Emails, meetings, phone calls, and spreadsheets. Technology has always been used in the workplace. With the coronavirus hitting the United States in March, technology became even more vital. Many companies and organizations are now more dependent on technology to make the transition to teleworking easier.
The government is one of those entities now teleworking. The government made employees start teleworking in March. Now, going into October, many government employees are still working from home. The government gave employees headsets, webcams, laptops, and other equipment so they could work from home.
Joy Wiseman, a financial integrator, is one of the employees currently teleworking. Wiseman said she doesn’t mind teleworking for the most part because it is more convenient. She also says it is less stressful.
“I was in a cubicle farm, and now I get to enjoy the view from my sunroom,” said Wiseman when asked what she liked most about teleworking.
Bob Williams, a configuration management specialist, is another employee currently teleworking for the government. Williams enjoys the majority of teleworking including the flexibility that comes with teleworking.
“The thing I enjoy the most about teleworking is the 10 second commute from my bed to my desk,” said Williams.
Williams said it is much easier to focus on one task now then move on to the next.
Williams and Wiseman both agree teleworking has presented a new set of challenges in the workplace.
“I miss the human interaction. Being able to get up and walk to another person’s desk to ask a question… now you have to send an email or cold call,” said Williams.
The thing Williams said he misses the most is having a printer to look at hard copies of work. The government does not allow employees to print off documents from home. He now has to stare at a screen all day.
Another challenge to teleworking for Williams is traveling.
“In the past I could get on a plane and be on site. Now there are coronavirus restrictions. We deal with COVID too,” said Williams.
Wiseman said she also has faced new challenges with technology and teleworking. At first her boss was teleworking from a blackberry only while he was awaiting a laptop. This made communication and meetings more difficult, but they still had to get the job done.
“I’m a people person. I would jump out of my desk and run down the hall… now I have to find time that works for other people to call them or email,” said Wiseman when asked what her biggest challenge is.
She also says short, sweet conversations about the task, followed up by emails are not normal anymore.
“Not everyone reads hundreds of emails in a day and responds immediately. If you get someone on the phone, you need to get the work done,” she added.
For Williams and Wiseman, it is unknown when and if they will stop teleworking. Every day it is becoming the new normal.