The explosion of mobile devices has changed the way we work, live, and play. Gone are the days of being tethered to PC’s in our home offices or desktops at work. We can now literally take our job on the road and access our desktops and applications from anywhere, anyplace, anytime.
On the road again..
Two years ago, I was a part–time contractor at Cisco and thought it was pretty cool to have the choice to telework and perform my job remotely from any location. With a trusty laptop running my virtual desktop, I was able to be mobile, do my job as a Cisco employee with meetings via WebEx, meet other clients and, take my son to his baseball practices -- all with the freedom and flexibility of work life balance Cisco provides.
Desktop virtualization moves data, voice, and video productivity applications now used on phones and computers onto servers in the data center. This creates a nimble virtual workspace for any agency user who can access their virtual desktop they choose from any device they bring or own in support of their agency’s policy of BYOD.
The strategy focuses on providing citizens and an increasingly mobile government workforce access to digital government information and services anywhere, anytime, on any device.
I have the opportunity to work with global government leaders around the world from cities and counties to national government agencies including public safety, the courts, civilian agencies, and national security. Many are seeing a shift to mobile communications and information sharing and a shift from fixed desktop PCs to smart phones, laptops, and tablets.
A mobile government workforce is more productive, helps government achieve key initiatives such as telework, and enhances the employee experience.
Remote teleworker initiatives are driving not only a change in where government work is done but also a shift towards bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives.
By any measure, Telework Week 2012, which took place from March 5-9 and was sponsored by Cisco and Telework Exchange, was a tremendous success. The post-Telework Week report was released today during the Spring Telework Exchange Town Hall Meeting and the results are outstanding.
This year, 71,324 people participated, a new record and an increase in pledges of 80 percent compared to last year. Moreover, 94 percent of those participants were federal employees, which is a 97 percent increase compared to 2011. Collectively, this year’s Telework Week participants saved more than $5.6 million in commuting costs, more than 6.4 million miles of driving, 251,774 hours, and 3,453 tons of pollutants.
Participating organizations reported improved productivity and continuity of operations as key benefits realized during Telework Week. In addition, participation enabled some organizations to test the waters of telework and promote its benefits internally to mangers, supervisors and employees, as well as externally to the constituents they serve – namely, the American public.
Two examples of federal agencies that participated this year are the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. General Services Administration. The USDA had 7,516 pledges from 29 different agencies and sub-organizations participate. Its pledges saved more than $1 million in commuting costs and 464 tons of pollutants. The GSA had nearly 8,000 staff members participate, which is approximately 65 percent of the agency, and together they saved more than 273,000 miles of driving. Importantly, an overwhelming majority (97 percent) said their Telework Week experience was positive.
Cisco plays a major role in enabling the secure mobility and collaboration teleworkers need so they can access critical applications anytime, from anywhere. As Pat Finn, Cisco’s vice president, Federal said: “At Cisco, we are committed to providing solutions that support work – from any location. Telework Week provided the perfect opportunity for agencies and organizations to try telework and test out the mobile technologies – such as virtual desktop environments and collaboration tools – that truly enable and empower a changing workforce.”
If the resounding success of Telework Week 2012 is any indication, the future of telework looks very promising indeed.
These technology upgrades also open wide the doors to vastly expanded communication possibilities. For example, let’s look at how the cloud lends itself to more streamlined, personal connections among colleagues, across agencies, and from government workers to their target audiences. I’ve written about agencies and officials using video and telepresence to forge in-person, real-time links for teleworking employees, to maintain continuity during business disruptions, even to conduct top-secret missions. Well, with cloud computing in the mix, telepresence can still perform all of its regular functions, but it does so in conjunction with access to scheduling mechanisms, global directories, and advanced media services that enhance video-hosted information-sharing. In essence, the cloud makes a critical communication tool like telepresence all the more powerful.
The results are in: Four out of five college students want to choose the device they use for their jobs—further validation that the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement is here to stay.
Cisco surveyed college students and young professionals working around the world to determine the influence mobile device protocols, remote work opportunities, and Internet policies have on their employment decisions. It turns out that, even more than salary, flexible device and telework arrangements matter to young prospective employees. They seek organizations that embrace technologies, like telepresence, that support anywhere, anytime collaboration and, with the right set-up, can operate smoothly on personal mobile devices.