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The Status of Telework in the Federal Government 2003

VI. Overcoming Barriers

Agencies state they have been aggressive in their efforts to overcome telework barriers. The number one action reported by agencies is the marketing of the telework program. A close second is developing initiatives to gain top management support. This appears to have paid off because managerial resistance is no longer the leading barrier in the current survey. Internal training for managers and employees has also been a contributing factor in removing barriers to telework. One agency deals with barriers through emphasis on planning, scheduling and communicating telework arrangements and work expectations. Another agency is making information technology purchases that are suitable for teleworking arrangements and including bargaining unit representatives in implementation plans and actions.

Information technology (IT) issues were addressed in GSA's publication, "Analysis of Home-Based Telework Technology Barriers," and in the first Quarterly Telework Coordinators' Meeting held on November 5, 2002. We anticipated the IT barrier issue assessed in the 2002 telework survey and will address IT issues in teleworking by briefing the CIO Council and including CIOs and IT leaders in future Telework Coordinators' Meetings.

This GSA publication includes findings and recommendations to assist in the expansion of Federal telework. The study found that many Federal agencies have not yet addressed how the home IT environment supporting the home-based teleworker should be configured, funded, or supported. As a result, decisions concerning selection, acquisition, and support for home IT equipment are made by individual managers. As Federal telework expands, if these IT problems are left unresolved they may become significant barriers to successful implementation and operation of telework programs.

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