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Federal Employees News Digest : May 6, 2013
Phil Piemonte, Managing Editor E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org What's Inside44 May 06, 2013 • Vol. 62, No. 40 Trends emerge from latest telework event More than 112,000 federal employees participated in an annual teleworking event this March---representing a year-over-year increase of 66 percent compared with 2012, according to the organizer of the event. The third annual Telework Week spon- sored by the Mobile Work Exchange (a public- private partnership formerly called Telework Exchange) reached out this year beyond the federal community alone, boosting the total number of pledges to more than 136,000. According to a report released last week by the organization, this year's event saved par- ticipants more than 15 million miles of com- muting distance---which translates to around $12.3 million in savings, and 7,892 fewer tons of pollutants released into the atmosphere. For feds specifically, the savings were calcu- lated at over 10.1 million miles avoided, close to $8.4 million saved, and some 5,000-plus fewer tons of pollutants created. These significant savings reportedly did not cause any loss in productivity, according to part of the report, a survey of managers. Forty-eight percent of managers surveyed said their participating employees were "equally productive" during Telework Week, while 52 percent reported they were "more productive." Employees were even more enthusiastic, with about 75 percent reporting "increased productivity while telecommuting." In fact, employee desire for at least some telework in the wake of the event was such that two out of three participants reported they will give preference to jobs that offer telework, and 84 percent said the event made them "more likely to telework in the future." There was added good news in the fed com- munity in that 81 percent of feds who partici- pated in the event reported they didn't encoun- ter any "challenges" to their participation. The most often used tools reported by participants were laptops (nine out of 10 used them), with a VPN (virtual private net- work) (about six in 10), and/or a smartphone (around three in 10). In one interesting if predictable trend, along with the growing use of mobile devices, the use of virtual desktops was down slightly since last year. overall growth in telecommuting Telework Week is an annual five-day affair (this year it ran from March 4 to March 8) geared at raising publicity and awareness of the massive savings in energy, pollution and dollars telecommuting generates. Telework Week---and other factors---appear to be hav- ing an effect that lasts through the year. The number of feds who report regularly telework- ing is rising---and sharply. Participation in the event was marked at some agencies. For example, at the Agriculture Department, participation rose from 7,516 pledges in 2012 to 9,760 this year, reporting a savings of $1.1 million in com- muting costs saved. At the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 3,300 pledges par- ticipated, with $290,130 saved. And at the Department of Health and Human Services, 10,700 participated with an estimated $1 mil- lion in commuter cost savings. According to Cindy Auten, general man- ager of the Mobile Work Exchange, this year's figures reflect another verifiable upward trend which she believes is significant: The number of federal Telework Week participants who Dire straits ... or not To hear pandering politicians and crisis- junkie analysts tell it, everybody who is anybody is talking about the impact of sequestration on the nation's economy, morale and economic coverage. They believe or say it is the topic du jour almost every- where. Maybe so, maybe not. As a fed, retiree or government contractor, you prob- ably know a lot more about sequestration than your non-fed friends, neighbors and relatives. Which begs this question: Who knows the most about, and best understands the sequestration process? Is it: A) A Washington-insider, policy-wonk political junkie who spends most of his/ her waking hours watching Congress, the White House and the 24/7 cable news political process. B) A Bolivian tin miner who has just emerged into the brilliant, life-giving sunlight, fresh air and freedom after being trapped at the bottom of the mine for three months. C) The average guy (or gal) on the street. Somebody who works and pays taxes but has no direct contact with the government, aside from getting mail and paying taxes. You have 30 seconds to decide. Think carefully. The correct answer, of course, is B. The totally out of touch miner who was until recently as isolated and ignorant of current events as an astronaut trapped on the dark side of the Moon. With something as com- INSIGHT BY MIKE CAUSEY continued on page 2 For more news...see Federal Daily at www.FederalDaily.com • HUD announces consolidation plan 3 • Senators want backlog remedy 5 • In Brief 5 • Informed Investor 7 • Federal Benefits Q&A 8 continued on page 3
April 29, 2013
May 13, 2013