergency designated employees who must work.
As one reader put it, “there is some ironic penalty if they do have to work. I do wonder if there might not be some middle ground on this.”
But most of the comments from teleworkers indicated they are happy with their lot:
“I live outside of Baltimore and my commute to Washington D.C. government office begins at 3:15 AM when the alarm goes off. I’m out of the house by 4 and catch the first MARC train at 4:48 AM from BWI. I’m in my office by 5:45. I did that without complaint for the first 10 years of my federal employment. When telework became available in my agency, I quickly signed up. I now travel to D.C. only two days a week, teleworking the rest of the time.
“I love telework. On Monday when the rest of the government was closed, I gladly signed on at 6 AM to begin my work day. I work with regional offices around the country, so there is no lack of work or coworkers – only that we communicate electronically. It does not bother me one bit that my DC coworkers had off. As you wrote, this is a fair and logical tradeoff for NOT getting up in the middle of the night 5 days a week. Methinks B.W. wants to have their cake and eat it too. You can’t have it both ways.” F.V.
About 5 percent of people lack the ability to get pleasure from music, according to research conducted by psychologists at the University of Barcelona. These people, who are able to receive pleasure from other areas of their life have what the researchers called “musical anhedonia.”
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