Tracking Telework Enhancement: Federal Agencies Pull Ahead

3 minute read
Marisa Peacock avatar

In February we celebrated National Telework Week in en effort to promote productive workforce flexibility. The national week came on the heels of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, which President Obama signed in into law in December. The act required an increased focus on and commitment to Federal telework. Specifically, agencies were to develop a comprehensive telework programs and include telework in their continuity of operations plans by Tuesday, June 7.

Defining Policies, Meeting Deadlines

In May 2011, Telework Exchange and Juniper Networks executed a Federal-focused survey aimed at measuring federal progress against goals identified by the Telework Act. Let’s see how they did.

The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010

The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010
*Public Law 111-292, Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, http://www.gsa.gov/graphics/ogp/PLAW111pub292.pdf
**Implementing Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 IT Purchasing Requirements http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/memoranda/2011/m11-20.pdf

An online survey of more than 350 Federal Telework Managing Officers (TMO) and Federal employees indicated that some great strides have been made. A majority of Federal agencies surveyed (86%) have established a telework policy, while 8% have determined telework eligibility and 76% have notified those employees about their eligibility.

We Say Mobile Workers, Feds say Telework Managing Officers

As pedantic as it may be, the feds’ creation of Telework Managing Officers is a pretty big deal. Not only does it indicate that telework has a place in the government, it helps to identify those positions that qualify, and facilitate training and awareness. In fact, 84% of agencies have already established and filled TMO positions, while 78% have already established a training program as well as a system to collect and track telework data.

Learning Opportunities

Considering that most companies haven’t defined their mobile security policies, the government looks to be ahead of the curve. Yet, having a telework policy doesn’t actually mean that TMOs are well-equipped to work productively. The survey indicated that only 30% have updated policies on purchasing technology to enable and promote telework. Of course, the deadline for doing such is more than a month away.

Telework Challenges

Still, there are challenges. Those surveyed said that their biggest challenges include capturing and managing data to track program success; management support and technology support. Taken together, this indicates that the feds struggle to provide a sustainable infrastructure to support teleworking, despite benefitting from it. Already, TMOs have noticed an impact on the way that telework has positively affected job satisfaction, emergency readiness and productivity.

As for mobile security, the feds seem to be taking it seriously. 86% say they have provided information security training to all teleworkers, while 76% have established a policy to ensure that all IT devices used for teleworking comply with federal security and privacy requirements.

Frankly, we’re a bit surprised, but very impressed that federal agencies are working diligently to make teleworking a viable resource and reality. We don’t say it often, but companies may want to look to the government when it comes to implementing and managing their mobile workforce.  

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