Annual event encouraging telework try-outs demonstrates enthusiasm, savings.
More than 100,000 federal employees worked from home at least one day during Telework Week. (Stock photo)
More than 120,000 federal workers and close to 15,000 people in the nonprofit and private sectors teleworked at least one day during Mobile Work Exchange's third annual Telework Week, held the week of March 4, nearly doubling last year's total participation.
On one hand, it was fortuitous that a winter storm threatened the Washington, D.C. area – where 70 percent of the Telework Week pledges originated – yet well over 100,000 feds had already committed to teleworking before the "Snowquester" set in.
The numbers show continued and growing interest in mobility, Mobile Work Exchange general manager Cindy Auten said, as employee-driven initiatives at some agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, promoted working remotely this week.
"Agencies want to be more efficient at what they do," Auten said. "I think that is a big part of why you're seeing so many people having a positive experience teleworking."
Auten said some agencies used Telework Week to test their mobile work programs while others take it as a "launching pad" for larger mobile work initiatives. About 93 percent of teleworkers used laptops, while fewer than ten percent planned to use tablets. In addition, 60 percent used a virtual private network access and 12 percent used a virtual desktop.
While agency reasoning may vary for participating in Telework Week, Auten said the results typically do not.
Past studies indicate productivity gains in 70 percent of organizations that participate in Telework Week, and Auten said her group plans to conduct similar research on this year's event. Another data point of interest, she said, is how many participants teleworked using their own devices vs. employer-issued tools.
Auten said the Mobile Work Exchange also plans to explore how much of an impact the snowstorm had on productivity within the federal workforce, which could serve as an efficiency indicator for many agencies' mobile policies. The storm was largely a dud in D.C. proper, but delivered some respectable snow totals to the west of the city.
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