The General Services Administration (GSA) has had its telework initiative in the pipeline for some time now, but it recently became official: the vast majority of GSA employees are now eligible to telework, and managers need to implement policies that support remote workers.
The GSA telework mandate is an exciting step forward, leading the way for other federal agencies to realize the benefits of telework, which include increased employee satisfaction and productivity. Empower teleworkers with collaboration technologies like telepresence and they enjoy the best of both worlds—no commute, but the same collegiality and interaction with co-workers and supervisors they would have if they worked in a building together.
There is one more factor that plays into fine-tuning the telework machine, however. GSA and other agencies can face challenges in determining their technology protocols. As mobile technology takes over, and as people express personal preferences for particular smartphones and tablets, agencies have to weigh employee ease and comfort against potential security risks. The “Bring Your Own Device” to work movement has momentum and merit; it simply requires careful planning.
But IT managers should not panic. There are solutions available that bridge the divide between privacy demands and state-of-the-art communication, like mobile telepresence. For example, Cisco’s Cius tablet supports all video applications, including telepresence, while also incorporating data encryption and access controls that protect against breaches on lost or stolen devices.
With the availability of mobile devices that provide maximum connectivity alongside reliable security, the possibility exists for a truly mobile workforce.
What mobile devices do you (or would you) rely upon as a teleworker?