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Agency of the Future Guide: Telework More Than a Trend – A Workplace Transformation

Our latest guide, "Agency of the Future: Telework More Than a Trend – A Workplace Transformation," features case studies and best practices from the Government Accountability Office and insights from HP's Chief Technologist for Thin Client, Tom Flynn. Download the PDF. 

Do you remember The Jetsons? The show centers on a family living in the futuristic world of 2062. The world featured flying cars, robotic maids and machines that could do the impossible, cooking dinner in an instant, pressing the laundry and walking the dog with the push of a button.

However, even in this futuristic world, George still got dressed every morning and left his house of gadgetry to trudge to the office. The writers behind the 1926 cartoon couldn’t fathom a future where an office could be in the home. To them, the office was a destination outside the house – and, to some extent, that belief is still true.  

According to the 2012 Status of Telework in the Federal Government report, roughly 35% of the federal workforce is eligible to telework, but only 11% take advantage. The main reason for the low percentage is that employees feel culturally pressured to work in the office by supervisors who are not comfortable managing remote professionals.

However, that cultural bias against telework is shifting as technology makes it easier to stay connected to colleagues and work-related information. Instant messaging, Voice over IP and mobile phones, plus the ability to access email and the web anytime, anywhere, is allowing employees to stay plugged in to the office. They are no longer out of sight out of mind, because technology allows them to remain present.

In this report, GovLoop outlines the future of telework in government:

  • State of Telework: The Numbers Now and the Vision for 2020
  • Doubling Down on the Future: How GAO Gambled and Won With Telework
  • Leveraging Technology for Telework: Virtual Desktops, Video and Virtual Rooms
    • Gaining Support from Senior Executives
    • Training Top-Notch Teleworkers
    • Staying Connected with the Right Tools
    • Creating a Culture of Performance Management
    • Getting Over the Cultural Hurdles
    • Transferring Lessons from Field to Headquarters
  • Your Telework Cheat Sheet

Download the PDF

Below are some additional resources that were used as part of the research for this report:

HP’s mission is to invent technologies and services that drive business value, create social benefit and improve the lives of customers — with a focus on affecting the greatest number of people possible.

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Tags: DorobekINSIDER, agency of the future, digital government, guide, innovation, leadership, telework, work

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Comment by Terrence (Terry) Hill on September 20, 2013 at 2:46pm

@Ramona - There will always be jobs that require someone's physical presence (e.g. Secret Service, Border Patrol, TSOs, Air Traffic Contollers, Park Rangers, Blue-Collar work, manufacturing, retail sales, restaurants, etc.), however supporting a meeting is not one of them.  Why are meetings "in-person" at all?  Technology has matured to the point that we no longer need physical presence for meetings.  This is the easiest process to make remote.  In fact, meetings should be optional.  There are much more efficient means of communicating.

Comment by Ramona Winkelbauer on September 20, 2013 at 12:51pm

Question: Do you see m/any jobs that are NOT able to be done at a distance?  I.e., a call center can be anywhere, but if you're supporting an in person meeting and there are technical problem/s with the equipment, the ability to walk in and fix the issue appears to be a job that can't be done remotely.  Reaction/s?

Comment by Terrence (Terry) Hill on September 19, 2013 at 7:48am
Thanks for another great guide on a subject near and dear to my heart. Also, thanks for the infographic. Unfortunately, what Lori mentioned is still a reality in many Federal agencies. Some managers are even holding out hopes that this whole "telework thing" will just go away (like sequestration). Unfortunately, this is the new reality and we just need to deal with the fact that work can be conducted anywhere, government-funded travel and training are a thing of the past, and awards will be non-monetary.

One question for managers (like Lori's) - If you can telework during "extreme weather" or "declared emergencies," why can't you telework every other day? Why do you need an excuse to telework?
Comment by Lori Winterfeldt on September 18, 2013 at 10:38am

You quote the report as stating, "The main reason for the low percentage is that employees feel culturally pressured to work in the office by supervisors who are not comfortable managing remote professionals"  I can attest to the truth of this statement.  We are only "allowed" to telework in cases of extreme weather or declared emergency and that is ONLY at the discretion of our leadership.

 

As long as this is not a mandate and the choice remains with the supervisor and NOT the employee, the rate will remain low.  There is no recourse for the employee who WANTS to telework.

 

If they object, they get a reputation as a troublemaker.  The culture change for telework in government must come from the top levels.

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