Telework inevitable for many feds in near future

The following is an encore presentation. This show was originally broadcast on August 4, 2010.

By Dorothy Ramienski
Internet Editor
Federal News Radio

Telework is coming whether you like it or not, but the amount of your pay raise is currently in a bit of flux.

Jessica Klement of the Federal Managers Association talked with Senior Correspondent Mike Causey this week about a variety of changes that could be coming for federal workers soon.


She says telework is going to happen for federal employees, whether managers want it or not, but there are a few things that need to happen first before the change can successfully take place.

“Managers need more training as to how they should know what their employees are doing even if they can’t see them — and then I think you need to take a hard look at the employees that you’re managing. If you have an employee who shows up to work every day, does his job, does his job above and beyond, you have no reason to distrust that [he] will get his job done if he was doing it somewhere else. Now, I’m sure there’s a handful of problem employees out there [and] managers know that they will not get their job done if they are not watching over them eight hours a day. Then it’s time to have a difficult conversation with those employees and say, ‘I don’t trust you to get your job done when you’re not here. Let’s work to increase your performance and then talk about telework’.”

As Federal News Radio has told you, the Office of Personnel Management has launched a pilot program using the Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) strategy.

The concept behind ROWE involves allowing employees to work wherever and whenever they want, so long as their tasks are completed.

Klement says, while ROWE won’t — or can’t — work for everyone, it is a concept that is gaining ground and feeding into the concept that telework can be a good thing for many enterprises.

She adds, however, that even leaving job descriptions aside, telecommuting is not necessarily for everyone.

As for the federal pay raise, however, things are not necessarily as positive, according to the FMA.

Retirees will not get a cost-of-living adjustment in 2011, and did not get one in 2010, either. Federal workers, however, appear to be in line for a pay raise, Klement says, despite attempts from some in Congress.

“There have been at least three attempts by Congress to freeze the pay of federal employees for 2011, which would mean no pay raise. All three attempts have failed, so we’re happy about that. I don’t expect that’s the last of it. I think we’ll see it again before the end of the year. . . . The President recommended a 1.4 percent pay increase for both military and civilians in 2011, and then it’s up to the appropriations committees to decide what they want to do with the President’s request. So far, on the House side, they haven’t come out publicly with whether or not they’ll have a figure in their bill, but, the Senate appropriations subcommittee on financial services recently recommended a 1.4 percent pay raise for federal employees.”

Klement adds that, for members of the military, the House defense authorization bill contains a provision for a 1.9 percent raise. That bill passed earlier this summer.

The Senate bill contains a 1.4 percent increase. That piece of legislation has left committee but has not yet reached the floor.

Listen to the entire, hour-long interview with Jessica Klement by clicking on the audio link at the top of the page.