Cisco Blogs

Cisco Blog > Government

Ever wondered what the key barrier is to telework?

Telework is increasingly becoming a topic of interest, especially with Obama signing of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 one year ago, almost to the week. So if everyone is talking about it, why isn’t adoption more widespread?  Especially when the benefits of telework are vast and well known – from happier, healthier employees, to overhead cost savings for companies to greener business practices and cutting carbon emissions by taking drivers off the road. For example, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Transportation (DOT), General Services Administration (GSA), and 7 other sources, if 33 million Americans worked from home, Gulf oil imports could be reduced by 24% to 48%, greenhouse gases by up to 67 million metric tons a year, and as much as 7.5 trillion gallons of gasoline each year, for a total of $110 million in savings a day. Even government agencies, that have mandatory telework requirements to meet as a result of the Telework Enhancement Act, haven’t embraced it to the extent expected. What is standing in the way? 

Next week, we will release our latest whitepaper “Video at the Core of Government Telework.” This white paper, intended for executives planning telework strategies, highlights new findings on telework barriers and how to overcome these to make the most of the essential role of telepresence, for engaging and managing a remote government workforce. You won’t want to miss it. We will be giving our Facebook fans a sneak preview, so stay tuned.

Tags: , , ,

Ensuring Secure Telepresence for the Mobile Federal Worker

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. Read More »

Tags: , , , , ,

Technology, Policy and People – Your Keys to a Successful Telework Program

At Cisco we recognize that successful telework programs include technology as well as policy and people!  When I  speak of “policy” I am referring to mandates at state, local, provincial and/or federal levels; as well as any internal organizational policies and procedures to ensure delivery of agency mission.  But what about the ‘people’ – your workforce?  I read a lot about policy and trends happening around the globe – focus on GhG emissions, continuity of government, energy and real estate reductions, information assurance, etc… but hear little of “the workforce” and the acknowledgement that “work is what we do, not a place.”  

Critical to the success of any telework program I would suggest are the ‘people.’  We are what makes any good strategy succeed!  If you agree with my thinking, then you may find a recent paper authored by WorldatWork, “Telework: Considerations for an Effective Program,”  may help your assessment on workforce eligibility… and help contribute to program success as it focuses on the user of telework, we the people.  Here is a sampling of few questions you may take into consideration when determining eligibility of telework… Does the job lend itself t o a telework environment?  Does the employee who is requesting the arrangement demonstrate a strong work ethic and does he/she continuously meet his/her work deadlines?  More…

 As you execute your plan and move from “the evaluation phase” to “training and launch phase” Cisco Collaboration/Video Solutions for Government like Webex and video are very effective training and communication tools to help facilitate your telework program training plans.  These secure, collaborative tools can meet the requirements of the entire workforce including employee, middle management, IT and facility organization, as well as help avoid unnecessary travel and expenses too!

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

GSA Centers Bring Telepresence to the Federal Government

Back in July, I wrote about the federal government’s General Services Administration’s (GSA) plan to install 15 telepresence centers in federal buildings around the country.  Well, I’m excited to report those sites are up and running!

Outfitted with Cisco TelePresence, the sites allow federal employees to conduct face-to-face, real time meetings with colleagues in faraway locations without incurring any travel expenses. Participants can share electronic documents and presentations, discuss strategy, and look each other in the eye across the virtual table. The GSA sites are open to employees from agencies that register to use the telepresence system.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , ,

Telework: Stressing over what you can’t see?

Looking for tips on how to manage your teleworkers… and what you can’t see?  Join me and hundreds of others at the 2011 Telework Exchange Town Hall Meeting , today in Washington, DC.   Hear from distinguished industry experts and US Federal Government leaders on how they are successfully supporting telework.  Can’t attend, then check out the “Five Tips to Manage What You Can’t See”from WorldatWork, a not-for-profit organization providing education, conferences and research focused on global human resources issues including compensation, benefits, work-life and integrated total rewards to attract, motivate and retain a talented workforce.

Know of other helpful tools and resources, please share!

Tags: , , , , , ,