Another out-of-the-office option

Telework centers offer alternative worksites for agencies whose employees deal with information that is too sensitive to access from home. Although they don’t offer workers all the comforts and conveniences of home, strategically located centers can reduce employees’ travel time.

The Defense Information Systems Agency has an extensive telework program in which employees can work from home as often as six out of 10 days. However, employees working in classified environments are excluded from the program.

Last year, DISA’s telework team negotiated with the General Services Administration to offer DISA employees the option of working at secure locations at several GSA-operated telework centers. DISA also opened a telework center at the agency’s new headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., which will be completed by 2011.

Offering alternative worksites is a good recruitment and retention tool, said Jack Penkoske, director of manpower, personnel and security at DISA.

“If we can save people even 15 or 20 minutes commute time each direction, it makes a big difference as to whether they stay with us,” he said.

Penkoske added that the Fort Meade telework center allows the agency to recruit people who live in that area before the agency’s move is completed. The other centers will encourage more employees to stay with the agency after the move because they won’t have to travel the extra distance to the new location more than one or two days a week.

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