The new telework law is sure to change the way federal agencies do business, and there are undoubtedly some challenges ahead for agencies in effectively implementing the law. The IBM Center for the Business of Government has released a new study that looks at four agencies that already have started teleworking and offers practical advice to agency leaders tasked with implementing the new law.
For the study, IBM developed case studies of telework programs at four agencies: the Defense Information Systems Agency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Patent and Trademark Office and National Institutes of Health. One thing rang true at all four of the agencies studied: management resistance is often the biggest barrier to telework.
Susan Boosinger, work-life program manager at the FDIC, told IBM that she anticipates management resistance will significantly decline in the next five to 10 years, when telework will become a mainstream practice. To overcome this resistance, agencies should put robust training programs in place for employees and managers, Boosinger said.
Agencies also should develop a comprehensive telework plan by July 2011 and develop clear, written telework policies and agreements, IBM noted. Agencies also must develop effective measures of performance and focus on managing for results. Managers should base individual evaluations on performance, not on presence, review employee performance based on measureable outcomes, and embrace a more inclusive management style, the report recommended.
On the technology side, agencies should include telework technologies in agency budgets, allow employees to use their own equipment when practical and focus on security issues while implementing telework policies, according to the report.