What Can Virtual Office Users Learn From Obama Administration?

WASHINGTON, D.C.-When the government starts embracing workplace trends, it's time to take notice. And that's what the U.S. government did last year in passing the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010. Now, a new report from FedScoop is revealing the progress and limitations federal managers have experienced while implementating telework.

FedScoop surveyed more than 300 IT executives from the federal government and private sector. The survey, sponsored by HP and Intel Corporation, assessed the evolving perspectives and practices of telework.

According to the report, 90 percent of federal managers said that they trust their team to work from a remote location, but only 61 percent of respondents said their managers allow them to telework. Where's the virtual office disconnect?

"The results of the survey showed us that although government managers report trusting their employees to work remotely, the practices aren't necessarily in place to make this possible," says Goldy Kamali, founder and president of FedScoop. "Overall, most respondents felt that government teleworking policies should be progressing at a faster rate."

Here's some more interesting telecommuting data from the report:

43% said their agency does not provide them with technology that sufficiently supports teleworking, compared with only 13 percent of private sector respondents

69% said the federal government telework progress is not improving rapidly enough

75% said their agency has designated a telework coordinator

56% have met with this person

"With nearly half of federal employees indicating their technology equipment is not sufficient to telework, it is clear that the government is behind the private sector in implementing procedures and acquiring technology," says Nigel Ballard, director of federal marketing at Intel. "But it is encouraging to see that more and more managers are realizing the benefits that can be gained from increased flexibility and mobility within their workforce."

Still, the enthusiasm for teleworking is strong and federal workers are confident that the right technology will help them remain efficient. Ninety-one percent of feds surveyed said they are interested in teleworking, and 61 percent believe that technology can help them fully replace face-to-face meetings. Virtual office technologies could help.

"Technology plays an important role in creating safe and reliable computing environment for mobile workers in both the public and private sectors," says Christina Morrison, public sector marketing manager at HP. "For example, teleworkers can use virtual web conferencing technology to replicate their in-person meetings while reducing their carbon footprint, travel expenses and long commute times."


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