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Calling for Storms

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We've tracked this telework storm system for some time now. Since the passing of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, the telework adoption barometer has been rising. Agencies are progressing, albeit some more than others. The management cold front is slowly dissipating and agencies are getting onboard with telework. What started as an IT drizzle is now turning into a full-blown storm surge.

Regardless of my playful weather forecast, the key point is that telework is growing, and with it, so are mobile technology implementations. With the increasing use of mobile devices like laptops, smartphones and tablets, an organization's infrastructure must be able to support a new workforce that doesn't work strictly from their office.

We recently surveyed Federal IT executives on just that -- infrastructure to support remote workers, what's on top of Feds' "to-do" lists, and what's behind mobility. The results of the 2012-2013 Telework/Mobile IT Almanac are in. The report points to even greater mobility in the future for the Federal government -- with an estimated 20 percent increase in mobile device use by 2013.

What will these mobility winds bring? For one, it will mean more teleworkers in the next two years, according to 59 percent of Federal IT professionals. Another 45 percent expect more part-time mobile workers.

So with the forecast calling for telework showers, who's ready to weather the storm? According to the report, 65 percent of respondents say their agencies are telework IT ready. The better-prepared agencies offer laptops, smart phones and remote desktop access for employees to connect remotely. Agencies also are expanding on instant messaging tools and video or web conferencing.

Sure, not all agencies are as prepared and the climate change will take some adjusting. But with gas prices keeping us on alert (did I just pay $4.05 a gallon?), technology is making it easier to stay connected.

Finally, for your weekend forecast. This Sunday marks Earth Day. Besides having the technology and the drive (pun intended), we should all be environmentally responsible. Telework is an impactful way to stay green. Just think, if all full-time wage and salary workers in the U.S. teleworked just two days a week, they would save $215 billion and spare the environment 143 million tons of emissions. That's a lot of green to me.

To download the full report findings, please visit www.teleworkexchange.com/mobileitalmanac.

Cindy Auten is the general manager for Telework Exchange and a regular teleworker. She can be reached at cauten@teleworkexchange.com.

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