GBC study shows mobility needed for government recruitment

5th April, 2012 - Posted by Meredith Lawrence - No Comments

The Government Business Council, Government Executive Media Group’s research division, recently released a study exploring the mobility and flexibility of workforces at government agencies.

The study was sponsored by Polycom Federal and revealed some very interesting statistics and reasons why a more mobile and flexible workplace is crucial for today’s federal government. The study also identifies the top and bottom agencies as far as employee satisfaction with telework programs and the percentage of employees that are “telework” eligible.

According to the report, there are many reasons that agencies today should embrace telework and a more flexible workplace. The first is retention and recruitment.

The GBC study quotes figures from FedScope federal human resources data by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) which shows that 60 percent of the federal workforce is over the age of 45. Only 10 percent of the federal workforce is age 30 or younger. The federal workforce is aging and the next generation of younger federal employees simply isn’t large enough to pick up the slack.

This wouldn’t be an issue if the government was actively recruiting and hiring new employees. However, current government hiring freezes and negative perceptions of government employment have hindered bringing in the next generation of federal employee. In fact, the GBC report quotes a recent Partnership for Public Service survey which found that just 2.3 percent of graduating college seniors planned to work for the federal government.

Telework can help to correct this. The report quotes OPM data from 33 agencies that adopted telework. The largest benefits of their initiatives were increased productivity (39 percent) and recruitment and retention (37 percent). In addition, teleworkers were more likely to be satisfied in their jobs, consider their agency a good place to work and were less likely to leave the agency.

Despite the evidence backing up the claims about telework benefiting agencies, many simply aren’t allowing their employees to work from outside of the office.

The GBC report highlights findings from a 2010 study by the Executive Office of the President: Council of Economic Advisers entitled, “Work-Life Balance and the Economics of Workplace Flexibility.” According to these findings, 25 percent of federal employees were unable to telework despite holding positions that qualify and approximately 66 percent were considered ineligible.

So, why are agencies so hesitant to embrace telework if the evidence is so strong? Based on conversations we’ve had with managers and senior leaders in the federal government, much of the hesitation stems from a combination of security concerns and the fear that collaboration and communication will break down if employees are out of the office.

However, this doesn’t need to be a stumbling block for telework adoption. Today’s advanced Unified Communications (UC) technologies, such as video teleconferencing (VTC) and mobile video communication can enable secure, face-to-face communication and collaboration between government employees no matter where they’re working.

VTC solutions can enable video communication between individuals via a wide range of solutions, from desktop and laptop computers, to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. This ensures that government employees stay connected whether they’re in the office, at home or in the field.

Today’s enterprise VTC solutions also deliver the quality, reliability and security needed across all government agencies, including the defense and intelligence community.

The benefits of telework and workforce mobility are proven and accepted across the federal government. By embracing video communications, agencies can overcome the obstacles facing telework adoption and begin to experience those benefits today.

To access the GBC issue brief, and view their lists of best and worst agencies for mobility and telework, click HERE.

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