Survey shows desire for telework high, but tech lacking

13th December, 2011 - Posted by Meredith Lawrence - No Comments

In previous posts on FedUC, we’ve talked extensively about the federal government’s slow march towards embracing telework. With budgets tight, the government has been looking at telework as a way to trim costs, while also helping to increase mobility and improve continuity of operations.

However, a new survey by cloud, networking and virtualization technology provider, Citrix, shows that there may be another reason for the government prioritizing telework.

Over 35 percent of the respondents to the survey stated that they are feeling pressure from employees and other internal audiences to increase workplace flexibility and telework initiatives. The survey, which polled more than 1,100 senior executives and IT managers from across the globe, showed that desire to improve work-life balance and work where, when and how is best for employees is what’s driving this push for telework adoption.

Ultimately, telework seems like a win-win for many organizations and government agencies. Employees receive increased flexibility, can spend less time commuting and more time working and still see benefits to their work-life balance and quality of life. However, there are still challenges facing the adoption of these telework initiatives.

First, many government managers are hesitant to allow employees to work from anywhere. This could be a result of antiquated thinking that employees that are out of sight have work out of their minds. Other managers could simply be struggling with the evolution of work from somewhere you go to something you do. Secondly, according to the Citrix survey, many organizations have yet to embrace the mobile technologies that can empower and enable telework.

The solutions to both of the above problems could be solved very quickly and easily. Just use the resources that are already available to agency employees.

As employees continue to purchase and embrace tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices in their personal lives, they’re demanding the kind of flexibility and advanced capabilities that they enable in the workplace. However, only 25 percent of the people surveyed say their organization enables employees to bring their own device (BYOD), despite the 30 percent increase in productivity it provides.

There are obviously concerns about enabling personal devices to work on an enterprise’s network, including security and bandwidth demands. However, the benefits seem to far outweigh the concerns.

By embracing BYOD mobile devices, agencies can easily and inexpensively roll out these devices across the enterprise. At the end of the day, the government doesn’t need to pay for devices that employees provide themselves.

Also, with new mobile video solutions, such as Polycom’s RealPresence Mobile, BYOD will enable agencies to implement mobile video communications across the organization. These solutions can go a long way towards eliminating the other large concern facing telework adoption; the ability for managers to see and interact with employees while they’re teleworking. By implementing video communication across the agencies via BYOD devices, employees will be able to interact, communicate and collaborate as if they were in the same room, regardless of the distance between them.

Based on the Citrix survey results, it may be time for agencies to reevaluate their stance on BYOD. Utilizing existing resources could help to increase productivity and drive telework adoption, with the cost savings, COOP and other benefits that it delivers. Now that’s a real win-win for the government.

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