Survey finds federal telework increasing

More federal employees are participating in telework programs this year. Although security issues remain a concern, telecommuting offers substantial benefits to both the government and its workers, according to a new study.

Computer hardware and software seller CDW Government Inc. of Vernon Hills, Ill., said in a report released today that more federal workers are working from home this year than last year'with nearly one-half of all teleworkers starting over the past year.

In particular, the report, which surveyed more than 500 federal workers'including 235 federal IT professionals'said telework in the government has increased from 19 percent to 41 this year, with 43 percent having started in the past year. Online and telephone surveys and in-person interviews with federal employees and federal IT professions were done in February.

Also, 32 percent of the respondents said their agency started a telework program in the past year, with 45 percent saying their agency has not started a program and 23 percent were not sure.

A primary concern for telework, though, is security, as 53 percent of the federal IT professionals said security is the biggest challenge facing telecommuting.

A distinct majority of the IT professionals'55 percent'said their agency's telework standards are hampered under the requirements of the Federal Information Security Management Act, a slight decrease from last year.

Agencies with telework programs, however, generally tackle security concerns with anti-virus software and network firewalls, along with encryption and network monitoring.

Max Peterson, vice president of federal sales of CDW-G, said that the company's previous reports on telework along with an initiative called the Government Computer News. Roseanne Gerin is a staff writer for Government Computer News' sister publication, Washington Technology.

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