Agencies still lack dedicated telework personnel, survey finds

Agencies still lack employees who are largely dedicated to managing telework programs, according to a recent survey of federal telework coordinators. But they’re making progress on that front, the study also shows.

The survey, conducted by the Telework Exchange, found that about half of agency telework coordinators spend less than 25 percent of their time on telework matters.

However, a year-to-year comparison demonstrates that agencies are making headway. In a 2005 Telework Exchange poll, 89 percent of coordinators spent less than a quarter of their time on telework. Also in the latest survey, 35 percent reported that they spend about half their workday on telework, an increase from 11 percent in 2005.

The survey also revealed that teleworking is on more employees’ radar. All of the coordinators in the poll reported an increase in interest in the past year among agency employees in working from home. At the same time, however, 67 percent said that management resistance remains the No. 1 barrier to telework adoption.

In light of the survey results, the Telework Exchange offered these recommendations:
  • Agencies should provide at least one full-time employee whose focus is exclusively on telework programs.
  • Agencies should implement a telework performance system to track usage and productivity.
  • Agencies and telework coordinators should educate managers on the benefits of telework to help overcome managers’ resistance to it.
The Telework Exchange, a public/private partnership that promotes telework, conducted the latest survey last September at the International Telework Association and Council conference in Washington, D.C. Survey participants represented 26 civilian and Defense Department agencies.

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