ANNAPOLIS – Maryann Killian can help her son get ready for school in the morning. She can reach her job on snowy days. And she can even sleep a little later some mornings.
Instead of making the two-hour, 60-mile trip from her Waynesboro, Pa., home to her office in Rockville, Killian travels 25 minutes to a telework center in Hagerstown to do her job.
“I benefit from it immensely,” said Killian, a program integrity officer for the Food and Drug Administration.
When she works at her FDA office in Rockville, Killian has to leave home at 5 a.m. to get to her office by 7 a.m. She leaves work at 3:30 p.m. to get home by 5:30 p.m.
But two days a week, she works from the Hagerstown Telework Center, which is just 12 miles from her home.
At the Hagerstown center, Killian is linked to staff meetings by conference call and she regularly checks her voice mail to stay in contact with management and clients.
Killian said she can work from the telecenter when bad weather makes it difficult to travel to Rockville, and she can schedule a doctor’s appointment without taking off work the entire day.
Like Killian, most teleworkers praise the sites. But some complain that their managers are not always cooperative with alternative work situations.
“Some managers aren’t used to remote workers,” said Wendell Joice, a board member with the International Telework Advisory Council. Managers are used to dealing with employees who are present in the office, Joice said.
“The management culture is behind when it comes to these type of things,” Joice said. “It’s hard for them to adjust to changes in the workplace.”
Killian said her managers cooperate with her on her telecommuting arrangements, although she admits she would like to increase the days she gets to work at the telecenter.
“But I can’t press for the impossible,” Killian said.
She is happy for the two telecommuting days she has.
Under her old schedule, Killian said she missed four years of helping her son, who is now a sixth-grader, dress and prepare for school in the mornings. Since she began teleworking two years ago, she has been able to help her son get to school and take some of the load off her husband.
“This way we can share some of these responsibilities,” Killian said. “And my child is very happy to see me in the mornings.”