How to make telework work

Telework Exchange offers recommendations under new law

The Telework Exchange has recommended the steps federal agencies should take, including adopting secure telework technology, to implement the Telework Enhancement Act signed by President Barack Obama last week.

In a report released Dec. 14, the public/private partnership calls for agency leaders to develop clear telework contracts, establish performance metrics that focus on results, create pilot programs and hold “telework weeks” to identify problems with telework programs. The report recommends that agency leaders build management support, promote telework benefits, measure productivity against clear targets, provide secure telework technology and deploy telework for business continuity.


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The report also suggests that agencies adopt encrypted hard drives, remote desktops, collaboration systems and thumb drives to support teleworkers.

The law requires all executive agencies to establish telework policies and provide telework programs for eligible employees within 180 days. The law also requires agencies to designate a telework managing officer and treat teleworkers and non-teleworkers equally for the purposes of performance evaluations. The law orders teleworkers to sign a written agreement establishing specific work arrangements.

The Telework Exchange’s report provides an overview of the law and is based on a two-part survey of nearly 200 federal and private-sector employees.

The main obstacles to telework adoption remain getting management support and dealing with resistance to change, the report concludes. Currently, only about one in 10 eligible federal employees teleworks, according to the organization.

To build management support, the report advises agencies to launch “360 workforce training” and conduct pilot programs. It also stresses the importance of agency leaders focusing on telework as an agency benefit, not just an employee benefit.

The report proposes that agencies hold training sessions for management and employees to introduce new technology, provide continual refresher courses and explore mobile technology.

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

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