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Teleworking needs a new mindset to spread

The number of office workers who operate remotely continues to increase. However, unless Federal government agencies review their IT support methodology to address availability and compliance issues, they risk missing out on the anticipated productivity and cost advantages.

This according to a September 4, 2006 article in Federal Times by Ray Weadock, president and chief executive officer of Persystent Technologies.

In the article, titled "Right IT Support Helps Teleworkers Stay Productive," Mr. Weadock cites a General Services Administration report identifying remote user support as both a practical and financial hurdle that has hurt widespread adoption of telework initiatives.

Additionally, recent high-profile data compromises involving laptops highlight the need for clearer policy and the process to adhere to that policy regarding data storage.

Persystent believes that the federal government's support methodology must evolve in three areas -- policy, process and performance -- in order to maintain a compliant and efficient remote working environment.

"Policy, not technology, serves as the foundation," wrote Mr. Weadock. Every employee, whether they telework or not, must accept personal responsibility for adhering to policies regarding software usage, data storage and other compliance issues.

And agencies must develop clear and universal policies for such activities and then enforce those policies without additional burden to the worker or the IT staff.

Telework and other remote-worker initiatives are here to stay. Government agencies, and any other company or organization supporting remote workers, must change they way they view support, compliance and performance if they plan to reap the productivity and cost savings such a work environment can foster.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.