Tech needs to keep same pace at work as home, feds say

Spurred by the Digital Government Strategy to “seize the digital opportunity and fundamentally change how the federal government serves both its internal and external customers,” federal employees are now trying to figure out how to best use new technologies at home and professionally, according to a recent study.  

The "bring-your-own-device" phenomenon is a key part of that, and the government itself is actively aiding the effort, validating the study's findings. For example, on Aug. 23, U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel announced a new BYOD toolkit that provides best practices for agencies considering BYOD adoption.

The “Me, Myself and IT” report by MeriTalk and Google, released in June, showed that a majority of federal employees increasingly wish their employer could keep up with the evolution of technology to match their needs in their professional lives. Nearly 70 percent said so,

The study, first released in June, found 97 percent of feds shop online and 93 percent use online banking. More than 80 percent use web-based email, 78 percent use social media, and 68 percent use smart phone apps. In other words, feds are as much a part of the online life as anyone else, at least when they're on their own technology tools.

Along with the BYOD trend, government leaders bring their own standards to guide them in their decision-making around technology. Asked to specify challenges for adopting technology for both personal and work use, three of the top four barriers overlapped.

For technology used at work, lack of training (42 percent) poses the biggest challenge to adoption, followed by cost of buying equipment (40 percent) and the belief that the features and functions of the new technology aren’t up to par (29 percent). For personal use, respondents said the cost (75 percent) was the largest obstacle. Security was a more pressing consideration for personal use (38 percent) than in the office (28 percent).

Respondents also said they don’t think technology adoption is harder at work than at home. Just 36 percent said getting familiar with new technology took longer at work compared to the time needed to get used to personal technology. Sixty percent of federal employees age 48 to 66 said the advantages of technology are easier to see at work than in their personal lives.

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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