For governments to succeed in setting up telework programs, education and technology are crucial, says Tom Simmons, area vice president of public sector for Santa Clara, Calif.-based Citrix Systems.

Citrix offers solutions that help governments and other organizations thrive in the cloud era, embracing mobile users, personal devices, wireless access, app stores, SaaS, and cloud infrastructure. The company’s products power mobile workstyles and cloud services, and make IT accessible for 260,000 organizations. Citrix products touch 75 percent of Internet users each day. The firm partners with more than 10,000 companies in 100 countries.

Here are Tom Simmons’ comments.

Govpro: Do you have any advice for federal government administrators on ways they can speed up and/or expand telework adoption and implementation? 

Tom Simmons: Education is key to this process. The culture must become more open and encouraging to telework. Despite evidence to the contrary, some managers still worry about diminished productivity. Security concerns and not having the right technology can also spur resistance on the part of managers. Supporting this, the recently released “2012 Status of Telework in the Federal Government Report to Congress” report identified the greatest barriers to Federal telework adoption as management resistance (13 agencies’ response/15 percent), technology (12 agencies’ response/14 percent), and security concerns (eight agencies’ response/nine percent). These concerns can be easily overcome with virtualized solutions that provide a modern and agile online working environment that is both secure and productive for employees.

Additionally, federal managers must embrace and champion the telework cause in practice as well as in theory. Providing top-down support for telework will enable agencies to more successful leverage a flexible work environment. An important component for managers is to identify tactics for measuring performance and productivity. Rather than measuring time input, managers and employees need to understand how to measure actual outputs.

Further, we need to identify and highlight successful telework programs that are happening today. By promoting solid success stories, we can begin to battle the misconception that work is a place, rather than something you do.

Govpro: What technology is out there in 2013 that makes telework more doable and teleworking employees more productive in federal agencies? 

TS: Currently there are a myriad of technology solutions that enable and support successful telework. Specifically, desktop virtualization is crucial for agencies looking to shift from aging and inflexible IT infrastructures to a more modern computing environment.

Virtualization supports a number of components that are critical to successful telework programs, such as using cloud computing and supporting a Bring Your Own Device approach within agencies. In addition to desktop virtualization, application and server virtualization also enable anytime/anywhere access with a high level of data security.

Govpro: Thank you Tom Simmons.

This is another in Govpro’s series on telework trends. We have written about telework gaining support in federal agencies, and telework slowly establishing a foothold in federal agencies.

Note: the terms "telework," "telecommuting," "flexible workplace," "remote work," "virtual work" and "mobile work" are all used to refer to work done outside of the traditional on-site work environment.

Mark your calendars: Telework Week kicks off March 4-8, 2013.
Telework Week 2013 is the third-annual global effort to encourage government agencies, organizations and individuals to pledge to telework during that first week in March.

Mobile Work Exchange promotes Telework Week. The organization is a public-private partnership focused on demonstrating the value of mobility and telework.