Congress Votes To End Controversial Practice

( The new Republican-led House of Representatives has passed a new bill that rolls back policies that were passed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, the lower chamber passed the bill that will end policies that allow federal employees to work remotely. While it’s uncertain whether the bill will even be taken up by the Senate – let alone passed and then signed into law by President Joe Biden – roughly 1 million employees of the federal government would need to return to the office on a full-time basis if it goes into effect.

The final vote in the House was 221-206, with Democrats railing against the bill. The bill is being dubbed the SHOP UP Act, or the Stopping Home Office Work’s Unproductive Problems Act.

Under the bill, all federal workers who have been working on a telecommunication basis would be ordered to return to the office to work. These workers have been allowed to work remotely on at least a partial basis since the pandemic first broke out back in 2020.

Republican Representative James Comer from Kentucky called the bill “urgent.” He explained:

“The federal workforce needs to get back to work. Federal agencies are falling short on their missions. They are not carrying out their duties; they are failing the American people.

“Federal employees not being in the workplace has hurt the federal government’s ability to achieve its missions and deliver vital programs.”

CBS News conducted an audit of data provided by the Office of Personnel Management. That audit showed that the total number of federal employees who worked from home at least part of the time more than doubled by the end of 2021 – from roughly 483,000 to roughly 1 million.

Last August, Reuters issued a report that said remote work policies that were passed during the pandemic actually require a significantly increased level of preparation and planning so that logistical issues can be met. This is especially true for federal agencies that are public-facing.

Not surprisingly, Democrats railed against the bill, saying there are tons of benefits for federal employees who are allowed to telecommute. Maryland Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin said:

“We strongly oppose this bill, which is an assault on all the progress we’ve made over the last several years in telework policy. Telework has strengthened private and public workplaces across the land, enhanced productivity, increased efficiency, improved the morale and satisfaction of the workforce, reduced traffic congestion, and made positive environmental changes.”

The ironic thing is that employees believe they are being more productive when they work from home, yet their leaders don’t agree.

For instance, Microsoft issued a report last September that found 87% of all workers think they are productive working from home, even though most leaders don’t feel as though their teams are productive away from the office.

Forbes reported recently on a survey that was held over two years of 800,000 workers, and it showed that productivity increased by about 6% during the COVID-19 pandemic.