The Congressional Research Service’s December survey shows that while some agencies have scored big on telework, others are just not there yet.
Despite the problems some agencies are having, a majority of them are moving forward on telework adoption and growth. In fact, in addition to the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, a recent executive order and presidential memorandum have provided plenty of momentum for the telework movement. Plus, telework plays a critical role in maintaining an operational and resilient government, solidifying the federal government as a top place to work and supporting returning veterans who are entering the workforce.
It is difficult to implement an enterprisewide program, and any change of this magnitude requires cultural and technological adjustments.
Managers — senior leaders first and then middle managers — must be on board. Mobile technology will make telework programs a success, and agencies that haven’t implemented this technology are holding themselves back. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, General Services Administration, Defense Information Systems Agency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Department of Agriculture did not get to the top by luck. It took time, management buy-in and the right technology.
Agencies striving to implement an effective enterprise telework program should consider several important management, technological and policy steps.
State and local governments looking to establish its telework program should bring IT, senior management, union and human capital officials together to build a program that supports the agency’s mission. These additional management steps will help foster telework growth:
Agencies are using notebook computers, virtual private networks, virtual desktops, smartphones, and collaboration and video technology to enable remote workers. Take these additional steps to provide IT support to your agency’s program:
Agencies that give employees the option to telework should let them telework. These other policy steps can also help a telework program:
Consider programs such as Telework Week or other telework drills to stress-test your IT systems and take a temperature check among managers and employees. Now is the time to move from telework ready, to telework in action.