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Posted on: Friday 5/21/2010 4:48pm
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.
Posted on: Monday 5/17/2010 10:27am
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.
Posted on: Sunday 5/2/2010 11:41pm
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 http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RL34516_20100330.pdf
Posted on: Monday 4/19/2010 2:27am
"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.
Posted on: Friday 4/9/2010 6:48pm
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.
Posted on: Monday 4/5/2010 1:11am
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.
Posted on: Monday 3/29/2010 12:11am
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...
Posted on: Monday 3/22/2010 12:57am
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.
Posted on: Friday 3/12/2010 5:31pm
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.
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
- Conference rooms (most with video/web conferencing)
- 24-hour secured client access
- Accessible to persons with disabilities
Posted on: Friday 3/5/2010 3:42pm
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.