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.
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.