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Surviving the snowpocalypse — how VTC can help the federal government weather the weather


February 9, 2010 - 0 Comments

The Washington, D.C., area is predictably filled with federal government employees. Hill staffers, agency careerists, appointed officials, uniformed servicemen; they all call our nation’s capital home. With so many of the people relied upon to keep America’s government working all centered in one metro area, there’s a tremendous possibility that a major weather event could grind the gears of democracy to a halt.

Call it #snowpocalypse, #snowmaggedon or #snOMG. Regardless of the funny handle you’ve assigned the recent snow storms, by dumping multiple feet of cold, white powder across the region they have had a significant impact on every aspect of government.

The incredible amount of snowfall that the Washington metro area has experienced, and will continue to experience with additional snow forecasted this week, has left many neighborhoods unplowed and unable to be traveled via car. In addition, the region’s mass transit systems have seen multiple service interruptions. This has led the federal government to close outright for the safety of their commuting employees.

Luckily, the Obama administration and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) are taking steps to ensure that weather phenomena and other events can no longer bog down the federal government. One of theses steps is to increase the government’s number of teleworking employees. By enabling telework, government employees can continue to function in their jobs and accomplish mission-critical tasks regardless of their ability to make it into the office.

According to a recent NextGov article, OPM is working to increase the number of teleworking government employees by 50% by 2011. Also, the agency is designing a 500 employee pilot program that will enable them to gauge the effectiveness and productivity of teleworking employees.

Concerns about productivity while working from home remain some of the largest roadblocks to widespread adoption of telework among government agencies. Many managers fear that employees who are unsupervised outside of the office will see a decrease in productivity, collaboration and communication. This is also where the rapidly increasing adoption of video teleconferencing (VTC) can help.

VTC systems enable people to have face-to-face conversations, regardless of the distance separating them. By embracing VTC, government agencies can more comfortably embrace telework.

VTC is breaking down the huge, white snow drifts separating government employees and helping to usher in a new way of working for federal agencies. How is VTC helping your agency weather the snowpocalypse? Drop a comment and let us know!

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