Federal employees tell Telework Exchange their agencies “fail” at telework preparedness

12th April, 2012 - Posted by fedu3767 - No Comments

In a recent post on Fed UC, we discussed a Government Business Council (GBC) report about mobility.

According to the GBC, which is the research arm of the Government Executive Media Group, 25 percent of federal employees were unable to telework despite holding positions that should be eligible. Another 66 percent were considered ineligible (the full report can be downloaded HERE).

The study showed that agencies have been reticent to embrace a mobile workforce, despite the calls from the federal government to embrace telework. But it’s not the only evidence. This week, the Telework Exchange released findings that hammer home just how hesitantly agencies have approached telework.

According to the organization’s 2012-2013 Telework/Mobile IT Almanac almost 20 percent of federal government employees gave their agency a “C” for telework readiness. An additional 24 percent called their agency’s telework preparedness an, “utter failure.”

Overall, 152 federal IT professionals took the survey. Of those 152 respondents, 70 percent worked for civilian agencies, while 30 percent worked in the defense or intelligence community.

We’ve discussed the benefits that telework and a mobile workforce can have for federal agencies at length. From providing continuity of operations (COOP) during natural disasters or other unforeseen events, to saving money by reducing the amount of resources an agency uses, telework delivers for federal agencies.

These benefits should outweigh any hesitation that agencies have towards preparing their workforce and IT infrastructures for telework. Unfortunately, some agencies fear that initial investments in technologies that power telework, such as Unified Communications (UC) solutions like video teleconferencing (VTC), instant messaging and presence, could prohibit them from moving forward.

Initial IT costs don’t need to derail telework preparedness efforts.. There are new interoperable technologies that make use of legacy and new equipment, in a multi-vendor open standards environment, helping to greatly reduce the initial cost of the advanced UC solutions that power telework. In addition, agencies can recoup their initial investments over time thanks to the cost savings these technologies deliver.

Today’s video solutions are also accessible from a wide universe of devices. New mobile applications and video cloud solutions are capable of turning any laptop, tablet or smartphone into a VTC solution. Tablets and smartphones are already being implemented across federal agencies for government employees to use in their jobs. This means that government agencies are, in many cases, rolling out VTC solutions to their employees already.

In addition to the devices agencies are purchasing themselves, federal employees are utilizing their own devices. This phenomenon, which is being called “bring your own device,” or “BYOD,” can virtually eliminate the initial cost of rolling out VTC hardware for the agency.

The benefits of telework are expansive and can help agencies overcome some of their largest challenges today, including embracing telework and improving COOP. With the shrinking cost of embracing telework-enabling technologies, there’s no longer any reason why agencies shouldn’t be prepared, or getting prepared, to move forward with their telework initiatives.

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