As a long-time teleworker myself, I have seen first-hand that teleworking, under the right circumstances, reaps significant benefits for both the employer and employee. The goal of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 was to redefine the workplace expectations of federal employees, and make those benefits available to more eligible workers.
One year later, we set out to see how successful that act has been in changing teleworking policies and attitudes. The recent FedScoop survey, sponsored by HP and Intel, queried more than 300 IT executives from the federal government and private sector to assess the evolving perspectives and practices of telework in federal, state and local government agencies.
The enthusiasm for teleworking is strong and federal workers are confident that the right technology will help them remain efficient. Ninety-one percent of feds surveyed said they are interested in teleworking, and 61 percent believe that technology can help them fully replace face-to-face meetings.
However, 69 percent of federal employees said the federal government telework progress is not improving rapidly enough. The results found that while 9 in 10 federal managers said that they trust their team to work from a remote location, only 61 percent of respondents said their managers allow them to telework.
Technology is the key player in telework. With the right systems, employees are able to work securely and attend meetings as if they were in the office. Forty-three percent of federal employees surveyed said their agency does not provide them with technology that sufficiently supports teleworking, compared with only 13 percent of private sector respondents. This may reflect the reality that many federal managers may not have made the investment yet in supplying their workforces with the supplies and technology they need to telework. To take the next step, federal managers should invest in technology that has security built into the hardware, firmware and software that works together to address critical aspects of information security.
On the issue of security, 84 percent of federal employees said they are concerned about a cyber-attack on their organization, and 3 in 4 feds believe their network could experience critical failure. While cyber-attacks and network failures are considerable security concerns, an agency without teleworking is an agency unprepared to deal with unscheduled government shutdowns (such as the Washington, D.C., Snowpocalypses of 2010 and 2011).
What do you believe is the biggest hindrance preventing you from successfully teleworking?