Wired Workplace Wired WorkplaceWired Workplace
How information technology is changing the landscape for federal employees.

Moving to Telework

ARCHIVES
This summer, more than 4,700 workers at the Defense Information Systems Agency will be relocating from Northern Virginia to the agency's new location in Ft. Meade, Md. Thanks to telework, many of them will not have to up and move their families in exchange for a shorter commute. Jack Penkoske, director of manpower, personnel and security at DISA, told Wired Workplace that DISA's decision to move to Ft. Meade meant that 75 percent of DISA's workforce living in Northern Virginia faced lengthy commutes. Retaining those employees was key, he said, so the agency looked to its already robust telework program. DISA's telework program, which started in 2005, first allowed employees to telework up to one day per pay period. Now employees who receive supervisory approval can telework up to three days per week, and DISA will pay for up to 50 percent of the high speed Internet in their homes. The robust program means that 60 percent of employees are teleworking on any given day, Penkoske said. "We hear a lot of the time that workers come to DISA because of telework and stay because of the opportunity to telework," Penkoske said. "You see a trend where in the old days, employees would negotiate pay. Now some say, 'I'll stay if you can allow me to telework.'" DISA's telework initiative did require some culture shift among managers who were not comfortable with their lack of control over an employee's productivity or performance while outside the office, Penkoske said. "To that we'd say, 'well, how do you measure what they're doing when they're sitting in their cubicle?'" he said. "If you have good performance standards, it will transfer anywhere." Last year, President Obama signed into law the Telework Enhancement Act, which makes federal employees presumptively eligible to telework and requires all agencies to establish telework policies in consultation with the Office of Personnel Management. It also requires agencies to designate a telework managing officer and ensure that telework is part of its continuity of operations planning. Agencies are required to meet those requirements by June 9. Penkoske said DISA is far ahead of schedule in meeting the June 9 deadline. The key to achieving this goal, he said, was first establishing a "telework SWAT team" of human resources and information technology personnel. The team created a policy where all new computers would be telework-compatible and also established a classified telework center in Woodbridge, Va., to help accommodate employees who needed to work on a classified network, Penkoske said. "We'd hope in the not-too-distant future, we won't even use the word telework," he said. "We'll just refer to it as work."
 
Reporter Portrait for GovernmentExecutive.com

Brittany Ballenstedt writes Nextgov's Wired Workplace blog, which delves into the issues facing employees who work in the federal information technology sector. Before joining Nextgov, Brittany covered federal pay and benefits issues as a staff correspondent for Government Executive and served as an associate editor for National Journal's Technology Daily. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Mansfield University and originally hails from Pennsylvania. She currently lives near Travis Air Force Base, Calif., where her husband is stationed.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.