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12:52 am, September 3, 2014

Telework Center

Polycom, Inc. is the global leader in unified communications solutions and the only provider of telepresence, video, voice and infrastructure solutions built on open standards.

With Polycom, people can meet face-to-face without being in the same place so they can more effectively communicate, solve, and create. From their desktops, meeting rooms, class rooms, and a variety of mobile settings, people connect and collaborate all over the world using Polycom solutions. Through highly visual immersive experiences, teams make better decisions faster and increase their productivity.

Today Polycom is at the center of a powerful ecosystem of technology leaders who are working together to protect customer investments, ensure flexibility, and develop future-ready solutions. Polycom's open-standards integration with the leading unified communications (UC) and networking platform vendors makes it possible for our customers to use Polycom solutions along with their existing business applications to communicate in real time over any device and across any network. Quite simply, it makes good business sense for companies to rely on the broadest offering of unified communications solutions from Polycom because they can improve productivity, reduce their costs, rapidly gain a return on their technology investment—and thrive.

Polycom is powering smarter conversations and transforming lives and businesses worldwide. Visit us today at polycom.com.

Telework lesson learned from Snowmageddon

Posted on: Monday 2/22/2010 1:04am

While the rest of the DC area is looking at how to have more employees telework after the Blizzard of 2010, Jack Belcher, chief information officer of Arlington County, Virginia, is thinking about his "lesson learned."

"We need to make it simpler," he tells Federal News Radio.

There was a lot of single, point-to-point. [Employees] would come in [virtually], take over their desktops ...and have all of those services that they have at their desktops available to them at home. Until this time, I think there has always been the thought that, "well, how many people have that high speed, broadband access to make that happen?" In reality, a huge number did.

Belcher said his goal now is to push the technology side "to make it so simple that when people come on, they have a portal to come to and everything is there for them, and they don't have to go through -- 'What's my password? How do I get this file?' We've got to have it simpler than it is today."

Diplomatic telework options to be explored

Posted on: Sunday 2/7/2010 10:17pm

At a recent town hall meeting with employees at the State Department, Secretary Hillary Clinton was asked by an audience member identified as a "vice president of AFSA" (the American Foreign Service Association) about the "possibility of increasing opportunities for employment through the use of teleworking."

The Secretary responded, in part:

(As to) teleworking, we are constantly exploring what more can be done. We think it has a lot of advantages. One that we have been promoting is more conferences by teleconference, SVTS, and the like. It saves money, it saves wear and tear, and it can often lead to the same or better outcome than you would get if people had to travel distances. On the teleworking side, similarly, we're going to explore all kinds of options. I mean, technology gives us the chance to do that.

Expect the exploration of telework options to increase across the federal government. The President's proposed FY 2011 budget the number of eligible federal employees who telework by 50% by 2011.

Don't waste your teleworking dollars

Posted on: Sunday 1/24/2010 11:00pm

SmartMoney recently published "10 things not to buy in 2010" listing "products and services that soon will go the way of the dodo." While the average consumer may be concerned with looming obsolescence, the average teleworker has a slightly different agenda. As a result, comments made about some of the items on the list may be more or less true for you.

For example, the article suggests we save money by dropping home telephone service. More and more homes have only cell phones. But as a teleworker, you may want to consider keeping that old land line hooked up as a back up just in case your high-speed access goes out.

On the other hand, the article also suggests not wasting money on external hard drives. "Online backup services," they argue, "allow users to back up data over the Internet." Saving money, and the flexibility accessing the data, may make this an especially appealing option for those teleworkers who never really know where they will be working from on any given day.

Finally, the article suggests avoiding "Energy-inefficient homes and appliances." This is especially true for workers who don't leave the house, and the associated heating and cooling bills.

To see the entire list of "10 things not to buy in 2010" from SmartMoney, click here.

Crowdsourcing comes to telework

Posted on: Friday 1/15/2010 4:20pm

As a federal teleworker, you have an unique, unusual, and valuable view of the world. As such, the Office of Personnel Management and the General Services Administration would like to hear and read about your suggestions, questions and concerns about teleworking.

The Telework Talk blog has been set up telework.gov for a crowdsourcing discussion about the challenges you face and the solutions you have in mind.

The blog is set up in five sections:

  • Your Telework Experience - In government, private industry, or both, how long, and has it been successful?

  • Your Managerial Experience - What's your impression of supervising teleworkers?

  • Your Organization - Who are you teleworking for and what kind of position do you hold?

  • Potential Barriers - Including office coverage and management resistance, among others, and how have you overcome them?

  • Your Additional Ideas - Current comments cover the waterfront from enacting laws to reasonable accomodation.

Only Federal employees with a .gov or .mil email address can vote on or offer telework ideas and solutions, but anyone can read the comments and follow the discussion.

Giving telework a snowball's chance

Posted on: Tuesday 12/29/2009 11:06am

When the DC area federal offices were closed for a day last month due to weather, not everyone had the day off. "Emergency employees" were expected to be at work, as always, and some teleworkers, depending on their agreements, were online and on the job as well.

According to the Office of Personnel Management, that's one of the "major benefits of a telework program": the ability to keep working when others can't.

Many federal managers may have taken advantage of the snow day to give teleworking a try, either to get work done or to test out the system for themselves.

However, Steve O'Keefe, executive director of the Telework Exchange, cautioned to Federal Computer Week, that in order to be successful, telework "needs to be planned for, and agencies need to develop best practices and incorporate lessons learned from experience on a regular basis."

Still, noted O'Keefe, brief teleworking experiences such as snow days gives managers a chance to "embrace the experience."

Why more people are teleworking

Posted on: Friday 12/11/2009 5:51pm

A recent study by the Consumer Electronics Association takes a look at who works from home and why.

"The Telework and the Technologies Enabling Work Outside Corporate Walls," according to TMCnet, found that "focusing on tasks without disruptions" was one of the top reasons given by employees for teleworking.

No more impromptu meetings just outside the office door, no overly enthusiastic cell phone users in the next cubicle, no "stop what you're doing and come sing Happy Birthday" interruptions helps keep the workflow going.

Top benefits included "flexible hours, reduced travel time and costs, fewer disruptions, (and) greater productivity."

Steve Koenig, CEA's director of industry analysis, said in a statement. "Employees believe their performance is enhanced and their quality of life improves. It's a mutually beneficial proposition for employers and employees."

The study found that nearly two in five employed U.S. adults work from home at least one day a month.

You can purchase the study for $699 at myCEA.CE.org.

Breathe a little easier being a teleworker

Posted on: Friday 12/4/2009 5:10pm

Here's how you know teleworking is good for you: the American Lung Association is all for it.

At a Telework Exchange Town Hall Meeting this fall, keynote speaker Janice Nolen, Assistant Vice President for National Policy and Advocacy at the American Lung Association, made a rather startling statement: Telework can actually save lives.

"Lung disease is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.," Nolen said. Traffic jams and extreme commuting add to the problem.

"Bear in mind that it's not just the traffic exhaust," Nolen said. "We're learning that things like tires and brakes as they wear - those particles get caught in the air too."

In addition to lung disease, Nolen pointed out that teleworking could reduce cancer and heart attack rates. "The cars you keep off the road are enormously helpful, and I want you to appreciate how much that means," she said.

We can all breathe a little easier when more people telework.

The 12 days of teleworking

Posted on: Monday 11/30/2009 9:17am

Here come the holidays, ready or not. Teleworkers might appreciate a little something to make doing the job from home more comfortable or just plain fun.

  1. A Desk Calendar - One of those full sized ones for writing on when someone else has come along and borrowed the Post-its.

  2. A Desk Organizer - Holds paper clips, pencils, etc. (See above.)

  3. A Really Good Pen - The kind most of us seem to "lose" at the office.

  4. A Headset - With padded earpads and a mute button.

  5. Anything USB Powered - Fans are popular, as are lamps. A USB microwave is rumored to be in the works.

  6. A Shiny New Coffee Pot - And a selection of single pot coffees and/or teas.

  7. A Surge Protector - Practical and says "we'd miss you if you didn't have power."

  8. A Visit from a Housecleaning Service - For those "I never noticed those dustbunnies before" issues.

  9. A Gift Certificate from a Local Restaurant that Delivers - Pizza, chinese...

  10. A Multi-pack of Thumbdrives - Some of us can never find one when we need one. (See 3.)

  11. An Awesome Sweatsuit - No one has to know what they are or aren't wearing.

  12. Bunny Slippers - Embrace the cliché.

Happy Holidays!

COOP lights a fire under telework

Posted on: Thursday 11/12/2009 3:10pm

H1N1 pandemic planning is doing more to further the push for getting work done outside the office than anything since, possibly, the invention of the briefcase.

According to the CDC, during this flu outbreak, up to 40% of the workforce could be expected to not be able to come to work.

As a result, most federal entities are turning to telework as a viable part of Continuity of Operations planning.

But concerns about teleworking during a pandemic were raised by the GAO, saying a pandemic could result in a massive spike in Internet traffic.

"Increased use of the Internet by students, teleworkers, and others during a severe pandemic is expected to create congestion in Internet access networks that serve metropolitan and other residential neighborhoods," said the report.

ComputerWorld reports Virginia's Arlington County government has been planning for the pandemic, and the possibility of a rush for bandwidth, for close to a year.

CIO of the county, David Jordan, has already arranged with "Verizon to ensure it gets double its normal network bandwidth capacity to support an expanded remote workforce," reports the magazine.

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