SAVING VETERANS LIVES AND HEALTH
SAVING VETERANS LIVES AND HEALTH
As most health companies in America, the VA has offsite campuses that are rented to handle billing, accounts receivables, payments and insurance verification for veterans. The VA has seven sites across the country that handle this task. Each building employees hundreds of staff. A majority of the staff share cubicles. Most of the staff have the ability to work part of their pay period at home and part in the office. My suggestion is fulltime telework for those employees. The pros outweigh the cons but only because there is no cons. Here is why this petition should be signed:
1. The government can downsize the rented buildings and save millions on rent that could be filtered back into the VA to help veterans. The financial savings could purchase much needed medical equipment and the hiring of medical staff to alleviate wait time at the VA hospitals/clinics. Veterans have the highest suicide rate in the entire country. Let's use this money to get them the help they need. They fight to protect us. Let's protect them. Some jobs are unable to telework full time or telework at all due to printing of sensitive material or handling payments. Those jobs are a small fraction of the hundreds of employees because most of the work is electronic. Much smaller buildings could be rented or utilization of space at the VA hospitals.
2. The staff who telework has an agreement that they are responsible for all equipment and office supplies they use at home. If staff were able to telework fulltime, the government would no longer be responsible for desks, chairs, cubicles, computers, keyboards, carpet cleaning, mouse/mouse pads, pens, paper, microwaves, refrigerators, etc. The amount of money this could save the VA is huge.
3. Workers compensation claims would dramatically decrease. If the employee gets hurt at home while teleworking, that would fall on their personal insurance and/or homeowners/renters insurance. That saves the government in lawsuits each year.
4. It's eco-friendly. By not having to commute, thousands of employees would no longer be adding to the environmental problems of fuel pollution. Studies have proven that car pollution is one of the major contributors towards emitting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases which contribute to 1/5 of the US total global warming pollution. Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere causing worldwide temperatures to rise. This small amount of people compared to the population of the US may not seem like much, but change has to start somewhere. It has been noted in studies that people are more likely to recycle at home than at work. One study of 2,000 people revealed that people are 15 times more like to avoid recycling at work than at home.
5. With sex trafficking and kids being kidnapped at bus stops, parents would be home when their kids got on the bus and home when their kids got off the bus. Telework is in no way a means to eliminate child care and isn't intended for parents to use it for that. But some staff commutes are long and this would provide more time with their families because once the day ends, they are already at home.
6. Safety is a concern with commuting. The weather is unpredictable. Without having to commute to work, the ease of mind on not being caught in snow/ice storms or torrential rains would be less anxiety on the staff. With technology everyone has to worry about other drivers texting and driving. Drivers can get hurt anytime of the day but removing that one extra possibility could put staff and their families at ease.
7. Healthy staff equals happy staff. With that many staff in one open space of cubicles and staff sharing desks, the health benefits of full time telework is beneficial to the government. Each year we worry about staff coming to work spreading the flu and other germs. Hundreds of employees sharing the same bathrooms. And now the Coronavirus. As we have seen in the past with SARS and other outbreaks, the Coronavirus isn't something new and won't be the last virus the world has to contend with. Fulltime telework would alleviate the spread of germs. Let's be proactive for the future. And with healthier staff comes with fewer people calling out sick. Some staff call out sick because they feel too sick to be around that many people but not sick enough to be able to work from home. This saves the government of downtime of work processes. Another factor is second and third hand smoke. Third hand smoke is the residual effect left on peoples clothing after smoking. It emits a gas that others breathe in. Everyone has a right to smoke but non-smokers also have a right to not have to breathe it in. The American Lung Association states that health of nonsmokers at work is at increased risks.
8. Turn around in the government staff. Some staff have to resign their position because their spouse/partner gets transferred to another city. This affects the government financially. Work processes slow down until a new staff is hired and fully trained. Training new staff is costly. If staff were able to telework full time from home, they would be able to stay employed if they had to move. When you have staff who have been with the company for five, ten, twenty or more years, those staff are hard to replace because of their experience and knowledge. Keeping the processes running smoothly helps the veterans and the government.
9. If the power goes out in the buildings or the A/C or heat stop working and the office has to close, hundreds of employees stop work. This halts the daily activities of everything in the building. If that happens at a staff's home, one person stops working. This would keep the processes running with little downtime. It's easier to catch up on one persons work than hundreds.
10. Some may say the staff would do less work at home. It has been noted that staff actually do more work at home with less distractions. And all staff at these locations have productivity they must meet. Quality reviews are done as well as productivity is measured on a weekly basis. The staff would still have to adhere to these requirements. That doesn't change. All that changes is geography of where the work is being done.
So lets help the government stop wasting much needed funds. All of these reasons can save the government and the VA millions of dollars each year. This change could become a ripple effect within the government in other areas of allowing staff to fulltime telework which could end up saving on the national debt. Lets help the staff by providing them a better financial way of working. But most of all lets help the veterans by utilizing the savings of allowing staff to telework fulltime. The veterans deserve improved healthcare and assistance. Sign the petition and share it on social media for others to sign. You may not know the staff members at these locations but everyone knows a veteran whether it's a family member, a friend, a neighbor, a colleague or an acquaintance.