The 2011 Telework Exchange Tele-Vision Award recipients were honored at an awards ceremony on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at the City Club of Washington at Columbia Square in Washington, D.C.
The awards recognize excellence in government telework programs and their accomplishments in the following categories:
Below please find the 2011 award recipients:
Federal Telework Program Honorable Mention
Organization: U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)
With four total nominations, it is impossible to ignore GSA’s telework efforts. GSA has a goal of becoming a leader in sustainability and eliminating its environmental footprint, and several regions realized a successful telework program would support this mission.
In efforts to support GSA’s mission, the Heartland Region expanded its pilot program and implemented space hoteling. The results have been positive thus far, with customers and vendors reporting improved customer service. Employees have also reported a better work/life balance, including increased job satisfaction and productivity. In addition, participating employees tracked their carbon emissions, which resulted in an estimated savings of 70 metric tons of carbon emissions.
The Greater Southwest Region focused on a Results Only Work Environment component for its telework pilot. It created two teams: a Cultural Team that would focus on shifting the mindset to a more results-oriented operation, and a Technology Team to employ collaboration tools and develop training. Telework hours doubled in the first month of the pilot and plans were made to reduce office space by 12,266 square feet. During a winter storm, 98 percent of employees were able to telework and successfully perform all essential duties.
The Northeast and Caribbean Region implemented a telework program as part of their COOP planning. By December 2010, 80 percent of employees had signed telework agreements and 35 percent teleworked at least once a week. When a blizzard hit New York this winter, the region maintained all normal operations while 75 percent of employees worked remotely.
GSA's Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) Telework Task Force laid the foundation for workforce excellence and maximized the success the agency experienced during Telework Week. Through their innovative approach, GSA broke telework records by having 25 percent of the organization, 2,500 people, teleworking. The Program Management Office leveraged the expertise of the FAS Task Force to the benefit of the entire organization.
The leader behind all of these telework efforts is GSA Administrator Martha Johnson. In her efforts to motivate skeptical employees and managers, Administrator Johnson initiated a campaign of culture change by having GSA participate in Telework Exchange’s National Telework Week from February 14-18, 2011. Managers used this week as a way to test new things and build trust. Administrator Johnson’s efforts to implement a successful telework program also included the creation of teams for each aspect of telework, instituting a hoteling program, and establishing resources such as a telework Web site.
Following their leader’s “Work is what you do, not where you do it” motto, it is no surprise that GSA has managed to become a model for Federal telework.
Excellence in Telework Leadership
Organization: Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force (SAF/AA)
Program: Headquarters Air Force (HAF) Telework Program
Moving past traditional workplace culture barriers, SAF/AA managed to establish a successful telework program. With this program they sent a clear message to other HAF organizations about the viability of telework in a headquarters work environment and its importance as a tool for work/life balance. The HAF Telework Program provides alternate workplace arrangement guidance and leadership to more than 6,500 U.S. Air Force civilian, military, and contract employees in the National Capital region.
SAF/AA came up with several key components to make this telework program work, among them developing a telework operating instruction, implementing a secure virtual private network infrastructure, and equipping employees with a laptop and cell phone. The program also employed collaboration and communication tools to help teleworkers, including a new telework Web site. Before initiating the program, SAF/AA involved senior leadership and provided training programs. Finally, hoteling and long-distance hiring pilot programs were used to help shape the telework program.
Telework numbers have grown significantly over the last year thanks to the creation of this program. Seven new telework programs within the HAF were created. One sub-organization increased its number of teleworkers from 40 to 100, with 90 of those employees teleworking full-time. Another evolved to 91 full-time teleworkers through the use of virtual offices and workgroups. Additionally, the purchase of technology allowed for 3,600 desktops – more than half of the computers used in the office – to be replaced by laptops, with the remaining desktops to be replaced this year. The hoteling pilot program also proved successful, with the office footprint reduced by 75 percent in one division.
By implementing this telework program, the HAF proved not only that teleworking is viable within a headquarters work environment, but also that an improved work/life balance is possible for its most important asset – their people. The SAF/AA Telework Program has laid the foundation for other HAF offices to develop their own telework initiatives, allowing them to create a telework-ready workforce that contributes to a business/continuity of operations (COOP) strategy as well as an environment that contributes to the work/life balance of employees.
Innovative Application of Technology to Support Telework
Organization: Department of Defense (DoD)
Program: Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP)
Centrally funded through the National Defense Authorization Act of 2000, CAP provides a budget-neutral solution for DoD and partner agency employees as well as returning wounded Service members, and seeks to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
CAP works by evaluating the needs of employees with disabilities and purchasing the assistive technology necessary for them to effectively complete their job duties – including for those who telework as a form of reasonable accommodation. Additionally, CAP offers training and technical integration support to ensure that accommodation recipients can effectively use the assistive technology provided. Since its inception in 1990, CAP has provided reasonable accommodations to DoD and 68 partner Federal agencies, and filled more than 102,500 requests for accommodations.
Since establishing its Telework Initiative, CAP has provided over 2,300 accommodations for employees who telework as a form of reasonable accommodation. In Fiscal Year 2010, telework accommodations increased by 54 percent over the previous year – thanks in large part to an aggressive outreach campaign which included a partnerships with organizations such as Telework Exchange. One example of how CAP can benefit an agency is the Department of Energy’s Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), which integrated CAP into its reasonable accommodation program. BPA saw a 67 percent increase in CAP accommodations and an average cost savings of $1,500 per teleworker.
CAP works closely with information technology staff throughout the Federal government to ensure that accommodations, including computers and software, are compatible and approved for use on the agency’s network and facilities – including at an alternate work location. These aspects of CAP’s overall model, in addition to its ability to evaluate employee requirements on-site or remotely through an interactive needs assessment approach, have helped ensure that more than 90 percent of customers rated CAP services as ‘excellent’ or ‘above average’.
In addition to acting as a retention tool for those who become disabled during employment, CAP services have also helped Federal agencies comply with the requirements of President Obama’s Executive Order No. 13173, Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities and the Rehabilitation Act.
Best New Telework Initiative
Organization: Air Force Central Adjudication Facility (AFCAF)
Program: AFCAF Telework Program
With a pending Defense Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) move from Bolling Air Force Base to Fort Meade, Maryland, AFCAF recognized a need to create a more telework-friendly operating environment and took steps to support remote workforce options during the past year. All of AFCAF’s 155 employees are equipped and trained to telework, and 65 percent of them do so on a regular basis. The Telework Program has provided AFCAF with COOP capabilities, increased productivity, and is the main reason AFCAF has been able to retain 92 percent of its highly-trained security specialists during the BRAC move.
With essential senior leadership support, AFCAF was able to secure state-of-the-art technology for all employees and a telework coordinator to manage the program. The number of employees who telework regularly went from 40 in April 2010 to 100 in March 2011 – with more than 90 percent of these employees teleworking nine out of 10 days in a two-week period. The need to be physically present in the office was eliminated by the use of collaboration tools for staff calls, trainings, and meetings.
New technology such as dual monitors, laptops with docking stations, and collaboration tools prompted 100 percent of teleworkers to report improved communication with their supervisors. Productivity increased 55.62 percent in just one year.
With 92 percent of employees citing the Telework Program as the main reason for staying with the agency after the BRAC move, AFCAF was able to save a significant amount in training costs by implementing this program. A 30 percent loss of personnel during the BRAC move would have meant approximately $260,000 in training costs to hire and train new employees.
As a result of this initiative, the AFCAF serves as a model for retention, COOP planning, and productivity in the Federal government.
Telework Program with Maximum Impact on Government
Organization: National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Program: NIH/Office of Human Resources COOP Project
Following the snowstorms of 2010, NIH/OHR realized there was a need for a better COOP plan – one that could more easily be integrated into operations to allow employees to work the same way during an emergency as they would in the office. To this end, OHR revised and expanded its COOP program, ensuring all Mission Critical functions and designated staff are trained and ready to telework during an emergency. The regular use of telework and quarterly COOP exercises help sustain a culture of preparedness.
To address the challenges and make telework a more viable business practice at NIH, OHR created an implementation plan for transitioning smoothly between normal and emergency operations, signed detailed teleworking agreements, fully equipped its staff with remote solutions, created an emergency preparedness Web site with telework resources, and communicated expectations for work during emergencies.
The newly-revised COOP plan allows for 100 percent of staff to be equipped with laptops, saving $170,000 per computer replacement cycle. Additionally, tools were developed to identify different tiers of emergencies as well as primary and backup staff trained to support critical functions. Currently, 57 percent of the staff at OHR telework at least one day per week, with another five percent teleworking on an ad hoc basis. OHR also reported improved employee efficiency and productivity, as well as enhanced work/life balance through increased telework participation.
OHR’s COOP program demonstrated how telework can be integrated into COOP planning without sacrificing cost savings, security, or flexibility.
State and Local Government Telework Program
Organization: Connecticut Department of Transportation
Program: Telecommute Connecticut
Supported by the Federal Highway Association, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) launched an innovative telecommuting program with the goal of reducing employee commutes and therefore decreasing traffic congestion, energy consumption, and hazardous air pollutants. Telecommute Connecticut provides free, comprehensive resources to assist Connecticut employers in designing, implementing and maintaining a telecommuting program. As a result of reducing work trips, CTDOT is reducing traffic congestion; improving air quality and helping Connecticut businesses stay competitive.
Telecommute Connecticut conducted focus groups which determined that employers wanted free, hands-on Human Resource and Technology assistance with the implementation of telecommuting programs. Armed with this information, CTDOT’s Telecommute Connecticut program assembled a team of highly-qualified consultants and developed materials, resources, and best practices for every stage of a successful telecommuting program - including goal setting, policy-making, implementation, and measurement. These resources include cost-benefit analysis, sample management proposals, case study examples, training tools, Webcasts and videos, technology needs analysis, pilot program guidelines, telecommuting agreements, measurement tools, customized materials and a comprehensive website.
Since its inception, Telecommute Connecticut has helped over 250 companies implement telecommuting programs. This represents more than 5,800 telecommuters saving more than 1 million vehicle trips and 20 million fewer miles traveled per year. Recent surveys also indicate telecommuting in the state had increased by 86 percent since the program’s inception, with one out of three Connecticut residents working from home at least occasionally, and more than 158,000 regular (at least one day per month) telecommuters taking almost 60,000 cars off the roads daily.
The CTDOT’s Telecommute Connecticut program was among the first programs to provide such business tools free of cost to employers statewide. Telecommute Connecticut also advises other organizations by providing information on the details of its program philosophy and services. The innovative nature of this program has made Telecommute Connecticut a successful model program.
Telework Leadership in Higher Learning
Organization: Washington State University Extension
Program: Washington State University Division of Governmental Studies and Services Program for Digital Initiatives (PDI)
The WSU Division of Governmental Studies and Services, sponsored by WSU Extension in conjunction with the College of Liberal Arts, created PDI in order to support the university’s mission to “apply knowledge through local and global engagement that will improve quality of life and enhance the economy of the state, nation, and world.”
PDI’s telework efforts include promotion, research, resources, and leadership assistance. Through this initiative, WSU has been able to assist hundreds of employers with telework support since 1989. University resources are available through a statewide land-grant system, offering best practices, research, training, sample policies, and models. PDI has also supported other states in their efforts to advance telework.
PDI’s accomplishments include:
The telework expertise gained by PDI over the years has allowed it to become a point of reference in the state of Washington for all telework concerns. Additionally, because of multiple initiatives in both urban and rural communities, PDI has a wide range of experience in working with different telework strategies and practices.
Telework Driver Award
Honoree: Rosanne Russo, Telework Coordinator
Organization: Department of Justice (DOJ)/Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
As the Telework Coordinator for ATF, Ms. Russo represents the agency on all telework issues and oversees the agency’s telework program. In this capacity, she ensures ATF meets organizational and departmental requirements and maintains accurate accounting of telework.
Ms. Russo is known throughout the agency for her tenacity, attention to detail, and commitment to expanding telework within ATF. Under her leadership and guidance, agency telework participation has increased from 23 to 75 percent of telework-eligible positions. More than 850 employees teleworked continuously during the February 2010 inclement weather in the Washington, D.C. area, saving the agency $1.1 million. She also initiated updating the agency’s directive to reflect recent developments as well as ensure compliance with the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010.
Ms. Russo’s advocacy has led to greater management understanding and appreciation of the benefits of telework. Even prior to passage of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, she spearheaded efforts to examine the agency’s entire telework program, including evaluation of all of the agency’s non-mobile workforce positions. In addition, Ms. Russo has consistently advocated greater investment in technology to enable telework, and works closely with colleagues in human resources to collect data on the agency’s time and attendance system to track and measure the use of telework.
As a result of her efforts, ATF’s operational flexibility and ability to carry out its mission have significantly improved, and agency employees are better positioned to maintain work/life balance. Currently, nearly 90 percent of the ATF workforce is equipped to continue to operate in the event of inclement weather or an emergency, ensuring business continuity and potentially saving the government millions of dollars. Further, the ATF telework program serves as a model for other Department of Justice components as well as other Federal agencies. The program continues to be driven by her diligence, vision, and leadership.
Thank you to the 2011 Telework Exchange Tele-Vision Awards Sponsor