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Federal Employees News Digest : July 29, 2013
July 29, 2013 Vol. 63, No. 2 3 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com distances across states and countries. You can get great efficiency all around. Do you think that the new bill, H.R. 2643---which is Republican- sponsored---will gain Democratic sup- port, too, and become law? Auten: Oh, I think it could. Remember, Mobile Work Exchange is bipartisan---but so is backing for telework. The Telework Enhancement Act, which passed in 2010, was supported by both sides of the aisle. And [this new] bill is based on an exec- utive order—Executive Order 13589— which came out of this administration. The bill would take telework further than the executive order. We already have 32 co-sponsors for this legislation. And by slashing travel expenses, videoconferencing would become the solution? Auten: Yes, and here the bill really addresses a key area where agencies need support. Agencies are already saying: "My managers want to see their employ- ees, but how do we make this happen?" And right now most managers can't see their telework employees, and so many are reluctant to have people telework. But we hear great feedback from those agencies that have already built video- conferencing---they see the value in it. We are very optimistic [that videocon- ferencing] will grow, and will have a great and positive impact on agencies and their work. A recent Commuter Connections sur- vey shows show the portion of feds who telework---at least occasionally--- has leaped from 27 percent in 2010 to 38 percent this year. Are those figures about right? Auten: Yes. We're seeing several devel- opments. We're seeing an increase in federal employee telework eligibility [in part due to the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010], and an increase in the actual numbers of federal teleworkers. But, second, we're also seeing a number of other touchstones throughout the past year where we see telework's growth and actual impact. The recent [Washington, DC-area] Commuter Connections orga- nization report is an excellent bench- mark. We see similar results from other sources. Bottom line, there is a very strong focus on telework in the fed- eral government. Look at what we saw during [Mobile Work Exchange's March 2013] Telework Week---a jump in federal employee participation from 71,000 to 136,000 in one year. Next, in the coming months, we look forward to an Office of Personnel Management snapshot report on the number of teleworkers broken out by agency, specifically. So, what are a couple of the main rea- sons for this impressive growth? Auten: The overwhelming majority of pledge participants [especially those trying telework perhaps for the first time] in the federal government end up supporting greater telework. And they report finding no drop in productivity. That's both the end-user---the teleworker in their self-reporting---but also agencies report the same finding. What's the next big push for Mobile Work Exchange? Auten: We are working with a number of federal agencies to develop a new "telework toolkit." We already have a toolkit---an online calculator---for end- users, that shows them how much their commute is costing them and how much time and money they can save through telework. Our new tool is similar, but it's for agencies. It shows savings and ben- efits to agencies in the areas of business continuity [in storms and emergencies], utility savings, real estate savings, trans- portation subsidies, and environmen- tal benefits for everyone. The toolkit is just another piece of the call to action that is the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010---which is driving agencies to examine the value that telework can become, from an enterprise standpoint. We should have the new toolkit ready for agencies to use by September. Anything else on the state of telework in the federal government? Auten: This is a cultural transition. It takes time to ensure that the right pro- grams are in place---so that you don't end up in the Yahoo situation, in which internet giant Yahoo temporarily scaled back telework. It comes down to: Does your manager trust you to do the work? But also: Does your manager know how to measure your work? If you think about it, the federal government is over time really getting these issues right. They are being very deliberate in their strategy. They saw there was a manage- ment issue---that managers and employ- ees need training in telework---and the government enacted the Telework Enhancement Act to deal with this issue. Hiring bill favors reservists, guard A bill introduced in the Senate would give qualified military reservists hiring preference for civil service jobs. Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) co-sponsored legislation---the Military Reserve Jobs Act (S. 1320)---that would give qualified reserve components (for example, those who have completed basic training and committed to six consecutive years of service) tiered hir- ing preference for federal jobs. "Members of our reserve components 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 4
July 22, 2013
Aug 5, 2013