President’s Corner

TelCoa thanks U.S. Representatives Jim Himes, Rosa DeLauro, and Elizabeth Esty for introducing the Multi-State Worker Tax Fairness Act, H.R. 4085, 113th Congress.

We strongly support this crucial legislation. The bill would finally eliminate the telecommuter tax, a steep penalty often resulting in double taxation of income that interstate telecommuters earn at home. The telecommuter tax unfairly burdens telecommuters and their employers and limits telework adoption. Congress must make the Multi-State Worker Tax Fairness Act law!

TelCoa and other advocates are working to secure the bill’s enactment, but we need your help!

>>> Read More...

Guest Columnist

4 Great Examples of Telework’s Impact

by: Brie Weiler Reynolds

As champions of telecommuting and flexible work options for all, we certainly don’t have to tell TelCoa readers about the benefits of telework--we all know and love them. But as organizations like ours work to spread awareness of, and support for, flexible ways of working, it’s really important to remember the individuals for whom we work--the millions of professionals whose lives would be positively impacted by more access to telework and flexible jobs.

At 1 Million for Work Flexibility, we hear daily from supporters about why they support the expansion of flexible work options for all. Here are four great examples of why work flexibility, including telework, is vitally important to individuals, to companies, and to society.

>>> Read the entire blog at...

Hot Topics & Links

"Working from home not for everyone, but it can still be a 'win-win' for many workers and employers" is an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer featuring TelCoa President Chuck Wilsker and Advisory Board member Diane Stegmeier.

For the complete article,
> click-here...

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Federal Government

 

Virtual Office Failing

By Marion Overholt, The Windsor Star, February 29, 2012

Communications with Service Canada’s employment insurance has suffered connecting difficulties.  Over 9000 complaints to Parliament indicate that the unemployed spend hours on hold and the key remedy is the direct creation of jobs.

(Ed. Note:  This is a call handling discussion – Canada could have more people available to take the calls.  However, a work at home agent solution improves customer satisfaction through a 22% increase in agent productivity.  That is the fastest path to offer relief for those needing unemployment benefits.  A ‘Face-to-Face Solution’ will not provide near term relief and would be unnecessarily expensive to implement.  ‘Face-to-Face’ would also exasperate traffic congestion, expenses to both the unemployed and the nation, and only increase the frustration of waiting in queue ‘at the office’…)

Click here for article

Connecticut senators propose ending double
tax penalty for telecommuters

By Pete Kasperowicz

Lieberman and Blumenthal’s have introduced the Telecommuter Tax Fairness Act S1811 Bill.  It encourages Telecommuting by eliminating double taxation.
11/08/11

For entire article click here

AMA Survey Participants Say Telework Enhancement Act Has Not Changed Training Priorities for Their Government Agencies

Most Don’t Expect to Increase Training in FY12, According to AMA Survey

ARLINGTON, VA – August 17, 2011 – Government professionals responding to a recent informal survey from American Management Association (AMA) said that the Telework Enhancement Act has not impacted their training priorities (88.7%): leadership development is still the top priority for both FY11 and FY12. A solid majority, 86.8%, said they have not built in increased training to accommodate the Telework Enhancement Act for their FY12 budget.

Click here to read the entire article. 

 

GSA Soon to Charge Employees for Parking

July 27, 2011 Written by Ross Wilkers

Effective Aug. 1, the General Services Administration will charge its employees for parking at federal office buildings and GSA-leased buildings in the National Capital Region.

Click here for entire article

 

DISA Touts Telework in Ft. Meade Move

MAY 20, 2011, By Bittany Ballenstedt, Nextgov.com

This summer, more than 4,700 workers at the Defense Information Systems Agency will be relocating from Northern Virginia to the agency’s new location in Ft. Meade, Md. But thanks to telework, many of them will not have to up and move their families in exchange for a shorter commute.

Jack Penkoske, director of manpower, personnel and security at DISA, told Wired Workplace on Thursday that DISA’s decision to move to Ft. Meade meant that 75 percent of DISA’s workforce living in Northern Virginia faced lengthy commutes. Retaining those employees was key, he said, so the agency looked to its already robust telework program.

Click here to read the entire article.

 

 

 

April 20, 2011 ~ U.S.  OPM releases their “Guide to Telework in the Federal Government” with the tag line: ‘a New Day for Federal Service’.  This Forty one page document addresses many why’s, how’s, accommodations, agreements, eligibilities, obligations, reporting, responsibilities, safety, scheduling, training, and related issues.

To read the article, click here.

To read the guide, click here.

 

 

Veterans Affairs, AFGE Reach Agreement on New Union Contract

Mar 19, 2011 (Veterans Affairs Department Documents) –WASHINGTON — Officials of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) have reached final agreement on a new national collective bargaining agreement, their first since 1997. This contract will enhance VA’s partnership with the union, change the rules for teleworking and expand the use of e-mail in labor-management relations.

“This new agreement reflects VA’s commitment to collaborate with an important labor partner,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “The outcome will be a more highly motivated, more effective workforce serving our Nation’s Veterans.” About 204,000 of VA’s 315,000 employees are eligible for AFGE membership, with another 23,000 employees eligible for membership in four other unions.

Secretary Shinseki approved the contract on March 15. The complete labor agreement will be signed soon by Shinseki, AFGE leadership and the VA and AFGE members of the bargaining teams at an internal event that will be broadcast at VA facilities around the country.Among the provisions of the contract are:

  • Enhanced collaboration with union officials on work-related issues;
  • Expansion of teleworking among employees, including clarification of rules governing telework; and
  • Increased reliance upon e-mails and new technology in labor-management communications and processes.

VA is the second largest cabinet office in the country in terms of workforce. VA employees operate 153 major medical centers, about 1,200 other sites of health care, manage a nationwide system of 131 national cemeteries, and administer about $75 billion in disability compensation, Veterans pensions, educational benefits, home loan guarantees, life insurance and other financial programs.

 

 

Telework Options Really Satisfy

March 9, 2011 By David Perera, Fiercegovernmentit.com

The happiest federal employees aren’t necessarily teleworkers, but those who can telework but chose not to, says the Partnership for Public Service.

In a brief analysis dated March 7, the PPS examines data from the Office of Personnel’s Management annual survey of the best places to work in the federal government. It finds that although regular or infrequent teleworkers have higher job satisfaction than employees who can’t telework, the people with the highest overall job satisfaction score came from those employees who chose not to telework.

 

 

Bring Your Own Telework Tools

March 7, 2011 , Federalnewsradio.com

In the near future, federal employees could forego a work phone and laptop and do all their work on their personal technology.

Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra said he wants to move toward giving feds a subsidy of $2,000 to purchase their own devices to work on.

Many federal employees have better technology at home than at the office, Kundra said at an AFCEA discussion on the federal budget. But making it reality could be challenging, especially on the cybersecurity front.

Ed Meagher, former CIO at the Interior Department, says it’s “an idea whose time has come,” despite those challenges.

Meagher, now vice president for healthcare strategy in CSC’s North American Public Sector Group, said there are challenges now. The compatability issues are just a similar horse with a different color. In the end, Meagher told Federal News Radio, “I think the business case will be made.”

The key to the success of the idea, said Meagher, is to do it now. “We’d better quickly get over ourselves and figure out how we do it today and how we will do it in the future. It’s not a matter of should we do this, it’s a matter now I think of how we do it.”

 

 

D.C. area telework centers close as GSA ends funding

March 1, 2011
The General Services Administration is defunding more than a dozen D.C. area telework centers, forcing half to close and the rest to continue operating under a private-sector model.

The telecenters offered a workplace closer to people’s homes without having to commute to their assigned offices.  The centers cost about $3 million a year to operate…

…at best, they were  ‘halfway houses’ that only partially reduced congestion, energy use, and air pollution, while diverting attention from the many greater benefits of more formal full time work at home program.

 

 

Six ingredients to telework success

February 17, 2011, Ron Sanders, Senior Executive Advisor, Booz Allen Hamilton, as quoted on Federalnewsradio.com

You’ve probably heard plenty of talk about teleworking, especially this week being Telework Week.

But how does all the talk become a reality at your agency?

Telework in government has moved at a “glacial” speed,” said Ron Sanders, senior executive advisor at Booz Allen Hamilton and former chief human capital officer of the intelligence community, in an interview with the DorobekINSIDER.

While 62 percent of federal employees are eligible to work remotely, less than 6 percent of all full-time feds telework even one day a month, found a July 2010 report by Booz Allen and the Partnership for Public Service.

The barriers to teleworking are nine-tenths cultural and one-tenth technological, Sanders said.

Sanders outlined “six ingredients to the recipe for telework success”:

  1. Design a telework policy and program that includes implementation and evaluation. Typically the agency’s human capital office will oversee this step.
  2. Train managers on soft skills, with an emphasis on managing in a distributed workplace.
  3. Emphasize performance management (rather than attendance).
  4. Change management strategic communications.
  5. Incorporate other departments beyond human capital in contingency plans.
  6. Incorporate network and data security personnel.

As federal agencies feel the potential sting of budget cuts, telework options become a powerful tool to keep the best and brightest in government jobs.

“In an era of the ice age — hiring freeze, pay freezes things like that — this becomes an important retention strategy,” Sanders said.

With the passage of the Telework Enhancement Act late last year, Sanders said he is hopeful of a “sea change” in government’s implementation of telework.

 

 

Patent and Trademark CIO Shares Teleworking Best Practices

December 22, 2010,  Jack Moore, ExecutiveGov.com

So now that telework is a done deal, with President Barack Obama having signed the Telework Improvement Act just a few weeks ago, many agencies now wonder how to best implement it smartly into the workplace.

Some critics of the initial legislation feared it would be a costly endeavor, creating an expensive new layer of needed technology.

But, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, known for its good ideas, says “not so fast,” to the naysayers.

Click here to read the entire article.

 

 

Practical Analysis: A New ‘ERA’ Of Telework

Departments can use federal agency’s remote-access portal to get teleworkers up and running for a fraction of what it would cost to provide them with new gear.

December 21, 2010, Informationweek.com

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is all about good ideas. One area where we’ve taken a leadership role is in enabling cost-effective telework by letting employees use their own hardware to connect to their office desktops.

The cost: $105 per employee versus the $2,800 it would cost to supply each individual with gear. We provide authorization, training, a SecurID token for VPN access, and collaboration tools, including video, voice, chat, whiteboard, and document sharing.

Click here to read the entire article.

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