Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 which provides agencies greater flexibility in managing their workforce. It provides a framework for agencies to better leverage technology and to maximize the use of flexible work arrangements which can aid in recruiting new Federal workers, retain valuable talent and allow the Federal agency workers to be more responsive to citizen needs and be more productive out in the field. This can include situations such as national security, emergency response, cross agency collaboration, or simply, providing citizen services such as language translation.
Last year, more than 71,000 people pledged, saving $5,651,890 on commuting costs, gaining back 251,774 hours into their day, and removing 3 tons of pollutents from the air while refraining from driving 6, 413,006 miles.
Today, Cisco and Telework Exchange kicks off the third annual Telework Week 2013 – an annual global effort to encourage agencies, organizations and individuals to pledge to work anytime, anywhere from March 4-8, 2013. According to Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), author of the Telework Enhancement Act, “Telework Week is an excellent opportunity for thousands of people to try teleworking and realize the great benefits it can provide. A robust Telework program can help organizations improve the quality of life of their employees, while taking strides to protect the environment, reduce traffic congestion on the roads, and increase workplace efficiency.”
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 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.
We’ve been singing the praises on this blog about the Federal government’s efforts to encourage telecommuting for its employees. While great strides continue to be made, new research reveals some hurdles that still remain, before widespread adoption will ensue.
First, the good news. Since the enactment of the Telework Enhancement Act in late 2010, the Federal government has clearly made telework a priority for agencies through the creation of an official guide and an overall cultural shift. Read More »
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.