This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

April 12, 2006

Government Telework Increasing

The movement toward telecommuting has momentum in the private sector. However, the public sector has been relatively resistant to permitting telework. Respondents to a survey of government workers last year revealed that only 19 percent were able to telework for part or all of their jobs. Now, the numbers are up substantially, with 41 percent of responding Federal employees indicating that they currently telework. This report comes from CDW Government, Inc, a leading source of Information Technology (IT) solutions for governments and educators.

This change is driven by the government’s need to compete more aggressively to attract and hold top talent. The CDW report shows that information technology professionals in the federal sector have significantly expanded technical support for telework initiatives over the past year. Thirty-two percent of surveyed Federal IT professionals indicated that their agency has started or expanded a telework program in the last year. Twenty-eight percent of the same respondents believes that their agency provides IT support to 100 percent of eligible teleworkers---up from just 5 percent of respondents in 2005.

Information security is cited as the single most significant inhibitor for broader telework adoption in 2006, as it was in 2005. Fifty-three percent of Federal IT professionals feel that information security is the primary challenge associated with telework, with other issues lagging far behind.

Advantages to telecommuting that emerged from the study are consistent with those seen in the private sector. A major concern is employee satisfaction. Results show that 91 percent of Federal employees with the option to telework are either very satisfied or satisfied with their current jobs, compared to 80 percent of Federal employees without the option to telework. This metric is highly significant when striving to retain people who have employment choices. Equally important is employee desire for flexibility.

Federal employees cite the elimination of their commute (80 percent) and an improvement in work flexibility (68 percent) as the primary reasons for preferring telework. Of Federal employees that do not telework, 84 percent would telework if allowed to. This issue will be huge for federal managers in the next few years.


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