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3:04 pm, September 23, 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.

Agencies make the iPad telework connection

Posted on: Monday 8/9/2010 11:09am

The snapping sound of cords cutting are being heard across the globe. The BBC, for example, this month announced it is testing the iPad to see if it's up to the task of replacing desktop computers.

Which is all well and good, you say, for the private sector. But what about the federal government? Could the tablet computer meet government needs when it comes to checking e-mail, sharing documents and accessing the Web?

Federal Computer Week reports the answer is being looked at very seriously across the federal government.

"A couple of agencies already list the iPad as an option on purchasing contracts," while NIST is looking at "how they can best be supported and secured," according to FCW.

While NASA "sees its potential value as an on-the-go platform," there are a few drawbacks noted, including "normal office products that are the core of normal computer use - i.e. Microsoft Office - are not available" for the iPad.

If you should decide there's enough room in your end-of-fiscal-year budget to take a few for a spin, "some vendors offer iPads on vehicles such as NASA's Solutions for Enterprisewide Procurement governmentwide acquisition contract," notes FCW.

SEWP program manager, Joanne Woytek tells Federal News Radio, don't wait to get your orders in. Just because they're open until midnight on September 30th doesn't mean you shouldn't get your order in as early as possible.

5 Early holiday bonuses for teleworkers

Posted on: Friday 7/30/2010 6:05pm

While your office-bound co-workers leave early in the days around the holidays, you have the opportunity to sit snug and smug in your remote location by getting your shopping done now.

The Street, an investing and market news website, offers 5 Reasons to Start Holiday Shopping and all five are online options.

It seems Toys R Us has chosen June to announce their "Christmas Saver's Club" holiday plan. That's beating Cyber Monday to the punch by five months.

But they aren't alone. Also ready to serve you with cyber eggnog in hand are eLayaway, Target, Sears/Kmart, Amazon and Facebook.

According to The Street, these are the companies offering "the Top 5 holiday sales gimmicks...so far."

For example, assuming you're reading this online, you're one or two mouse clicks away from Toys R Us's "Christmas Savers Club". You can put money on a gift card and it will earn 3% interest between now and the holidays.

"Laugh all you want," says The Street, "at the shopper socking away $500 in June, but he or she will have spending power three Barbie dolls' greater than the consumer spending the same amount in July. That's just good parenting."

Sears and Kmart offer a similar deal of 3% interest on their sites, and Target will start offering a 5% discount to their debit and Visa REDcard holders in the fall.

Tracking telework acceptance

Posted on: Monday 7/26/2010 12:53pm

Since both houses of Congress have passed versions of the 2010 Telework Enhancement Act, there's a very real possibility the program will be coming soon to an empty desktop near you. Both versions are designed to expand telework across government by assuming employees are eligible for telework instead of requiring them to prove it's a good fit for their position. Senate measure S. 707 is being "held at the desk" and House bill H.R. 1722 is now back in committee.

While that's going on, the Office of Personnel Management has released the latest Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey that found about a third of those surveyed were satisfied with telework, implying two-thirds aren't. Another quarter of federal employees said they don't telework because they aren't allowed to.

GCN.com explored the possibility that there may be some feds out there who don't really want to telework and came up with 5 reasons why some feds would rather not telework. They include a feeling of wanting to be in the office to contribute to a group effort, keeping their work and home lives separate, and the notion that "as long as so many people are not teleworking, would-be teleworkers will need to come into the office more often than they would like, which only reinforces the idea that telework is not a practical solution."

At-home Agent: telework on vitamins

Posted on: Sunday 7/11/2010 3:14pm

As a federal worker or contractor, you already know this, but the thinking about telework proves the point: there really are some major differences between the private sector and the federal workforce.

A taskforce of the American Council for Technology (ACT) and Industry Advisory Council (IAC) produced a white paper earlier this year looking at the further difference between a teleworker and an "at-home agent."

While a teleworker is generally thought of as working from home a day or two or maybe even three a week, the at-home agent works from home or another alternative site full time.

According to the paper, "Federal contact centers have been slower to adopt at-home agent, primarily citing the security and privacy requirements that are specific to the Federal Government."

Taskforce chair, Mark Samblanet, told the Dorobek Insider there's one more roadblock: awareness.

One thing we found out through the process is that all these agencies we talked to had a telework program in place, yet, for some reason, when we started talking about at-home agents, they'd never connected the telework [process] to at-home agents. Telework programs have the practices and policies in place. . . . Most people think of telework as an employee with an office who's working at home part of the time or during a pandemic or an emergency. . . . They don't necessarily make the [connection] there.

To listen to the the interview with Samblanet and learn more about at-home agents, click here.

Battening down the telework hatches

Posted on: Tuesday 7/6/2010 2:08pm

A lot can change in five years. Think back a moment to August 29, 2005: the center of Katrina passes through New Orleans.

Since then, there have been changes in the administration, in policy, and in the way we think about telework.

Last week, Office of Personnel Director John Berry issued a memo to Chief Human Capital Officers about preparing for this year's hurricane season.

In it, he reminds the CHCOs about "a wide range of human resources (HR) policies and flexibilities that are currently available to assist Federal employees affected by hurricanes and their aftermath," including telework.

Federal employees can be required to telework from their "alternative worksites," if possible, on their regular telework days "or on any of their regularly scheduled workdays during emergency situations when the agency is closed." A lot can change in five years. Think back a moment to August 29, 2005: the center of Katrina passes through New Orleans.

Since then, there have been changes in the administration, in policy, and in the way we think about telework.

Last week, Office of Personnel Director John Berry issued a memo to Chief Human Capital Officers about preparing for this year's hurricane season.

In it, he reminds the CHCOs about "a wide range of human resources (HR) policies and flexibilities that are currently available to assist Federal employees affected by hurricanes and their aftermath," including telework.

Federal employees can be required to telework from their "alternative worksites," if possible, on their regular telework days "or on any of their regularly scheduled workdays during emergency situations when the agency is closed."

Teleworkers do not have to be designated emergency employees to be required to work during a closure, "however" notes Berry, agencies are encouraged to talk about the policies with teleworkers in advance.

One thing that hasn't changed though: the Redskins still haven't won the Super Bowl again. Maybe that will change next year.

Teleworkers do not have to be designated emergency employees to be required to work during a closure, "however" notes Berry, agencies are encouraged to talk about the policies with teleworkers in advance.

One thing that hasn't changed though: the Redskins still haven't won the Super Bowl again. Maybe that will change next year.

VA ready to kick the virtual tires

Posted on: Friday 6/25/2010 6:39pm

It looks like the Department of Veterans Affairs is ready for some public sector help setting up a Virtual Call Center (VCC).

Last week the VA said in a FedBizOps notice it intends to award a contract for a prototype VCC.

Roger Baker, the CIO at VA tells NextGov the department wants to set up call centers that aren't "jammed with hundreds of folks, but rather defined by virtual spaces, where calls are routed to folks nationwide -- including people who work at home 'wearing their bunny slippers.'"

The VA is looking for ideas from industry on the best ways to route calls and answer questions from veterans about claims and benefits.

Expect to see the request for proposal this week with a goal of awarding the contract "no later than 28 August 2010."

Once Upon a Time in Teleworkland

Posted on: Thursday 6/17/2010 5:48pm

A long, long time ago (1989) in a place far away (San Francisco), teleworking as an emergency response was born.

The ground shook. It bucked. It heaved up and down. And when it was done, the earthquake had reduced the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) regional office to rubble.

The 700 hundred federal employees suddenly had nowhere to work.

"They would never return to their former office building, and it would not be until a year later before they would move into new facilities," said a GSA article from 2000.

What to do?

They had always planned to set up a work-at-home program to resume operations after a disaster, but no one expected a disaster quite like this.

So they all pulled together and worked through the problems well enough to please both "internal and external evaluators."

One of the evaluators was so happy, he wrote that "for EPA, the most important outcome of the disaster was a positive shift in perspective: They learned to manage by results instead of by counting noses."

And the little work-at-home program grew up to be a permanent part of the family.

The end.

CDC honored for its healthy telework program

Posted on: Monday 6/14/2010 10:05am

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) was honored by the Telework Exchange with a Tele-Vision Award for the "Best New Telework Initiative".

Under the CDC's "Telework Improvement Initiative", telework participation went from 18 percent of eligible employees to 30 percent during the last 12 months, all teleworkers and their managers participated in updated training, nearly 2,000 laptops were purchased by the agency to be used solely by teleworkers, and the list goes on.

As a result, according to the Telework Exchange, customer service levels "were preserved or improved," "tangible cost-savings" were realized by saving on needed space and equipment and overall operating budgets were able to be cut back.

CDC officials "credit their success to the involvement of all stakeholders in the planning and implementation of the telework program," including employees, supervisors, senior leadership, and organized labor groups.

Better balance comes with telework

Posted on: Monday 6/7/2010 2:09am

How many hours a week do you put in working before you start to notice that it's interfering with your personal life?

According to a study by Brigham Young University, if you're a teleworker with flexible hours, that point is 19 hours after your office-bound counterparts have called it a week.

Office workers said they noticed a conflict after 38 hours per week compared to teleworkers' 57 hours per week.

There is one hitch though.

Lead study author E. Jeffrey Hill, a professor in BYU's School of Family Life, notes "telecommuting is really only beneficial for reducing work-life conflict when it is accompanied by flextime."

The study looked at data from 24,436 IBM employees in 75 countries and also found telecommuting's benefits were apparent among both genders. "Men are as likely as women to use flexible work arrangements," Hill said.

The study, titled "Finding an Extra Day or Two," will appear in the June issue of the Journal of Family Psychology.

Homespun advice for the home office teleworker

Posted on: Monday 5/31/2010 7:10pm

When preparing to become a teleworker, says home office guru Cecelia Jernegan, "people don't realize that the biggest issue is limited social interaction. People that are working from home full time find it very difficult not to be in an office environment where there's a lot of social interaction!"

But, she told the Dorobek Insider, "when you are working from a home office, you're able to get things done quicker, faster, better and smarter because you don't have that social interaction. So it's kind of like a two edged sword!"

The real key to making teleworking work for you is to be results focused. Set goals. Find our from your manager what "is their goal for you to get accomplished. And then you've got to break it down."

As for best practices, she advises to adhere to a routine and dress for success. "If you feel professional, you're going to talk and speak professional!"

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