The climate is right for teleworking in government

IDC Government Insights Community –

OK, we all know about the proposed federal salary freeze, and Gov Loop has done a great job of laying out the facts in GovLoop Weekly: It's Freezing Out Here including an info graph of federal pay numbers, estimated savings, and a recap of a CNN poll showing that 64 % of Americans surveyed say that it's a step in the right direction.Lest federal workers face the Holidays without any good news, there is the promise of job related monetary relief in the Federal Telework Bill, which presumably will soon be signed by the President.

Technology is mature for teleworking as corporate America has practiced this concept for years, and IT solution providers continue to improve the ability of the web to be used for collaborative work environments for meetings, training, and brainstorming activities. It's about time the federal government enjoyed the benefits of teleworking, including reduced office space and rent, the ability to attract self-starting workers who can and do work anywhere, and the ability to have government continue to work even during "snowmaggedons."

But now, with federal pay freezes looming, there is even more reason for federal employees to telework - the benefits to employees themselves. For federal employees located in the Washington, D.C. area, missing the stress of a day a week of traffic (the legislation provides for federal employees to telework up to 20% of the time) may be a good tradeoff for a cost of living increase. Throw in commuting savings, car mileage saved, personal time saved, and Federal employees who telework may just be OK without the 1.4% raise in 2011. Perhaps after federal employees show that their telework produces increased productivity, agencies may push for more employee flexibility, benefiting all.

Even if the salary freeze goes into effect, telework's silver lining may be enough to thaw the impact.

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