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How information technology is changing the landscape for federal employees.

IT Workers Are Staying Put Longer

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Late last month, I wrote about a report that found a disconnect between federal HR leaders and IT operational managers over effective measures for bringing on the next generation of IT leaders.

But as agencies look to hash out how to effectively roll out succession plans for the IT workforce, it may be helpful to know that many technology workers are staying in their jobs longer than workers in other fields, Dice.com reports.

According to data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median for employee tenure at their current employer rose from 4.4 years in January 2010 to 4.6 years in January 2012. But in the computer and electronic products industry, the median employee tenure rose from 5.9 years in 2010 to 7.7 years in 2012, BLS found.

Telecommunications employees also are staying put, going from a median tenure of 6.6 years in 2010 to 7.4 years in 2012.

Still, the BLS data suggest that succession planning may become more challenging as more and more younger employees enter the workforce. BLS found that the overall median tenure for employees age 65 and over was 10.3 years in January 2012, compared with 3.2 years for workers age 25 to 34.

Meanwhile, TechRepublic has a list of 10 strategies IT leaders can use to keep their staff from jumping ship.

Telework Savings Calculator

Are you looking to make the case to your manager that telework would be beneficial to you or your entire team? HP and GovLoop have teamed up to create a new calculator that can help you make a solid case for telework to your reluctant manager.

The new calculator, which launched last week as part of GovLoop’s online Government Innovation Summit, allows federal employees to calculate their annual total cost savings -- such as the real estate and vehicle savings -- as well as productivity gains and the environmental impact they or their team could have if they telework a certain number of days per week.

For example, an employee with a 60-mile round trip commute in an SUV who teleworks two days per week could save a total of $5,852.68 annually. This employee also would add 139 hours of productivity, resulting in an additional $4,749.33 in time savings, according to the calculator.

Christina Morrison, public sector marketing manager for HP, said Wednesday that it should cost employers no more than $200 per month to keep a fulltime employee in a telework environment, versus $1,000 per month to keep that same employee in a cubicle in an office building. “The real estate savings are huge to any employer,” she said. “There’s also the green effect of less vehicles on the road and that has a huge impact on the government – from savings on transportation, roads, traffic and law enforcement.”

Morrison said she hopes federal employees will use the calculator to make the personal and business case for telework, particularly as agencies continue to expand their telework programs as part of the 2010 Telework Enhancement Act.

“By 2013, hopefully we’re going to see a change in more federal employees being able to telework because the infrastructure has been rolled out and put into place,” she said. “If people start changing the telework conversation away from simply working from home to focusing on the business benefits, we’ll start to see more executives on the IT side and the management side opening up their minds a little more to this change.”

Still, it will take more to make telework a success than just agency telework coordinators implementing the rules and guidelines, Morrison said. It also will require some training for federal managers on how to effectively manage teleworking employees, she said.

“My manager now has five employees in five different time zones” Morrison said. “It’s a challenge. But there’s ways to figure out how to make everyone feel incorporated and part of the team … [Telework] will help managers figure out ways to motivate based off of performance and not the amount of time an employee is sitting at their desk.”

Will the new calculator help you make the business case for telework to your manager?

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.

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