93% of federal employees value telecommuting, survey says

Nine in 10 federal employees say that the ability to telecommute would make working for an organization more reliable, according to a recent survey.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

Nine in 10 federal employees say that the ability to telework -- that is, work remotely, or "telecommute" -- would make working for an organization more desirable, according to a recent survey.

In a June study by government business outlet FedScoop, the vast majority of federal workers surveyed said that telecommuting would save them time and money.

Here's the rundown:

  • 46% said telework means more time spent with family.
  • 69% said it would boost productivity.
  • 70% said it would save them money.
  • 71% said it would decrease their carbon footprint.
  • 76% said it would improve overall quality of life.
  • 84% said it would save them time.
  • 93% said it would make working for an organization more desirable.

The respondents polled were IT executives from both private and public companies in the Washington, D.C. metro area. It should be noted here that the survey was underwritten by Intel and Cisco, both tech companies with vested interests in telecommunications.

According to the survey, 23 percent of employees polled from the federal sector report teleworking "regularly" or "exclusively."

Sixty-four percent of those in the private sector said the same.

That may seem only like a cultural divide, but consider the following: according to the survey, 92 percent of federal employees reported that their offices closed during the February 2010 snowstorms that blanketed the area; meanwhile, 37 percent of private sector employees reported a closed office.

Managers (who represent about half of those polled) also feel that telework is, on the whole, good:

  • 93% of managers said they were satisfied with the quality of work done remotely.
  • 93% said they trust their team members to work remotely.
  • 81% said their management ability is unaffected by telework.

The survey outlined four steps to encourage telecommuting.

  • First, urge the federal sector to get with the (clearly valid) program.
  • Second, supply employees with technology to telework. (Survey: 22 percent of federal employees say their organization lacks here.)
  • Third, make the network secure. (Survey: 76 percent of the federal sector believe they could be the target of a cyberattack.)
  • Last, educate the masses. (Survey: 23 percent of federal employees have never talked to their managers about telework.)

Can telework help the federal sector retain top talent?

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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