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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

Telework caught in a crossfire

Posted on: Friday 5/21/2010 4:48pm

An identical amendment establishing a pilot program at the Patent and Trademark Office in two different committees has reportedly brought the 2010 Telework Enhancement Act (S. 707) to a screeching halt.

Under an amendment, PTO would reimburse telework employees for expenses incurred when they were required to travel to headquarters. The program would affect more two thousand patent employees, mostly in the work-at-home program.

It was offered by Sen. Tom Coburn, (R-Okla.) and approved by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. GovExec reports Coburn "offered an identical amendment to a patent reform bill" before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

So essentially, one amendment, two committees.

That's enough for the chair of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy, (D-Vt.) to put a hold on the Telework bill.

GovExec reports a Senate staffer said "supporters of the bill have turned to Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for help" to get it moving again.

Telework in the real world

Posted on: Monday 5/17/2010 10:27am

Statements like: "We got clear signs from OPM that we may never have another official snow day again in Washington" may grab the attention, but it will take more than an option during a "thirty year" storm to make telework work.

Jon Desenberg, policy director for the Performance Management and Human Capital Management Divisions at The Performance Institute, also explains the benefits for the day-in, day-out teleworker.

Gallup has done a lot of studies on what keeps employees engaged and motivated, and a lot of what they have found is it's the goal setting, it's the informal feedback almost on a daily basis between employees and their supervisors that creates an engaged workforce.

And that engagement is just as strong at home and sometimes even stronger because, A-number-one, people aren't stuck in the traffic that is really, literally harming people's health. Let's not under-estimate: sitting in traffic is stressful and can be the worst part of people's day and by the time they get to work, they're already exhausted! So that's number one.

Number two, what we found is people continue to work... in the evenings, on weekends and it becomes a much more fluid environment.

How to tell telework bills apart

Posted on: Sunday 5/2/2010 11:41pm

There are currently two bills in Congress to "enhance telework in the Executive Branch" and telling them apart can be difficult, if not impossible, for the casual observer.

So the Congressional Research Service has put together a sort of scorecard to help.

The Telework for Executive Branch Employees: A Side-by-Side Comparison of Legislation Pending in the 111th Congress compares and contrasts S. 707, the Telework Enhancement Act of 2009, and H.R. 1722, the Telework Improvements Act of 2010.

For example, both bills "would require the heads of executive branch agencies to establish policies" for telework "within 180 days after enactment of the act (Senate bill) or within one year after the enactment of the new Chapter 65 of Title 5 United States Code (House bill)."

One of the biggest differences is that the Senate version "would authorize test programs for telework travel expenses" while the House version makes no mention of it.

For more, you can find a pdf version of the report from the CBO at

GSA lays out telework strategy

Posted on: Monday 4/19/2010 2:27am

As much as the agency was able to accomplish during the snow-related shutdowns earlier this year, GSA's chief information officer Casey Coleman saw areas that need improvement.

"It wasn't seamless. The infrastructure team -- my folks -- spent a lot of their time making sure that we were load balancing. We want to take that to the next level and add capacity so that, if it happens again, there's not a moment's hesitation -- everyone can be teleworking."

At this year's IRMCO conference sponsored by GSA, Coleman said the agency has started the process of implementing 'phase 1' of a telework plan, which involves focusing on changing some foundational elements of GSA's infrastructure, rolling out VoIP and using HSPD-12 cards to access GSA's internal networks.

Coleman said the first phase should be completed by July 4.

OPM shuts down office and opens telework horizons

Posted on: Friday 4/9/2010 6:48pm

Four hundred Office of Personnel Management employees now decide where and when they work, as long as they meet high performance standards.

As part of a pilot program, the test group is from OPM's headquarters in Washington and field offices in Pittsburgh and Boyers, Pa.

The Pittsburgh facility is a call center, ideal for the pilot. According to Justin Johnson, deputy chief of staff at OPM, five employees regularly come into the center, while 21 others telework full time.

Government Executive magazine reports the five "have agreed to work from home permanently so OPM can close the office," saving OPM more than more than $200,000 a year in rent and utilities.

The funds can then, according Johnson, be invested back into telework technology.

Johnson spoke at town hall meeting sponsored by the Telework Exchange.

Telework and the West Wing

Posted on: Monday 4/5/2010 1:11am

When President George Bush was in office, he once noted he had no problem making it into the office early, saying "it's not a very long commute."

The current President knows not everyone's commute is that easy, and as the Chief Executive, he's leading the way in federal telework.

A recent report by the President's Council of Economic Advisors on "Work-Life Balance and the Economics of Workplace Flexibility" included this information about "Telecommuting and the Executive Office of the President".

Over the past several years, the EOP has increasingly used technology as a way of meeting the growing demands for flexibility of its employees. For several years, most EOP employees have used wireless devices to stay connected while off site, and recently, the EOP has begun a transition to full remote access. To date, more than half of all EOP employees have been issued secure mobile workstation laptops, and all employees can connect to the network through the internet from any computer in the continental United States.

This flexibility also allows staff to access their official files from remote locations, helping employees balance work and family responsibilities. For example, some employees can leave work early to spend time with their children and work remotely in the evening. In addition, this technology helps the government operate effectively during emergency situations.

To read the rest of the information about telecommuting in the White House, click here and scroll down to Box 2.

Teleworking and the Bizarro-fed

Posted on: Monday 3/29/2010 12:11am

Imagine a federal workplace where everyone got bonuses, unless the bosses filled out paperwork explaining why they weren't deserved. Or where everyone was considered to be eligible for telework unless it could be shown why the position didn't fit the rules. Or where you automatically get a dessert with every meal in the cafeteria, and had to get a refund if you didn't want it.

Now guess which one has a shot at happening first.

Two bills currently in Congress would "require that all federal workers be considered eligible for telework unless the agency shows they are ineligible."

OPM Director John Berry recently informed a House subcommittee he had asked his "staff to go back and work with our lawyers, if we can do that," said Berry. "Flip the presumption, so that I wonder if through regulation we can say that everybody is presumed to be eligible for telework rather than having to be designated for telework. And that way agencies could designate employees who wouldn't be eligible for telework. In other words, kind of flip it around from what it is now."

Now for that dessert idea...

Berry taking the option out of telework

Posted on: Monday 3/22/2010 12:57am

Any notion any federal manager may have had about telework being an option is about to be wiped out.

Speaking to the Federal Managers Association's convention in Crystal City, Virginia earlier this month, OPM Director John Berry made it clear that making telework work is a priority.

Wouldn't that be cool if rather than saying "the federal government is closed today," we could say "the federal government is on a mobile workday and make sure you take your computer home tomorrow because we need you to work from home." That sends an entirely different message to the taxpayer. And we can maintain the Continuity of Operations.

Now, you all know, in this day and age, it's not just snow that can close us down. A dirty bomb could go off in Lafayette Park at 10 o'clock this morning. God forbid. But if it does, probably about 15 federal office buildings are going to be (un)inhabitable for months, if not years.

Well, we can't just say "we're not going to do that anymore." We're the government of the United States, by God, and we have a responsibility to keep our operations up and running. And so it's incumbent on us as managers to solve whatever the stumbling blocks or the speed bumps on this are, so we can make this work.

How to get started teleworking

Posted on: Friday 3/12/2010 5:31pm

So you say you're ready to give telework a try?

The GSA has some tips for getting started.

1) Get to know your agency Telework Coordinator. Be sure to ask about any agency-specific procedures.

2) Figure out which telework center will work best for you. There are fourteen.

3) Once you've made your selection, you'll need to call the one you picked and ask the director about availability of space and if there's any special information about that center you need to know.

4) Register through the Telework OnLine Billing System (TOLBS). "Also keep in mind," says GSA, "all supervisors and certifying officials must also sign up in TOLBS."

When you're all set, here's what GSA you can expect to find at a telework center when you start:

  • Current computer technologies
  • Secure server with back-up systems
  • High speed internet connectivity
  • E-mail and file transfer capabilities
  • Standard office software
  • Laser and color printers
  • Digital phone systems with voicemail
  • Fax, scanner, and copy equipment
  • On-site technical support
  • Lockable personal storage
  • Kitchenette
  • Conference rooms (most with video/web conferencing)
  • 24-hour secured client access
  • Accessible to persons with disabilities

Teleworkforce by the numbers

Posted on: Friday 3/5/2010 3:42pm

Looking at Home-Based Workers in the United States: 1999-2005, the US Census Bureau has captured the statistical essence of who is teleworking.

Using data from 2005, Census found that "an increasing percentage of the workforce is spending at least some time working from home."

Teleworkers were nearly evenly split across gender, with 51 percent female.

Slightly more than half were between the ages of 35 and 54.

The group was overwhelmingly "white non-Hispanic" (82%) and nearly 80% had "some college" or more.

Census also found they made more money than non-teleworkers, but they also worked longer hours. "About 11 percent of those who worked at home for some or all of their workweek reported working 11 or more hours in a typical day in 2005," according to Census, while only "about 7 percent of workers who worked outside the home reported doing so."

More than half were married and a whopping 83.5% lived in a "metropolitan" area.

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