New study finds feds less prepared to work remotely than industry counterparts

Three in five federal workers wouldn’t be ready to work remotely if their offices were unable to open, according to a recent survey of information technology executives.

The survey, performed by the Telework Exchange, found that 40 percent of federal employees could work remotely if their primary offices had to close, while 55 percent of private-sector employees would be able to do the same. The report’s findings were based on an online survey of 301 IT executives in government and industry conducted Nov. 17-21.

According to the survey, government IT executives think the number of employees telecommuting at least one day per week will increase by 65 percent, and industry executives predict a 33 percent jump.

In April, the Office of Personnel Management announced a governmentwide plan to increase the number of federal employees who telework.

The Telework Exchange said the survey’s findings showed a need for employees to be more mobile. According to the report, 84 percent of respondents believe their organization’s need for mobility has increased in the past year.

However, the survey found government workers to be less mobile than their industry counterparts:

  • 59 percent of government respondents and 70 percent of industry participants said they provided mobile equipment to their employees.
  • 54 percent of government respondents and 61 percent of industry participants said their organizations had mobile technical support.
  • 56 percent of government respondents and 78 percent of industry participants said their organizations provided remote network access to all employees.

Meanwhile, the report found that 81 percent of IT executives said their organizations have a written continuity-of-operations plan. Sixty-one percent of public-sector respondents gave their organization an A or a B in mobile readiness, while 84 percent of those in the private sector did.

The Telework Exchange is a for-profit group that promotes the expansion of telecommuting. The study was underwritten by Intel.  

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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