Survey: Telework Is Risky But Government Should Do It Anyway

Creative Lab/

Telework rewards outweigh risks, according to public-sector employees surveyed.

Some government employees think the traditional workplace—set hours, employees at their desks—is the safest option for data security.

About 30 percent of public-sector employees said they thought a flexible work environment, in which employees might use cloud-based apps to access work information, could expose their teams to data security risks, according to a survey commissioned by app and virtualization company Citrix. Citrix sells products and services designed to help organizations become more flexible, including ShareFile, for data sharing and syncing.

Despite concerns about data security, about 73 percent of these public-sector professionals want a more flexible work environment, the survey found. That might require agencies to sign up for more cloud-based apps and services, but only about 36 percent of public-sector respondents said their agency was currently using such apps. That’s compared to about 80 percent of private-sector professionals working in science and technology who do.

Overall, just about 23 percent said they are currently able to work outside a traditional office location, and about 49 percent said they have coworkers they’ve never met in-person.

Asked why organizations should transition to a flexible workplace, 35 percent of public-sector employees said it would boost morale. About 31 percent said it would increase productivity, and 48 percent said it could help attract more talented candidates.

Across all categories, the survey found 40 percent of job candidates would turn down a job opportunity if its work environment wasn’t flexible.

The survey polled about 1,300 people, including public- and private-sector professionals.