Survey: Teleworking is key component of agency disaster planning

Agencies with telework plans for their employees are more prepared for an emergency that could shut down the government for an extended period, a new survey concluded.

The survey, released today by the Telework Exchange of Alexandria, Va., and enterprise software company Citrix Systems, Inc. of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., also found that telecommuting allows agencies to operate during man-made or natural disasters.

Yet the survey results also indicate that agencies do a poor job of communicating teleworking options to employees.

In fact, of the 167 workers interviewed, 45 percent do not have any guidance from their agencies on how to respond in an emergency and 40 percent believe their agency is not prepared to continue operating in the wake of such an event.

Also, only 48 percent of those interviewed believe that their agencies' continuity-of-operations plan has a telework component.

But of the agencies that have a telecommuting component in their COOP plans, 90 percent of workers surveyed believe those agencies can continue to operate during a prolonged shutdown. And of that amount, 73 percent have guidance from their agencies on how to respond to a disaster, the survey found.

'The federal government must increase awareness of and education in business continuity plans for employees, in addition to adopting telework as a contingency plan in COOP,' said Tom Simmons, area vice president of government systems for Citrix Systems.

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