Just coming out of the blazing hot summer, the blizzard this past February seems like ages ago. Yet this storm brought the federal workforce in D.C. to a halt for 6 days, costing more than $100 million in lost productivity per day. This was offset only by the 1/3 of the federal workforce which was teleworking.
I still remember Snowmaggedon because that was when we shoveled out the wrong car because the snow was so high we couldn’t see which was ours.
More seriously though, telework benefits federal agencies in many ways:
1. Increases productivity
2. Enhances work-life balance and morale
3. Helps the environment by keeping cars off the road
4. Can save the taxpayer money by reducing the agency’s footprint
Data from the Telework Research Network indicate that telework could save agencies and participants as much as $11 billion annually (on such things as real estate, electricity, absenteeism, and employee turnover) and that if eligible employees telecommuted just one day every other week, agencies would increase productivity by more than $2.3 billion per year (driven by employee wellness, quality of life, and morale).
Telework got a boost when the House and the Senate passed similar bills–in May and July respectively–to expand telework opportunities. The two chambers now must reconcile their versions before a final bill heads to President Obama for approval. The Telework Enhancement Act would make employees presumptively eligible and require that agencies establish telework policies, designate a telework managing officer, and incorporate telework into agency’s continuity of operations plans.
Five years ago nobody would’ve thought that EA would inform the discussion on telework. EA was still primarily a compliance only mechanism and didn’t have a real seat at the decision table. Now thanks to the efforts of all of you, it’s strategic benefit is recognized, and EA is playing a vital role in planning and governing strategic IT decisions such as in investing and implementing telework solutions for our agencies.
Our distinguished panelists here today will discuss how EA is informing the discussion of telework from both the policy, systems, and security perspectives.