‘Outdated attitude’: Why California wasn’t ready for its state workers to telecommute
March 25, 2020 The Sacramento Bee (tiered subscription)
A decade before the new coronavirus arrived in California, the state encouraged departments to promote telework. In addition to improving performance, morale, health and wellness, teleworking could promote “effective continuation of business” during an emergency, according to 2010 guidance issued by the Department of General Services. Yet three weeks after California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared an emergency to help address the virus, many state workers say they are facing resistance, confusion and uneven responses when they ask to work remotely.
… “It’s a scary and difficult time and you’d like to think that the state of California departments were moving to adhere to the governor’s executive order to stay at home and protect public health,” said Ted Toppin, executive director of the union Professional Engineers in California Government, which represents Caltrans engineers. “And for the state to do that, that means to put their employees to work at home. But we know this: State government is a battleship. It is very slow.”
Toppin, the director of the state engineers’ union, said the union has supported telework for a long time.
“Maybe what comes out of this crisis is that state departments will recognize that telework will work,” he said. “That you can still deliver for taxpayers from your home office.”
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