Telework: Why the Federal Workforce Could Be Efficient and Green
The federal government is a perennial target, always subject to accusations of waste and inefficiency, among other allegations. But recent developments in technology and new legislation hold out hope for a more efficient, effective, and greener federal workforce. The U.S. Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 generated tremendous momentum toward increasing workforce mobility options for federal employees. The act paves the way for the federal government to unlock significant benefits, including greater productivity, resilience, environmental sustainability, and employee inclusion. It creates accountability for achieving these objectives in the form of telework managing officers (TMOs), senior officials responsible for telework policy development and implementation.
Realizing these objectives will require a significant departure from current practice. To date, agencies have focused on increasing telework participation rates through advertising, employee training, and resolution of technological barriers. Meaningful progress toward the act’s other goals-including emergency readiness, energy use, recruitment and retention, performance, and productivity-will require moving past first-generation strategies aimed at increasing telework participation rates and, instead, pursuing integrated mobility strategies explicitly linked to agency business objectives.
TMOs should not view the act as just another administrative burden that requires compliance. As the first TMOs assume their roles, they have a unique opportunity to use workforce mobility-including telework and a broader range of tools and systems to enable productivity anywhere, anytime, and on any device-as a catalyst to create a more flexible, productive, and inspiring federal workplace.
Achieving this vision requires a sober assessment of the current situation, an ambitious, goal-driven strategy linked to agency business objectives, and a new management posture aimed at transforming mindsets and behaviors rather than resolving technological challenges.
For perspectives on these issues, read the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) white paper, “Telework: Achieving Higher Levels of Federal Employee Productivity, Inclusion, and Environmental Sustainability.”