Fedblog FedblogFedblog
Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Watching You While You Work From Home

Tomasz Trojanowski/Shutterstock.com
OPM’s recent report on telework in government once again raised the issue of whether managers are inhibiting its adoption in the federal sector due to their lack of comfort at being able to see what their employees are doing all the time.

"Participants shared that some managers are used to being able to see their staff members physically working in the office," OPM reported in the study. 

Now managers may get the opportunity to look over the shoulders of their teleworkers, too. Sue Shellenbarger writes in The Wall Street Journal that  some companies are deploying technology to monitor whether those working from home or other remote locations are actually doing what they're supposed to be doing. Right now, fewer than 10 percent of companies are engaged in such snooping, but research firm Gartner expects that number to jump to 60 percent by 2015.

Employers argue they have a right to determine if the people they're paying are actually working. Last month, Matthew Yglesias reported in Slate that a study conducted by Wakefield Research for Citrix showed that more than 40 percent of workers admitted they'd watched TV or a movie while teleworking. Thirty-five percent said they had done household chores and 28 percent acknowledged cooking dinner.

In the federal sector, agencies already have addressed the issue of making sure teleworkers actually work, at least to a certain extent, with telework agreements that spell out expectations. With those in place, shouldn't it be more about the results employees produce rather than monitoring exactly what they are doing at all times of the working day in an especially Big Brotherish way?
In its report, OPM  noted that “in comparison to non-teleworkers facing barriers to telework, teleworkers are more likely to report knowing what is expected of them on the job and feeling as though they are held accountable for results." Now they may feel that they're even more accountable than their in-office counterparts. That's not likely to engender a great deal of trust between teleworkers and their bosses. 
(Hat tip: The Atlantic Wire)

(Image via Pavel Ignatov/Shutterstock.com)

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.