A lesson on telework from South Korea

3rd July, 2012 - Posted by Kourtney Wooten - 1 Comment

The federal government is constantly trying to identify private sector best practices and implement them in the public sector to help increase operational efficiency, cut costs and help the federal workforce become more productive. From management techniques to new technologies, the government has implemented a wide range of ideas from private enterprises designed to make organizations more effective.

If the federal government is looking for ways to drive productivity and cut costs, they don’t always have to find them at private enterprises. Sometimes other governments embrace innovative ideas and technology implementations that could serve as examples for our government to “borrow.”

Take South Korea for example.

Instead of requiring government employees to travel into the federal offices in Seoul, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security (MOPAS) in South Korea has created SmartWork centers that are distributed across the country. These SmartWork centers provide a place for federal employees to work without the need for extensive commuting.

These SmartWork centers are an incredible alternative for teleworking employees that find it difficult to focus in the home office environment. They also help to overcome some of the major challenges that teleworkers and agencies that allow telework often face – issues with collaboration, communication and oversight.

Korea is working to outfit all of their SmartWork centers with advanced Unified Communications (UC) technologies, such as video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions. These VTC solutions enable teleworking employees in SmartWork centers to have face-to-face communication with employees in other centers and at the federal offices in Seoul.

By enabling face-to-face communications, employees can continue to collaborate and communicate in real time, regardless of the distance separating them. Managers can also physically “see” their employees in the office and feel more comfortable that their work is getting accomplished.

According to a recent press release, the MOPAS expects the benefits of these SmartWork centers to be significant for federal employees:

“…if each remote worker utilizes their local SmartWork center as opposed to traveling to the central government facilities in Seoul between 1-2 days per week, it will reduce emission trading and transportation costs by approximately $310 per remote worker annually, and commuter time by up to 90 minutes per day.”

The benefits aren’t all for the employees, however. Teleworking employees require less office space and government provisioned computer hardware since they are capable of sharing space and working remotely. Also, they tend to be more productive, working when and where they’re most effective. Employees that telework also have better work-life balances and tend to have more job satisfaction.

The federal government has always relied on best practices from the private sector to increase productivity and operational efficiency. However, private enterprises aren’t the only ones with good ideas. The government of South Korea has an incredible program that can make its workforce more efficient and effective. By emulating Korea and its SmartWork centers, the U.S. government can help safe money and make its workforce more effective.

1 Comment


[…] thought this article in Fed UC about the South Korean government creating SmartWork Centers was interesting. It’s another […]

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