Federal telework mindset is shifting

Monday - 10/18/2010, 5:30pm EDT

Another fire in a federal office last week brought home the need to be able to telework.

The fire at the Department of Agriculture Plant and Health Inspection Service center in Riverdale, Maryland closed the building for a day. According to an information given employees "Under the Agency's continuity of operations plan, those employees able to work from home," were authorized to do so. "Those who are not equipped to telework are authorized administrative leave for the day," said the USDA website.

The closure lasted a day, but reminded many of the "Snowmageddon" storms of last winter that shut down some DC offices for a week.

Looking back at that event, Bruce Klein, senior vice president of Cisco Systems' U.S. public-sector unit, told Government Computer News he thinks it promoted telework.

"My colleagues and I can work anywhere," Klein told GCN, "a hotel room, a Starbucks, at home - using secure connections. And in the case of a snowstorm or, God forbid, a pandemic, our customers can do the same thing."