MeriTalk - Where America Talks Government
Steve O'Keeffe

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Posted: 2/6/2013 - 6 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]


Telework or the Tooth Fairy?
When the Telework Exchange, MeriTalk's sister organization, launched in 2005, Federal telework was Santa, or the tooth fairy. A nice idea for a few early believers - that still fewer had seen with their own eyes. Cast your mind back to 2005. Saddam got a glimpse at the gallows. The Fatherland got the Merkel. Benedict XVI got red shoes. W got a new lease on Penn Ave. A Williams won Wimbledon - some things never change. "Brangelina" came out. And, the BlackBerry was cutting-edge technology. Wow, that seems like a long time ago.
Back to the Future
Fast forward to today. The 2010 Telework Enhancement Act changed the world. In 2012, OPM reported 32 percent of all Feds are eligible to telework - and one in four Feds are teleworking. Already more than 35,000 Feds have pledged to participate in Telework Week this March. Based on last year's Telework Week, Feds could pocket $5 Billion per year via teleworking - and that's appealing in a three-year wage-freeze zone. And, we've moved beyond fairy tales to hard-edged economics - OPM says Uncle Sam saved $30 million per day in D.C. alone by teleworking during Snowmaggedon.
Telework Champions
Wendell Joice, Billy Michael, the team at GSA, John Berry, Kim Wells, and let's not forget Danette Campbell at USPTO, should take a bow. In these Fed-bashing times, you improved the lot of your colleagues and boosted productivity for the tax payer. Today, Feds no longer view work as a place you go. 
Tilting at Phone Poles?
So, if the telework genie's out of the bottle, do we need a public-private group dedicated to pulling the stopper? Good question. Well, the answer is yes and no. Is there a danger that telework haters will mount a new offensive? Hell yes. So the group needs to continue to foster the forces of enlightenment - but it's time to push the envelope.
The Mobile Work Exchange
So what's next? Focus on productivity - recognizing the confines of the office are obsolete. That's why the Telework Exchange is now the Mobile Work Exchange. The focus for the reinvented public-private partnership - how can IT and policy deliver enhanced secure productivity? Is the technology ready? What's the path forward for BYOD reimbursement? Feds can't foot Uncle Sam's phone bill.
It's all about trust, flexibility, and agility. Telework has exposed the truism - it's all about productivity, and government needs to get into the 20th century on performance management. No, that's not a typo.
So that's the new frontier. Keep the telework fire burning, but at the same time leap forward to the next frontier. Focus on the power of mobility to change the face of government and deliver new efficiencies. Ready to mobilize? Check out the April 30 Mobile Work Exchange Town Hall Meeting - focus on Mobilology [and I'm pretty sure that's a made up word].
Saddam Hussein's last words - “I'll be hanged if they expect me to keep using this bloody BlackBerry.”

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