Federal Telework Outpaces Private Sector
According to the national survey of Federal government and private-sector employees, telework adoption continues to accelerate in the Federal government and outpaces private-sector adoption by a three-to-one margin.
Forty-four percent of Federal employee respondents to the survey indicate that they have the option to telework – up 6 percent from 2006 – while just 15 percent of private-sector employee respondents have that option. During the past year, telework growth in the Federal government also outpaced the private sector: 35 percent of Federal teleworkers started teleworking, compared to 10 percent of private-sector teleworkers. The survey, released by CDW Government, Inc. (CDW-G), also finds that Federal IT departments are stepping up support for teleworkers. Forty-two percent of responding Federal IT professionals report that their agency started or expanded its telework program in the last year, and that 62 percent of Federal agencies now have written IT policies for telework in place compared to 46 percent last year. Support for private-sector teleworkers lags well behind, with just 25 percent of private-sector IT professional respondents indicating a new or expanded program in the last year, and that just 40 percent of private-sector organizations currently have written telework policies in place.
“Federal agencies have made a strong and growing commitment to meeting the government’s mandated telework requirements,” said Andy Lausch, director of Federal sales for CDW-G. “The year-over-year progress for both employees and IT professionals underscores that agencies are taking the requirement and the benefits of implementation seriously. The real surprise is the gap between the Federal government and the private sector, where agencies are simply doing a better job of identifying teleworkers and supporting them appropriately.”
With broad adoption of effective telework policies by both the public and private sectors, the United States could significantly decrease traffic and pollution in congested cities and improve employee recruitment and retention by enabling a better work-life balance. Further, broad telework adoption could ensure the continuity of government operations in the aftermath of a major catastrophe, or even for the duration of a minor disruptive event, such as a snowstorm.
In fact, teleworkers are more likely to be able to work in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. In the Federal government, 87 percent of current teleworking respondents said they could continue to work via telework in the case of a displacing event, compared to 66 percent of non-teleworking respondents. In the private sector, however, that gap increases substantially. Though 74 percent of private-sector teleworking respondents said that they could continue working via telework, just 28 percent of non-teleworking respondents could continue. Given that fewer private-sector employees telework, just 33 percent of private-sector respondents overall state that they would be able to continue to work via telework if their office were closed due to some event.
“The private sector is lagging when it comes to allowing employees to telework,” said Ken Grimsley, vice president of strategic sales for CDW Corporation. “Executive decision makers need to better understand the importance of having a telework program – such as ensuring the ability to operate during a storm, pandemic or other disaster. Add in other benefits such as employee availability and retention, as well as potential cost savings, and the benefits can quickly outweigh the costs.”
The only concurrent survey of both end-user employees and the Information Technology (IT) professionals that support them, the 2007 CDW-G Telework Report surveyed nearly 2,200 Federal government and private-sector employees and IT professionals nationwide. Federal respondents include 557 Federal employees and 355 Federal IT professionals returning results with a ±4 percent and ±5 percent margin of error respectively. Private-sector respondents include 880 national employees and 405 IT professionals returning results with a ±3 percent and ±5 percent margin of error respectively.
Other data points in the report include:
· Federal and private-sector interest in telework
· Top IT professional concerns about telework
· Current and planned telework security solutions
· Current and planned telework collaboration solutions
· Technical support solutions
· Office vs. home PC use
For more information on the third annual CDW-G Telework Report or to download a copy, please visit www.cdwg.com/telework.