Computerworld - WASHINGTON -- Top managers are holding back the spread of telecommuting at some government agencies, several officials said during a panel discussion earlier this month.
For government agencies to fully realize the benefits of telecommuting, such top managers need to change their attitudes, said Wendell Joice, head of the U.S. General Services Administration's governmentwide telework team.
"We are hampered by constantly having to beg and plead," said Joice, speaking at a conference called Continuity of Operations Planning in the Federal Government and Industry: Enabling a Mobile Workforce in Times of Crisis. The event, held here, was sponsored by iPass Inc., RSA Security Inc. and research firm Input Inc.
Advocates of telecommuting said it can provide several benefits to employers, including the ability to continue operations during a national disaster or terrorist attack. Telecommuting can also help ease traffic problems in major cities, reduce pollution and increase worker productivity, advocates said.
Nonetheless, some managers remain unconvinced about such potential benefits and about their ability to adequately supervise teleworkers, said James Lewis, a senior fellow and director of the Technology and Public Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
"I don't want to dismiss the managers who have concerns here," he said. "What do we need to do to make them happy?"
For example, Lewis said, some of them have cited studies showing that potential savings from telework may not apply to government agencies, which have to give excess funding back to the federal general budget. He also noted that some government agency managers question studies suggesting that teleworkers are more productive.
Embracing telework doesn't have to be hard, said Jack Penkoske, director of manpower, personnel and security at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), which must move its base 28 miles from Northern Virginia to Fort Meade in Maryland under military base realignment plans. The agency is allowing more people to telecommute, but it would have done that with or without the move, he said.
The DISA plan aims to accommodate employees and boost recruitment of new workers, Penkoske said.
Gross is a reporter for the IDG News Service.
Read more about Government IT in Computerworld's Government IT Topic Center.
- Silicon Valley's 19 Coolest Places to Work
- Is Windows 8 Development Worth the Trouble?
- 8 Books Every IT Leader Should Read This Year
- 10 Hot Hadoop Startups to Watch
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
This state transportation department uses computer science students from a local university as programming interns, and everyone is happy with the arrangement -- until one intern learns how to bring down the mainframe.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Neustar 2014 DDoS Attacks and Impact Report
- For the third consecutive year, Neustar surveyed hundreds of companies on distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. The survey reveals evidence that the...
- Acxiom Case Study
- This case study, which focuses on Acxiom, explores how the company was able to secure employee data, reduce migration costs and boost productivity...
- Windows® XP Migration: Protect and Secure Critical Data
- With the end of the Microsoft Windows XP operating system's lifecycle on April 8, 2014, businesses are faced with the decision to migrate...
- Exponentially Accelerate Data Protection and Recovery with Simpana 10 IntelliSnap® Snapshot Management Technology
- Are you making the best use of your storage array snapshot functionality? CommVault Simpana 10 IntelliSnap technology manages hardware-based snapshots across multiple vendor... All Government IT White Papers
- Top 4 Digital Signage Fails Join RMG Networks for a look at four of the most common reasons digital signage fails in corporate businesses. Learn about strategies to...
- Building Tomorrow's Infrastructure Listen to this podcast to discover how Crider Foods worked with PC Connection to update their IT infrastructure, while maintaining compliance and control.
Enhance Your Virtualization Infrastructure With IBM and Vmware
Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Virtualization technology is now expanding beyond the server compute elements to encompass networking and storage...
Transforming Finance, Procurement and Supply Chain Effectiveness with Cross-Functional Analytics
Date: May 6th, 2014
Time: 1 PM EDT
Attend this Webcast to find out how Oracle's packaged analytic applications enable line-of-business managers to examine all...
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- All Government IT Webcasts