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Stimulating Economic Growth with Broadband

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

One of the toughest aspects of promoting new technology deployment and usage is finding meaningful facts to support its potential value to local business community stakeholders. While there are readily available estimates and forecasts, detailed analysis and actual payback examples are somewhat rare.

That’s especially true with new technologies such as broadband that require the concerted efforts of multiple parties — which can include government agencies, service providers, equipment manufacturers, and end-users — in order to deliver quantifiable results.

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What do Cloud, Cybersecurity and Telework all have in common?

As Telework policy initiatives expand globally the number of events, articles and forums has grown exponentially. Intersections are everywhere… and sometimes where you least expect them. As an example, Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) initiative, industry and goverment Cloud events – “Telework” is a common thread.

How should government agencies be investing in the cloud for their “Mobile Workforce?” How do policies need to change to address cybersecurity threats? What technologies best align with both government mandates? All of these were explored in detail. But, there’s a critical element that was strangely missing from many of the dialogues.

Technology and policy alone do not guarantee a successful “Telework” program. We the people – you and me – do! We are the final and third component of any successful Telework program – where the mix and balance of policy, technology, and people create the desired outcome – workforce efficiency. But how do you identify and hire the right people? How do you track workforce performance? How do you hire for success? According to a recent research study, “Top 5 personality traits of successful web workers,” there are personality traits to help guide your selection and retention of the workforce. 

Personally speaking I was not surprised to learn that extroverts make for great web-workers (teleworkers) – being one myself ;0).  What about you?

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Summer Fridays: Do you fear them or love them?

Summer Fridays for many of us is the start of the long awaited weekend, the drive to the shore, or an evening BBQ with family and friends. But for those of us who live and work in the Washington, DC metro area our weekend plans are put on hold more often than not, and this Friday’s commute may prove to be another challenging drive according to an alert from the Virginia State Police: “On Friday afternoon (Aug 19), major traffic delays are expected on the Dulles Toll Road, Dulles Airport Access Highway, I-66 East and the Beltway due to a 9/11 memorial motorcycle ride, according to the Virginia State Police. Commuters should expect very significant traffic delays in the afternoon, especially during rush hour.”

This sort of an announcement would make me cringe if I didn’t work for a company that supports Telework. But fortunately, I do – so, I have the traffic gods under control! Remember work is what I do. Not a place. So I am working from my home office, avoiding the grid lock, with no impact on my productivity thanks to Cisco’s Telework / Mobile Workforce policy.

So it go me thinking… Why don’t more public and private sector organizations have Telework / Workforce Mobility policies, especially for “America’s 50 Worst Commutes.”

Summer Fridays. I love them!…  No longer fear them.  But, what about you?

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Work – where you are or what you do?

As someone who has been in the technology industry for more than 20 years; “work is what I do. Not a place.” I have been fortunate to be employed by organizations that have Telework and Mobile Workforce policies and that understand the have benefits of enabling me to work from just about any location (and at any time) you can imagine. As an employee this flexibility has given me much greater satisfaction in both my professional and personal lives. As organizations, my employers have seen much higher productivity and greater employee retention – during that 20+ years in technology, I’ve had exactly two employers!

In a recent blog I read, “Are We Farmers, Factory Workers, or Ideas People?” Josh Sawislak suggests telework is leading us to rethink “work.” From traditional work arrangements to how we will work in the future. Read More »

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Telepresence Could Help Lure Young Talent into the Government Workforce

How do the kids in your life spend their time after school? Do their activities involve video—either watching it, playing with it, or creating it?

For Cisco Consulting System Engineer Mike Harttree’s son, Tommy, after school time means gathering his Legos and those belonging to his neighborhood buddies, arranging them in elaborate constructions—like recreations of movie scenes— taking digital pictures of the arrangements, digitally gluing these photos together on a Mac, and uploading the glued photos in video format to YouTube.

Tommy is seven years old. His oldest friend/collaborator is 12. Check out their impressive work here. Read More »

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