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Posted: 11/17/2010 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

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Media Contact:

Whitney Hewson

Telework Exchange

(703) 883-9000 ext. 130                                                                                              



Telework Exchange Announces a Nationwide Telework Week –

February 14-18, 2011


Telework Week Encourages Government Agencies and Organizations to Test Remote Infrastructure; Provides Opportunity for Employees and Managers to Try Teleworking


ALEXANDRIA, Va., November 17, 2010 – Telework ExchangeSM, a public-private partnership focused on demonstrating the tangible value of telework, today launched the nationwide Telework Week 2011, an initiative to encourage government agencies, organizations, and individuals to pledge to telework during the week of February 14-18, 2011.  Interested participants can visit to pledge to telework, calculate potential commuting cost savings and environmental savings by teleworking, as well as to learn more about how to get started through a series of free telework-focused Webcasts.    


Telework is a win-win-win for employees, agencies/organizations, and the environment.  It is a critical plank in business continuity planning, recruitment and retention, and real estate cost savings.  Further, telework supports the Federal government’s push to green business processes through Executive Order 13514 and to provide flexible work arrangements to working families. 


            “Telework plays an important role in business operations from improving the bottom line to boosting employee productivity and morale,” said Congressman Gerry Connolly.  “Telework Week provides an opportunity for managers and employees to pilot telework initiatives in their workplaces and ensure the efficacy of their IT infrastructure to handle telecommuting.  It also provides a good opportunity for managers to test and update their business continuity plans to ensure readiness in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.”


“Telework Week is a call to action for agencies/organizations and employees alike,” said Cindy Auten, General Manager, Telework Exchange.  “It is the perfect time to start a telework discussion with management.  For agencies and organizations, it provides an opportunity to examine how telework can support business operations.  The Telework Week Web site offers various resources to assist in building the telework business case with management as well as steps to plan and develop a sustainable program.” 


Telework Week 2011 is free to individuals and organizations from all areas of government and the private sector nationwide.  To pledge to telework during Telework Week, as well as to register to attend the Free December 15 Webcast titled, “The Telework Big Picture,” visit  Telework Exchange will release a post-Telework Week report in March, highlighting the impact of Telework Week on employees, agencies/organizations, and the environment. 


About Telework Exchange

Telework Exchange is a public-private partnership focused on demonstrating the tangible value of telework and serving the emerging educational and communication requirements of the teleworker community.  The organization facilitates communication among teleworkers, telework managers, and IT professionals.  For more information on Telework Exchange, please visit

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Posted: 9/27/2010 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

What is Work?

Josh Sawislak
Senior Fellow
Telework Exchange

My father was a reporter for most of his life, and he always cautioned me not to "bury the lead." So let's start this (hopefully regular) conversation with a discussion of work.

What is work? Webster defines work as "a physical or mental activity we do for a specific purpose and to a specific end." While that might be true, it's rather dry and academic – doesn't get to the heart of what work truly means. Some people identify work as "the opposite of play." Also a true statement – but we shouldn't be forced to define something by what it is not. Workin' for a livin'? Yes, that's true Huey. Working 9 to 5? Not so much these days. A lot of people define work as where they go each morning. I think the term work denotes action. You have to actually do something in order to make work work. I would counter that work is what you do, not where you go to do it.

This is my first blog for Telework Exchange. It's not a blog as much as it is an open forum, a conversation really. I clearly don't have the perfect definition of work ? but maybe together we can get there. What's work to you? Pipe in with your thoughts. I'm starting this blog in a new position with Telework Exchange. However I'm neither new to telework nor am I new to work. I spent most of my career as a management consultant and program manager for large development and infrastructure efforts. For the last four years, I had the opportunity to see how the Federal government works from the inside. I saw a lot of sausage getting made and learned a lot about steering large organizations and agencies. I hope this space will not just be about what I think, but what we can all learn from each other.

Let's use this space to exchange ideas and vet issues. That's the genius of an open forum. In my Dad's day, he wrote a column that others read. More of a one-way street. If readers had a reaction to what he wrote, the only real way he heard them was if they felt strongly enough to write a letter to the editor. But even then, it wasn?t usually a conversation or an open exchange of ideas.

Before we open up the lines, let's set some ground rules. Rule number one is to please be polite (that's from Mom, not Dad). My colleague Steve O'Keeffe wrote a blog recently on the decline in manners online. Let's reverse that trend, and use this online forum as if we were sitting around a table freely discussing our thoughts and honestly sharing ideas. OK, rule number two is...nope, there is no rule two. Just the one, so it's easy to remember – be polite.

In future columns, I will cover issues affecting telework such as security, management and supervision, costs and benefits to employees and employers, lessons learned, and rights and responsibilities. Feel free to veer off the path to talk about something that's important to you. We'll ask each other questions and, together, we may find some answers we can all agree on. If nothing else, we'll spark discussion and help each others thinking along the way. Please jump in and join in the conversation.

Without your input, this blog will be just me telling you what I think. While my family might find that interesting (or just pretend to humor me), let's make this a conversation. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

To comment on this blog on the Telework Exchange site, visit


Posted: 5/11/2010 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

It's true that the D.C. area is home to one of the worst commutes in the nation. Think you can breeze through 66, 270, or the Beltway in rush hour? Good luck to you. They say it's going to rain. Better luck next time. I'll bet on something that has better odds, like the lottery.

Washington traffic is gridlocked, and apparently so is Capitol Hill. Last week, the House voted down H.R. 1722, The Telework Improvements Act. The bill is a common-sense effort to expand telework in the Federal government to reduce traffic congestion and smog, cut gas consumption, create job opportunities, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It will also increase productivity, retain talent in public service, maintain business operations, while saving Uncle Sam money.

Despite having support from both party lines, the bill needed two-thirds majority to pass and came up short with 147 Republicans voting it down. Telework receives bipartisan support. Previous telework legislation passed in the House during the 110th Congress.

Some claimed the bill would increase the deficit by $30 million – the reported bill cost over the next five years. I must point out that the legislation does not authorize any new appropriations of taxpayers' money. In fact, Federal agencies can use their existing budgets to make telework work. And it does work. Private sector has implemented these programs for years. Strike that. For decades. And the savings are big.

Telework allows IBM to reduce office space and save $56 million per year, every year.

Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), who introduced the bill in March 2009, said he was pleased to have bipartisan support for the bill, but hoped more of his Republican colleagues who claim to be concerned about the deficit will take the time to understand this issue. “We need to expand telework opportunities to make our Federal workforce more productive and ensure that we can recruit and retain top talent to government. This bill would be a win for the taxpayer. It would also bolster the Federal workforce, improve traffic in the D.C. area, and reduce carbon emissions – all in one fell swoop.”

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), one of the primary co-sponsors of the bill said, "Telework can save tens of millions of dollars for the Federal government in terms of lost productivity and that doesn't even take into account the benefits to commuters, the region's air quality, reduced use of foreign oil, integration of telework into Federal agencies' Continuity of Operations Plans, and recruitment and retention of quality Federal workers." As you may recall, Connolly was an integral part of Fairfax County's telework program, before joining Congress last year.

Telework isn't just an employee perk. It's a critical strategy to Federal government operations. Approximately 60 percent of Federal employees are eligible to telework. Despite only having 10 percent of eligible Federal employees' teleworking, many Federal agencies are making great strides in implementing programs. Eighty three percent of eligible Trademark attorneys from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office take part in telework. Implementing telework enabled the agency to avoid spending $11 million in additional office space. The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has empowered about 3,300 employees to telework. Roughly 36,000 civilian Defense Department employees are due to relocate over the next three years as part of the base realignment and closure, or BRAC. Agencies, like DISA, are using telework to retain their knowledgeable workforce during the move. In a recent survey, 70 percent of DISA employees said the option to telework has impacted their decision to stay with the agency after the move.

Nearly 60 percent of General Services Administration employees worked remotely during this year's blizzard. The Office of Personnel Management's Director John Berry reported that the Federal government saved approximately $30 million a day in productivity by teleworking during the snow storms. A perfect example of the telework return.

What will it take to unlock gridlock? The hope is that the House will schedule a vote soon under regular order. A similar bill, S.707 awaits a vote in the Senate. Perhaps Sens. Akaka (D-HI), Voinovich (R-OH), and Landrieu (D-LA), the bill sponsors, will unlock gridlock. In the meantime, area commuters will have to chance their luck on the beltway. I hear they are calling for rain.

-- Cindy Auten is the general manager of Telework Exchange, a public-private partnership focused on expanding telework awareness and adoption.

Posted: 12/7/2009 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

uploads_user/2000/1349/Telework Exchange Mobility Against Pandemic 120709 FINAL.pdf

Underwritten by Intel, the "Mobilizing Against Pandemic" study evaluates public- and private-sector's business continuity and mobile IT infrastructure standings. The study reveals the majority of government and business IT decision makers have written business continuity plans, however, both sectors report implementation challenges and lack assurance that employees could work remotely during an emergency.

Posted: 10/5/2009 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Telework Exchange and the Commonwealth of Virginia recently released a report announcing the results of the August 3rd Telework Day.  The Commonwealth of Virginia, Telework!VA, and Telework Exchange encouraged individuals and organizations to telework from home or a remote location on Monday, August 3, 2009 - Telework Day.

Telework Exchange is pleased to announce that 2,286 Federal and private sector employees as well as 1,765 state employees participated, for a total of 4,051 participants statewide.

Specifically, Virginia teleworkers:

  • Saved approximately $113,000
  • Avoided driving 140,000 miles
  • Removed 75.89 tons of pollutants from the air

Posted: 10/1/2009 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Governor Kaine Highlights Contributions, Savings from Telework Day
– Report illustrates environmental and economic impact –

RICHMOND – Governor Timothy M. Kaine today announced that Virginia teleworkers saved approximately $113,000, avoided driving 140,000 miles and removed 75.89 tons of pollutants from the air through participation in Telework Day on August 3, 2009. The "What We Saved; What We Learned" report, compiled by the public-private partnership Telework Exchange, also reveals an increase in productivity by participants and reports satisfaction with their teleworking experience.

"I commend the individuals and organizations that took the Telework Day pledge," Governor Kaine said. "The results are clear – telework plays an important role in meeting the Commonwealth's green objectives, reducing strain and traffic on our roads, increasing savings for our employees, and will provide our businesses with increased employee productivity."

2,286 federal and private sector employees as well as 1,765 state employees participated in Telework Day in Virginia, for a total of 4,051 participants statewide. Eighty-one percent of participating state employees said they had teleworked before, compared to 78 percent of respondents nationwide, showing that Virginia's efforts to promote teleworking in state government have been successful.

The report illustrates the potential impact of teleworking on employees' budgets and productivity, as well as the environment. If all eligible employees teleworked one day per week for a year, teleworkers in the Commonwealth would collectively avoid driving 602 million miles, remove 360,800 tons of pollutants from the air, and save $807 million in commuting costs. Over the course of a year this would equal a $1,822 annual raise for every teleworker in Virginia, and save 46 hours a year in commuting.

A survey of Virginia's teleworkers also showed that 69 percent felt they accomplished more than a typical day at the office and 91 percent said that they would be more likely to telework again as a result of their experience. Seventy-eight percent of respondents reported no difficulties in performing their duties on Telework Day.

"We are committed to ensuring that telework has a firm stake in the ground in Virginia," said Karen Jackson, Deputy Secretary of Technology. "The 'What We Saved; What We Learned' report provides us with a snapshot of the critical impact telework will continue to have on business continuity, the environment, strengthening work and family balance, and much more, as state agencies and organizations continue to adopt and expand their telework programs."

"Just one telework day really does make a difference," said Jennifer Thomas Alcott, Program Manager at Telework!VA. "Telework is a key component to reducing traffic, removing carbon emissions from the environment, and providing substantial cost-savings on both an individual and organizational level."

"On behalf of Telework Exchange, we applaud the Commonwealth of Virginia for its telework leadership and foresight," said Cindy Auten, General Manager ofTelework Exchange. "From environmental concerns and economic pressures to making jobs available in rural areas and increasing productivity, telework is a critical tool for Virginia, its employees, and its organizations. We encourage other states to take the next step to telework success and host their own Telework Day."


Posted: 5/13/2009 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]


H1N1 Swine Flu COOP Exam Returns Bill of Health for Uncle Sam
Just 32 Percent of Feds Give Agencies A’s and B’s on Flu Survivability –
10 Agencies Rank as Top of Class
ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 13, 2009Telework ExchangeSM, a public-private partnership focused on telework in government, today announced the results of the “H1N1 – Uncle Sam’s COOP Exam” study, based on a survey of Federal employees between May 1st and 5th – when H1N1 was the top national security issue.  Feds give their agencies mixed marks for Continuity of Operations (COOP) readiness associated with the H1N1 scare.  The diagnosis is there is room for improvement in Federal agency continuity plans and telework is a key remedy.  
            The study shows that agencies need to plan ahead to support the remote workforce in order to maintain operations in a pandemic.  Should H1N1 have infected the city in which Federal employees work, only 51 percent indicated that they would definitely show up for work.  Significantly, if H1N1 cases were reported in their office, just 26 percent said that they would definitely show up for work. 
            The study shows that Federal agencies need to provide additional guidance to employees on how to respond to a potential pandemic.  Forty-two percent of respondents noted that they had not received any guidance.  The majority of the remaining 58 percent who did receive guidance from their agency said that most guidance focused on personal hygiene – “wash your hands” – rather than on tangible operational plans on how to continue working when you cannot come to the office.
            However, some respondents’ feedback was certainly positive.  Thirty-two percent of Feds gave their agencies A and B grades on H1N1 survivability.  The top 10 most prepared agencies included:
-      Department of Commerce
-      Department of Health and Human Services
-      Department of Justice
-      Department of the Navy
-      Department of Transportation
-      Department of Veterans Affairs
-      General Services Administration
-     National Aeronautical & Space Administration
-      National Science Foundation
-      United States Postal Service
COOP and Telework
            The study underscores the strong relationship between telework and agencies’ COOP readiness.  Comparing the most COOP-ready agencies from this study with Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) statistics on percentages of eligible Feds who are teleworking further demonstrates the link between telework and COOP preparedness.  At the most prepared agencies – those with A’s and B’s in this study – 16.43 percent of eligible employees telework.  This compares to 7.62 percent of eligible employees teleworking across the entire Federal government.  Interestingly, 76 percent of respondents who give their agencies an A on telework programs also give their agencies an A or B on COOP readiness. 
Lessons Learned
Comparing the results of this study against a similar Telework Exchange study conducted during the Avian Flu scare of 2006 shows that the Federal government is moving in the right direction.  In 2006, 21 percent of Feds knew that their agencies’ COOP plans included plans for a flu pandemic.  That number increased to 33 percent in this H1N1 study sample.  However, the OPM Pandemic Guide of 2006 points to President Bush’s Implementation Plan for the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza, which directs every agency to develop a comprehensive preparedness plan.
            “A pandemic has the potential to be a nationwide Katrina emergency,” said Cindy Auten, general manager, Telework Exchange.  “The study demonstrates once again that telework is not a ‘break glass in case of emergency’ option.  Agencies need to embrace telework as a standard operating procedure for it to deliver real COOP value.”
The “H1N1 – Uncle Sam’s COOP Exam”study is based on a survey of 307 Federal employees.  To download the full study results, please visit
About Telework Exchange, LLC
Telework Exchange is a public-private partnership focused on demonstrating the tangible value of telework and serving the emerging educational and communication requirements of the Federal teleworker community.  The organization facilitates communication among Federal teleworkers, telework managers, and IT professionals.  For more information on Telework Exchange, please visit  
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