Jun 07 2007

Telework Realities

Work-from-home programs continue to gain momentum: Most feds say they would choose to telework if allowed.

The government is outpacing the private sector in offering telework options to its employees, but federal programs are evolving slowly and hub telework sites around the national capital region remain underused.

In a survey this spring, 52 percent of government respondents report that they are eligible to telework, while 16 percent of private-sector respondents say they can work off site. Of the 557 federal employees who took the 2007 CDW Telework Survey, 79 percent say that they would choose to telework if given the option.

The ability for federal employees to work remotely is definitely a trend that will keep evolving in government, says Gary Washington, chief of enterprise architecture for the Food and Drug Administration. Washington, who spoke at the recent Management of Change conference in Richmond, Va., considers it an emerging technology area and one that will factor into FDA’s push to improve data sharing and field collaboration tools.

Interestingly, despite initiatives to create federal telework centers around the Washington metropolitan area, few teleworkers use them. Of the respondents, only 3 percent report that they work at one of the 16 telework centers in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Most survey respondents who telework, 91 percent, say they do so from home.