Telework Week report highlights upside

The 112,000 federal employees who participated in this year's event during the week of March 4 were 'equal if not more productive' while working remotely than when in the office.

man teleworking

The 112,000 federal employees who participated in this year's event during the week of March 4 were "equal if not more productive" while working remotely than when in the office, according to the organization that runs the event. (Stock image)

The Mobile Work Exchange's post-Telework Week study suggests the 112,000 federal employees who participated in this year's event during the week of March 4 were "equal if not more productive" while working remotely than when in the office.

Forty-eight percent of managers surveyed by the Mobile Work Exchange, with assistance from Cisco Systems and Citrix, reported teleworkers from over 200 federal agencies were equally as productive, and 52 percent said their teleworking employees were more productive, with none reporting drops in productivity.

Teleworkers themselves rated their teleworking productivity even higher, with 75 percent claiming increased productivity while working from the friendly confines of their homes or coffee shops.

Rating productivity is just one of several ways to measure the effectiveness of telework initiatives in the public sector, said Mobile Work Exchange General Manager Cindy Auten, but it's a pretty good barometer for gauging how telework is received at the employee and management levels.

"Telework Week, and the study we do afterwards, gives us a glimpse at how agencies are faring in telework," Auten said. "We've seen a lot of progress in the past couple years, but we still have a ways to go."

Telework Week, now an annual event, was first conceived in 2011 with a modest 39,000 pledges, and followed in 2012 with about 71,000 pledges.

This year's Telework Week coincided with a March snowstorm and big news on the telecommuting front: that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer planned to ban telework for the internet giant's employees. Both incidents contributed to 136,000 total participants this year, 80 percent of whom were feds.

Yet Auten said the biggest reason for growth in Telework Week – especially on the federal sector side of things – is that agencies are beginning to find value in it.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, for example, went from no teleworkers participating in the program to more than half of their 5,000 eligible employee workforce logging telework hours.

Auten also praised the Department of Agriculture, which has a "strong" telework program, and the Department of Health and Human Services, which notched 10,000 teleworkers at Telework Week this year.

Some agencies, like the Patent and Trademark Office, are ahead of the rest of the public sector with advanced metrics in place for measuring the mobile productivity of their employees, Auten said.

Highlights

Findings and benchmarks from the Telework Week 2013 study:

  •   Telework Week 2013 saw a 91 percent increase in pledges over Telework Week 2012, for 136,093 total pledges – that's approximately 3.5 times the number of pledges in 2011.
  •  The average teleworker worked remotely for two days during Telework Week.
  •  If all Telework Week 2013 pledges teleworked the same they pledged for one year, they would collectively save $614,196,865 -- an average of $4,513 per teleworker.
  •  Telework Week 2013 saved pledges a total of 15,054,602 miles; 7,892 tons of pollutants; and $12,283,937 on commutes.

Many old-school managers struggle to measure how effective their employees are without face time, often relying on attendance over work output. In an ever-changing workforce where talent wants the option to telework – the study says 66 percent of workers will give preference to positions that offer telework, and 16 percent won't consider a job without it – Auten said behind-the-times middle management could curtail agencies' mobility efforts.

"This is what telework will expose – if you have a crack in your management style, if you have a legacy style that grades by what you're seeing when you're walking around, that's not going to work in a remote situation," said Auten, noting the Office of Personnel Management offers online courses for feds who want to upgrade their management training.

Overall, Auten said about half of the federal workforce's 2.1 million employees are eligible to telework, meaning the 112,000 feds who teleworked this March represent a small fraction of what's possible across agencies.

Auten said that, in addition to revamped management styles and policy changes to encourage telework where applicable, agencies could steal a page from the private sector's innovative mobile work efforts.

Cisco Systems, for instance, experimented with mobile work pilot programs as far back at 1996, and now 89 percent of its workforce works remotely at least once per week, according to senior manager Kacey Carpenter. Could the government ever hope to match those numbers?

"I'm optimistic," Carpenter said. "There are huge opportunities to really give the government the opportunity to do its job while addressing a lot of those cost expenses. When you look at the government today, federal, state or local, you can identify real dollars, time savings, productivity gains and training."

Telework Week pledge growth

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.