Group tries to spur telework

A group of technology vendors and U.S. government technology leaders recently launched an effort to encourage federal employees to telework. The Telework Exchange, announced at the FOSE government IT show in Washington, D.C., comes on the heels of a survey published in January that showed nearly two-thirds of U.S. government workers haven't been allowed to telework even though the U.S. Congress has established penalties for agencies that don't have telework options.

CDW Government (CDW-G ), which released the survey, founded the Telework Exchange with Intel, Citrix and Juniper Networks. Since the survey was published, CDW-G has found only a 1% increase in the number of federal workers teleworking. Telecommuting is especially attractive in the Washington, D.C., area as a way to avoid traffic and reduce pollution. Increased teleworking also can help government agencies attract workers and operate in times of security threats, says Karen Evans, administrator of the Office of the Electronic Government and Information Technology at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB)."We want to eliminate the telework gridlock," she adds.

The Telework Exchange will include an advisory board with congressional, OMB and industry representatives. "The objective is to . . . move teleworking into the fast lane," says Stephen O'Keeffe, executive director.

Gross is a correspondent with the IDG News Service.

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