The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 30, 2011
Blog Back Poll: The future of telework in California

Our Monday post on estimates that California state government could save $1.5 billion annually if it launched a serious telework program prompted a range of comments from blog users. Here's a sampling of remarks followed by a poll to take a broader sounding of what State Worker blog users think:

Not only should teleworking not be expanded, it should be eliminated altogether for public employees. There are enough lazy and unmotivated public employees in the offices, god help us if these people were able to work from home. We could save billions of dollars just by having performance and time-management standards enforced on government workers with the right to instant termination for failing to meet these standards, much like how it works in the real world.

As usual this article understates the vast amount of disagreement on this topic. An interesting article by Ralph D. Westphal indicates these types of claims are overstated and seldom, if ever realized. His concluding remark is that if this was a viable model that saved even 10% most private companies would flock to this model. Well they aren't.

In my department, we are assigned laptops from work. Many are on-call 24/7 and must have all the accesses they have in the office. Many people telework in my dept. There are rules and agreements that must be signed. And it is true that a dedicated person can get more work done at home with the lack of interruptions. That is the biggest factor for me.

The way the state manages its workforce is out of date with respect to today's realities and the next generation's expectations. Many of us don't need to be in the office to do the work we do -- the only difference is that instead of sitting at our home computers writing, researching and emailing co-workers, we're sitting at our desktop work computers in (AKA "Grandpa Boxes" according to Dilbert) in over-air conditioned state offices writing, researching and emailing co-workers. Good luck getting Gen X, Gen Y and Millennial professionals to put in 40 hours of facetime at the state for the sake of someone's sense that we should all work the same way when we're not all in the same professions.

Our Thursday State Worker column will have more about this topic. Between now and then we want to get a broader sense of what blog users think. Take our poll:

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.



About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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