Every now and then an article appears in a media outlet decrying teleworking because of the alleged propensity of teleworkers to goof off instead of doing actual work. For example, the Washington Post recently published an article about the claimed gallivanting of Patent and Trademark Office teleworkers. The article was based on a report by the Department of Commerce’s Inspector General that several PTO employees were collecting for teleworking time when they weren’t really working. Quickly that intrepid California Congressman Darryl Issa demanded an investigation of the supposed malfeasance.
Next came an article in Nextgov, titled Patent Office Telework Scandal Not Really About Telework, claiming that it was all a case of mistaken attribution. Specifically:
Revelations of unprofessional behavior within the Patent and Trademark Office’s award-winning work-from-home program have been described as “telework abuses” by investigators and lawmakers — despite a lack of details specifically linking the problems to telework, mobile work advocates say.
They were abuses, sure. Fundamentally telework-related? Not so much, they say.
Surprise, surprise! It’s the Management, stupid, not the telework that’s the problem!