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Federal Employees News Digest : May 6, 2013
May 6, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 40 3 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com report they also are already in a formal federal telework program rose by 18 percentage points just since 2012---from 69 percent to 87 percent. "Last year, 56 percent of participants said they were teleworking at least one day a week," Auten told FEND. "The number teleworking that fre- quently had jumped to 64 percent this year. So what you're looking at is not just growth toward more participation but more frequency." "We're getting fewer first-timers and ad hoc participants. There are simply more tele- workers each year," Auten concluded. Unfortunately, a recent, official, updat- ed government figure on the numbers of feds who telework is currently not available, according to Auten---but it is about to be updated for the first time in years. "The numbers we have from OPM right now are a little old---from 2010 and 2011," Auten told FEND. "But they are going to release their new numbers this June, and we expect this report, like our event, to show really strong growth in the number of feds who telework." "The bottom line is we now have participation from over 200 agencies," Auten said. "When we first started Telework Exchange around a decade ago the community was unbelievably small. Now I can't think of an agency that doesn't have some part of this with us." Drivers of telework From the employee's perspective, many factors figure in---including fuel and other cost savings, convenience, greater productiv- ity, among others---but Auten put one factor highest, at least in her recent observations. "We hear a really critical factor is work-life balance," Auten said. "It's now an interesting fact that so many employees won't even consider a job without telework. Once people get telework, they don't want to give it up---and they show it by not moving from job to job unless it is avail- able in their possible next position, too." The reasons cited by management par- ticipants for the growing push to promote telework represent a full range of the practice's advantages---workload tracking, productiv- ity output increases, reductions in real estate needed and corresponding cost savings---and of course, savings on commuting costs. According to the report, approximately 46 percent of participants said that their organiza- tion---both federal and non-federal---was pro- moting telework in 2011. This year, fully 63 per- cent reported this phenomenon. About 60 per- cent of 2011 participants said their management team was becoming more open to telework; this year the corresponding figure is 66 percent. In one area ripe for improvement, the report says that of the organizations Mobile Work Exchange surveyed, fully 92 percent state they "actively support and encourage telework." But only 11 percent say they have a "bring your own device" policy in place---a policy often very popular with employees for simplifying connectivity with their work from home or other telecommuting location. As one employ- ee in the report put it simply, "I would love to have a BYOD phone so that I only have to carry one smartphone instead of two." "The technology is growing so fast, we are working a lot on various areas: How does your agency keep up, stay secure and control costs--- we want to help do all of this the right way," Auten told FEND. "For instance, another area to improve would be speeding up how long it takes agencies to get a new mobile device ramped up for their system---now, that can be six to nine months, leaving a device a dinosaur by the time it's online. We are trying to get that down to 30 days. It's a critical focus at all agencies now---the rapid deployment of technology." "I think we're really getting there on telework---all the savings, and the environ- mental benefits, but also we're facing chal- lenges," Auten said. See the full report at: www.mobilework- exchange.com/uploads/2000/1568-2013_ Mobile_Work_Exchange_Telework_Week_ Report_FINAL.pdf. HUD announces consolidation plan The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a restructuring plan that will affect about a tenth of its workforce. The changes will affect HUD's Office of Multifamily Housing Programs (MHP) and Office of Field Policy and Management (FPM). The department said the consolida- tion of MHP hubs around the country and FPM's closing of 16 of its 80 field offices will affect about 900 of HUD's 9,000 employees. "Throughout implementation, HUD lead- ership will work on an ongoing basis to ensure employees are fully informed, and that all notification requirements for both union and non-union workers are satisfied," HUD said in a statement. "Every affected employee will be offered the opportunity to continue working for HUD, though in some cases in a new location or role." The small offices that are closing under the FPM restructuring plan are located in Cincinnati; Camden, N.J.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Orlando and Tampa, Fla.; Springfield, Ill.; Flint and Grand Rapids, Mich.; Shreveport, La.; Lubbock and Dallas, Texas; Tucson, Ariz.; Fresno, Sacramento and San Diego, Calif.; and Spokane, Wash. HUD said it will keep at least one office in each state, but that several larger states will keep more than one---California, Texas and New York will have three each, and Florida and Ohio two each. HUD estimates trimming the number of field offices---which will affect about 120 employees---will save the department between $110 million and $150 million over 10 years. Those closures will be completed early in fiscal 2014, HUD said. MHP will consolidate field employees who currently work in 50 offices around the country into 10 offices that will report to five "hubs" that will be located in New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Fort Worth, Texas; and San Francisco, with satellite offices in Boston, Jacksonville, Fla.; Detroit, Kansas City, Mo.; and Denver. That restructuring plan is slated to begin this fall and be fully implemented by 2016, HUD said. HUD estimates that the consolidation and reorganization of MHP will save $40 million to $45 million per year when complete. HUD Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones said the department's current organizational model "is not sustainable from a financial and a service delivery point of view." "We are reviewing every aspect of our oper- ation to determine if we have the right people in the right places and we're determining where we can be even more efficient, to get the most value out of our limited resources," Jones said. "We're in a different budget environment and we're at a point where we must make some extremely tough choices." continued from page 1 Don’t miss our discussion of weekly news topics. Discuss these stories and more with your fellow federal workers at www.FederalSoup.com. continued on page 5
April 29, 2013
May 13, 2013