The end of 2011 marked the one-year anniversary of the implementation of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010. At the end of last year, Cisco partnered with the Telework Exchange to help convene a panel of telework experts, including federal agency leaders who have pioneered telework programs in their divisions, to hear the outcomes of these initial efforts and share insights into what the future of telework holds.
Reports from participating sections of the Library of Congress and the Treasury Department revealed workers experienced increased flexibility and job satisfaction as a result of having more opportunities to telework. The Treasury Department in particular saw higher productivity, improved emergency preparedness, and cost savings from reduced office space needs. Technology like telepresence has kept workers in disparate locations connected and allowed business to maintain—even enhance—its fluidity and efficiency.
Moving forward, both agencies seek to improve teleworkers’ mobility. While the Library of Congress works toward putting in place a one-PC-per-employee protocol, it also seeks to enhance cloud applications. At the Treasury, a one-to-one PC per employee policy has already enabled wide implementation of telework initiatives, but some limitations remain: to date, employees can only use these agency-issued laptops when conducting official business.
This limitation imposed by device-centered security policies highlights the next step for telework progress—conceiving of the out-of-office worker not as a teleworker, but as a mobile worker. Cisco’s Jay Morwick suggested in his presentation that by thinking in terms of a mobile workforce, organizations would, by default, create environments in which employees can work from anywhere, relying on telepresence and other communication technologies to link them to their colleagues, supervisors, clients, and partners.
In this new mobile workplace, employees increasingly use their own mobile devices to communicate for business purposes. Morwick noted that IT consumerization drives a more than 50 percent annual rise in Smartphone purchases, and 35 percent of these phones will be used for business by 2014. The issue then becomes not deciding which devices to permit for employee use, but rather how to secure the cloud to ensure safe access from any mobile technology.
Cisco experts and industry leaders will come together at the 2012 Government Solutions Forum on March 21 to discuss what you can do to secure your mobile applications and help incorporate personal mobile devices into your communication network. To register click here