Six ingredients to telework success

Thursday - 2/17/2011, 2:44pm EST

Ron Sanders, senior executive advisor, Booz Allen Hamilton

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You've probably heard plenty of talk about teleworking, especially this week being Telework Week.

But how does all the talk become a reality at your agency?

Telework in government has moved at a "glacial" speed," said Ron Sanders, senior executive advisor at Booz Allen Hamilton and former chief human capital officer of the intelligence community, in an interview with the DorobekINSIDER.

While 62 percent of federal employees are eligible to work remotely, less than 6 percent of all full-time feds telework even one day a month, found a July 2010 report by Booz Allen and the Partnership for Public Service.

The barriers to teleworking are nine-tenths cultural and one-tenth technological, Sanders said.

Sanders outlined "six ingredients to the recipe for telework success":

  1. Design a telework policy and program that includes implementation and evaluation. Typically the agency's human capital office will oversee this step.

  2. Train managers on soft skills, with an emphasis on managing in a distributed workplace.

  3. Emphasize performance management (rather than attendance).

  4. Change management strategic communications.

  5. Incorporate other departments beyond human capital in contingency plans.

  6. Incorporate network and data security personnel.

As federal agencies feel the potential sting of budget cuts, telework options become a powerful tool to keep the best and brightest in government jobs.

"In an era of the ice age -- hiring freeze, pay freezes things like that -- this becomes an important retention strategy," Sanders said.

With the passage of the Telework Enhancement Act late last year, Sanders said he is hopeful of a "sea change" in government's implementation of telework.

Stay up-to-date on the latest federal telework news.

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