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Politicians – A Telework Program Gone Bad
By Christine Durst & Michael Haaren
Jan. 10, 2013
Working remotely from employers isn’t for everyone. Politicians, for example, may not be ready for it.
When voters send politicians to Capitol Hill or the statehouse, the
latter are working remotely from their employer (us). Has the
arrangement been a success?
Well, let’s put it this way: If you were a business owner and
your teleworking employees behaved like the politicians in
Washington, you’d probably fire them. Indeed, you might be so
disappointed in your telework program (not to mention your HR
Department’s screening tools) that you’d never let another
worker out of your sight.
Politics is a Telework Case Study
Our political arrangements are actually an excellent teaching tool,
when you look at them objectively. They show how telework programs
should not be structured, managed or even contemplated in passing
moments of utter boredom.
1. Accessibility to your teleworkers is paramount. If
you don’t have access to your remote workers, you’re asking
for trouble. But oddly, one of the first things that newly-hired
politicians do is throw up barriers to communication. (Indeed,
perversely, they’re more accessible before they get hired – when it’s much less important!)
Even basic phone access is impossible (ever try to get a politician on
the phone?). Visits are out of the question, and emails are answered by
No normal employer would ever accept such an arrangement. Or if he did,
he’d soon go bankrupt. Fortunately, however, financial
consequences don’t apply to government.
2. Supervision of your teleworkers is indispensable.
Some remote workers need close supervision, others less, but to
eliminate it altogether invites catastrophe. However, once access to
your teleworkers is minimized, supervision is obviously
What happens then? Well, try this experiment. Take several hundred
teenagers to the mall, give them unlimited spending power with your
money and credit, tell them to block all communications from grownups,
and check back in a few years to see how they’re doing.
3. Productivity, anyone?
Remote workers in the business world are known for being more
productive, and more loyal to their employer. Why? Primarily because
they don’t want to jeopardize a good arrangement, and
they’re grateful to their employer for letting them work remotely.
Strangely, most politicians demonstrate a remarkable lack of
productivity. Indeed, their vigor and enthusiasm often seem more
directed to the comforts than the duties of their jobs. And while they
can be visibly grateful to their employers, it only seems to appear
when its time to interview for the job
As we always say to employees who are considering proposing a telework
program to their employer, “Remember, telework is a privilege,
not a right. If your employer entrusts you to work remotely, be sure
you show that you merit the faith.”
Christine Durst and Michael Haaren are leaders in the work-at-home
movement and advocates of de-rat-raced living. Their latest book
is Work at Home Now,
a guide to finding home-based jobs. They offer additional guidance on
finding home-based work at www.RatRaceRebellion.com. To read features
by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators
Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2013 BY STAFFCENTRIX, DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM