Facing a tough budgetary climate and mandates to reduce carbon emissions and real estate-related costs, Federal agencies are starting to get even more serious about “hoteling,” a concept that optimizes unused office space by allowing employees to “book” and occupy cubicles, offices, and conference rooms on an “as-needed” basis.
Telework and its ability to help organizations keep going during a crisis once again hit managerial consciousness in full force recently when Mother Nature smacked the East Coast with a one-two-three punch: an earthquake, a hurricane, and the rainy remnants of a slow-moving tropical depression. The calamities began on August 23, when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Virginia and rattled the surrounding region, from South Carolina to Ohio to Ontario. Many Federal employees in the Washington D.C. area were sent home after government buildings were evacuated and then closed while engineers inspected for damage.
More than 14 years ago, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) started a hoteling program with 18 trademark examining attorneys. When the agency prepared to move its headquarters to Alexandria, Va. it decided to expand the program in an effort to reduce space requirements and real estate costs. In order to support the expansion of the telework program, the agency has several innovative technology initiatives that have significantly enabled organization-wide telework adoption.
Telework Exchange will host the 10th Town Hall Meeting in October, just weeks before the first anniversary of enactment of theTelework Enhancement Act of 2010. This semi-annual event will bring together representatives from Federal agencies, academia, and industry partners to discuss the progress to date on public sector telework initiatives, as well as expectations for expanding options for the mobile workforce in GFY 2012 and beyond.
A column highlighting recent telework news.
Dr. Wendell Joice started his public service career as a psychologist, and that unique background in human behavior and motivation has gone a long way towards helping skeptical Federal executives understand and embrace how the flexibility and work/life balance inherent in telework actually can boost worker productivity and drive better daily and long-term results.