Agencies Can Expect a Telework Toolkit This Fall

The effort is aimed at helping agencies measure their return on investment.

The headline and opening paragraphs of this post were clarified to note that multiple agencies are working with Mobile Work Exchange in developing the toolkit.

Mobile Work Exchange is working with a number of federal agencies to put together a toolkit that will help agencies more effectively measure telework’s return on investment.

Cindy Auten, general manager for Mobile Work Exchange, said Tuesday that the group is currently working on developing a calculator that will help agency managers determine the cost savings and benefits telework is providing across the agency, in areas such as real estate, business continuity and productivity.

The effort also includes development of a best practices guide that looks at more than 10 agencies leading the way on measuring telework’s effectiveness, Auten said.

“There is a strong focus for agencies and managers to look at setting realistic goals and measure those goals so they can accurately report out to Congress on the progress,” Auten said.

Plans for the ROI toolkit started more than nine months ago, Auten said, before the Government Accountability Office initiated a review of how agencies are tracking of telework progress. The GAO report, released last week, criticized OPM for insufficiently assessing the use of telework across government in its 2012 status report to Congress. OPM, in turn, said agencies did not deliver telework data because of management resistance and a lack of resources, according to the report.

“One of the hardest challenges for telework managing officers is automating their reporting to go to OPM,” Auten said. “They’re trying to do this at the same time they are working to encourage management buy-in, and some of these systems require funding, which isn’t available at every agency. They’re making do with what they have.”

Auten says Mobile Work Exchange hopes to have the report portion of the toolkit out to agencies within the next month, and the calculator available before the group’s fall town hall meeting, which will take place Sept. 12 at the Washington Convention Center. Auten said one of the sessions at the upcoming meeting will focus on measuring telework’s ROI.

“It’s going to take time for agencies to develop [telework ROI] programs,” she said. “GAO did a great review of what we should focus on, and we’re certainly well on our way to getting some goal-setting in place for these agencies.”