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Telework Keeps People On the Job Longer

Technology has been touted as a means for retiring federal workers to pass on their knowledge and expertise to tech-savvy new hires. But that may not be the only benefit it is having on knowledge transfer in the federal government. In fact, telework is playing a big factor in many retirement-eligible federal employees deciding to stay in their jobs – giving agencies an even longer window to capture their knowledge and expertise.

Andrew Krzmarzick, director of community engagement for GovLoop, writes in a blog post that telework may be a major driver of Baby Boomers deciding to stay in their jobs beyond their retirement age. He quotes a recent GovLoop interview with Nick Nayak, chief procurement officer at the Homeland Security Department, who noted that while 20-25 percent of DHS’ workforce is at retirement-eligible age or soon to be, DHS workers in 2012 did not retire as quickly as they have in the past.

“Teleworking is a big reason for that,” Nayak told GovLoop. “It allows employees the chance to work a more flexible schedule so they aren’t retiring as early as before.”

Are retirement-eligible Baby Boomers at your agency staying on longer than expected? Is telework contributing at all ...

Should We Ban After-Hours Work Emails?

Late last month, I wrote about some of the potential downsides to teleworking, particularly when it comes to work-life balance. And as workers kick off their 2013 round of career resolutions, it’s interesting to see that some companies are making at least one resolution for their workers as well: turn off those mobile devices.

The New York Times reports that companies such as German automaker Daimler and Empower Public Relations in Chicago are adopting new policies aimed at reducing the amount of time employees spend on their electronic devices, particularly during off-duty hours.

Employees at Daimler, for example, can have incoming emails automatically deleted during vacation so they do not return to a flooded inbox, while Empower has implemented a Blackberry blackout policy where employees are required to turn off their Blackberries from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. on weekdays and completely off on weekends for work-related use, with some exceptions.

A study released last spring by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that while mobile phones are considered to make workers more productive, there are potential downsides, particularly when those devices are interfering with employee sleep patterns, thus having a negative impact on productivity ...

GSA Offers Online Training in Conference Etiquette

This year has not brought the most positive of headlines for the General Services Administration, particularly after revelations agency officials spent excessively at an over-the-top Las Vegas training conference that featured a mind reader, bicycle giveaways and extravagant receptions.

But now the agency is using that “mistake” as a catalyst for an effort to train other employees on conference etiquette, a topic that will serve as one of the first courses of its new virtual training program set to launch in January, Lauren Concklin, a marketing analyst with GSA, said Thursday during a webinar sponsored by GovLoop.

“GSA underwent a huge travel mistake in the last year, and this is also another reason why we want to modernize our training,” Concklin said, noting that the goal of virtual training is to reduce travel mishaps and help agencies realize efficiencies and cost savings.

The agency has teamed up with the online learning platform Blackboard to provide Web-based training to federal employees across government. A manual and in-person process for registering for and attending classes is moving online, allowing feds to register, pay for and attend classes via Internet. The Blackboard platform also provides tools such as discussion boards to collaborate, Concklin ...

The Four-Hour Workweek Fantasy

The Social Media Explorer blog had some interesting thoughts on the future of work and the desires of younger, digital native workers to shift to ideas like the 4-hour workweek.

“I think there is a whole new workforce that is coming to life that a lot of our ‘corporate’ employers simply aren’t prepared for,” writes Nichole Kelly, president of SME Digital. “This isn’t about whether you are a Gen Xer or Millenial. This trend is rising up as a result of advanced technologies that allow us to work from anywhere, shifting business and personal priorities and books like The 4-Hour Workweek (Crown Archetype, 2009) that tell us we can live differently.”

Kelly writes of a near future where employees are free to work from anywhere, going so far as saying that companies could allow employees to take months-long “workcations” in different countries to learn the cultures and become fluent in various languages. In addition, this culture will allow organizations to hire the best person for the job, regardless of their location.

Other traditional aspects of work culture -- such as the 9-to-5 schedule and meetings in conference rooms -- also will become relics of the past as organizations embrace a ...

HR and Legal Implications of BYOD

More than half of federal information workers use their personal smartphones for work purposes, even though agencies have not fully fleshed out their BYOD or “bring your own device" policies, according to a new report by Forrester Research and Cisco.

Most government organizations issue mobile phones and laptops to employees: Sixty-two percent of workers are issued laptops with no choice of make or model, and 50 percent of workers are issued a standard mobile device, according to the report.

Still, despite being issued a device by their agency, more than 58 percent of information workers in government use a personal smartphone for work purposes without considering what their organization supports, the survey found. At the same time, most agencies are still in the research and pilot phases with BYOD policies, and very few government organizations have agencywide BYOD programs.

In addition, only 6 percent of smartphone users and 4 percent of mobile phone users who use their personal devices receive a subsidy, the report found.

Not surprisingly, IT decision makers are most worried about the security of applications and the data on personal devices. But concerns reach far beyond IT to human resources and legal departments, Cisco and Forrester found ...