Study: Control fears stymie telecommuting

Jan. 23, 2007 at 10:03 AM

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Fears of not having control over employee activities and productivity make it hard for U.S. government managers to support telecommuting, a study showed.

But government managers do say telecommuting improves employees' "work-life balance" and thus improves agencies' ability to hire and keep workers, the study sponsored by the Telework Exchange said.

A big challenge is to get managers to increase their exposure to telecommuting, the study finds, noting that as managers become more exposed to and involved in telework, "their approval of the operating practice improves significantly."

One-third of managers rate lack of face-to-face contact as a telecommuting challenge. As an example, 61 percent have misinterpreted what co-workers said in an e-mail message, the study found.

But "telework is not a 'nice to have' anymore; it is critical to agencies' business continuity and productivity, as well as retaining a knowledgeable workforce and appealing to a new generation of employees interested in work/life balance," said Joel Brunson, president of Tandberg Federal, a videoconferencing company that paid for the survey.

The Telework Exchange is a public-private partnership focused on "eliminating telework gridlock."

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