Welles: The telework dance

Proponents fret about the lack of straightforward momentum for expanding government telework

CDW-G telework report

Related Links

The telework dance continues with two steps forward and one step backward. Time magazine’s April 9 issue listed 51 things that people can do to affect climate change, and No. 13 was letting employees work close to home to shorten their commuting time.

chartWorking closer to home — some call it proximate commuting — conserves energy, decreases gridlock and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. All of those changes are important to maintaining a healthy environment. Telework, with no commute at all, would have an even greater effect on reducing global warming.  

A 2006 Gallup Poll found that 32 percent of working adults in all industries telecommuted, an increase from only 9 percent 10 years ago. Progress has occurred on the telework front.  But some members of Congress say more is needed.

Sens. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) introduced the Telework Enhancement Act of 2007, a bill to expand opportunities for federal employees to telework and, Stevens said, help protect the environment. 
The legislation would change federal telework requirements by creating more opportunities for employees to work from home. It would make all federal employees eligible to telework unless their employers determined otherwise.

Current federal law states that employees are ineligible to telework unless their agencies approve it. The legislation would also require that employee reviews include a discussion of whether telework is feasible for the employee.

Stevens and Landrieu introduced the legislation about the time that two groups published new telework survey reports. The reports show an increased interest in telework among federal agencies. The CDW Government 2007 Telework Report found that although the federal government’s adoption of telework is lagging overall, it outpaces that of the private sector.

However, 67 percent of those who responded to a recent survey by Telework Exchange said top-down support remained the biggest obstacle to widespread teleworking. This attitude takes us two steps back.

Nevertheless, participation in telework programs is up slightly. Forty-four percent of federal employees who responded to the  CDW-G survey indicated that they have the option of teleworking. That’s up 6 percent from 2006. However, only 15 percent of private-sector employees who responded said they have that option. 

Federal information technology departments have increased their support for teleworkers, according to the CDW-G report. Nearly two-thirds of federal IT professionals said their agencies have written IT policies, but fewer than half of private-sector IT professionals said their companies have such policies. Nearly a third of private-sector companies do not provide technical support for teleworkers.
 
Andy Lausch, director of federal sales for CDW-G, said the biggest surprise is the gap between the federal government and the private sector.

Lausch added that “people are asking more questions, and technology has improved.”

Welles is a retired federal employee who has worked in the public and private sectors. She lives in Bethesda, Md., and writes about work life topics for Federal Computer Week. She can be reached at judywelles@1105govinfo.com.

The 2015 Federal 100

Meet 100 women and men who are doing great things in federal IT.

Featured

  • Shutterstock image (by venimo): e-learning concept image, digital content and online webinar icons.

    Can MOOCs make the grade for federal training?

    Massive open online courses can offer specialized IT instruction on a flexible schedule and on the cheap. That may not always mesh with government's preference for structure and certification, however.

  • Shutterstock image (by edel): graduation cap and diploma.

    Cybersecurity: 6 schools with the right stuff

    The federal government craves more cybersecurity professionals. These six schools are helping meet that demand.

  • Rick Holgate

    Holgate to depart ATF

    Former ACT president will take a job with Gartner, follow his spouse to Vienna, Austria.

  • Are VA techies slacking off on Yammer?

    A new IG report cites security and productivity concerns associated with employees' use of the popular online collaboration tool.

  • Shutterstock image: digital fingerprint, cyber crime.

    Exclusive: The OPM breach details you haven't seen

    An official timeline of the Office of Personnel Management breach obtained by FCW pinpoints the hackers’ calibrated extraction of data, and the government's step-by-step response.

  • Stephen Warren

    Deputy CIO Warren exits VA

    The onetime acting CIO at Veterans Affairs will be taking over CIO duties at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

  • Shutterstock image: monitoring factors of healthcare.

    DOD awards massive health records contract

    Leidos, Accenture and Cerner pull off an unexpected win of the multi-billion-dollar Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization contract, beating out the presumptive health-records leader.

  • Sweating the OPM data breach -- Illustration by Dragutin Cvijanovic

    Sweating the stolen data

    Millions of background-check records were compromised, OPM now says. Here's the jaw-dropping range of personal data that was exposed.

  • FCW magazine

    Let's talk about Alliant 2

    The General Services Administration is going to great lengths to gather feedback on its IT services GWAC. Will it make for a better acquisition vehicle?

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above