Government Telework, E-learning Poised to Grow Hand-in-Hand

Though e-learning initiatives are widely distributed throughout federal government agencies today, their scope could grow much larger in the coming years, based on new “telework” memorandums emanating from Washington higher-ups.

Indeed, the U.S. market for self-paced e-learning will grow to $24.2 billion by 2015, according to a new Ambient Insight report that forecasts five-year online learning expenditures by eight buyer segments, including federal government, state/local government, education, non-profits/associations, and health care. The five-year compound annual growth rate for self-paced e-learning across all eight of the buyer segments is 5.9 percent.

More than 80 percent of government workers are expected to be eligible for teleworking, and surveys have shown that 97 percent of workers would telework if allowed. Yet only about 10 percent of federal workers are now teleworking.

To remedy that apparent inconsistency between program potential and actual implementation, the government officials have begun pushing telework programs — which necessarily means that more training/learning also will be electronic-based:

>> Last week, during a panel discussion at the Telework Exchange Town Hall, federal officials said that offering prospective job candidates telework options is an important tool for attracting top talent and boosting government efficiency — particularly when it comes to young hires who don’t want to work at the same desk every day for years on end.

>> Just last month, a memorandum from the Office of Management and Budget (“Implementing Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 IT Purchasing Requirements”) gave agency CIOs, in coordination with chief acquisition officers, 90 days to establish policies on working outside the office, identify eligible employees and inform them of the option. The law also requires agencies to name an official to manage telework programs.

>> In December, President Obama signed a law requiring agencies to appoint a telework manager, who will establish rules mandating wider use of the work-from-home option. Telework advocates say it is an economical and environmentally friendly alternative that will ensure continuity of government operations during bad weather or other emergencies.

>> And telework was cited in a presidential memorandum issued last June titled “Disposing of Unneeded Federal Real Estate.” The memo calls on agencies to accelerate efforts to identify and eliminate excess real estate and to make better use of remaining property. The program is expected to save as much as $3 billion through 2012. Telework, with employees working remotely outside traditional offices, is expected help to reduce the need for office space.

While telework can produce resource savings and reduce time, expenses and greenhouse gas production associated with weekly commuting, it also provides federal employees the ability to continue working during inclement weather, emergencies or situations that may disrupt normal operations.

Agencies that have implemented telework programs, either in pilot programs or in wide scale, are reporting improved productivity and morale. There are caveats, however. Numbers show that management is still resistant — and for telework to be successful, employees must be mature and have a total accountability to work.

Though e-learning initiatives are widely distributed throughout federal government agencies today, their scope could grow much larger in the coming years, based on new “telework” memorandums emanating from Washington higher-ups.

Indeed, the U.S. market for self-paced e-learning will grow to $24.2 billion by 2015, according to a new Ambient Insight report that forecasts five-year online learning expenditures by eight buyer segments, including federal government, state/local government, education, non-profits/associations, and health care. The five-year compound annual growth rate for self-paced e-learning across all eight of the buyer segments is 5.9 percent.

More than 80 percent of government workers are expected to be eligible for teleworking, and surveys have shown that 97 percent of workers would telework if allowed. Yet only about 10 percent of federal workers are now teleworking.

To remedy that apparent inconsistency between program potential and actual implementation, the government officials have begun pushing telework programs — which necessarily means that more training/learning also will be electronic-based:

>> Last week, during a panel discussion at the Telework Exchange Town Hall, federal officials said that offering prospective job candidates telework options is an important tool for attracting top talent and boosting government efficiency — particularly when it comes to young hires who don’t want to work at the same desk every day for years on end.

>> Just last month, a memorandum from the Office of Management and Budget (“Implementing Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 IT Purchasing Requirements”) gave agency CIOs, in coordination with chief acquisition officers, 90 days to establish policies on working outside the office, identify eligible employees and inform them of the option. The law also requires agencies to name an official to manage telework programs.

>> In December, President Obama signed a law requiring agencies to appoint a telework manager, who will establish rules mandating wider use of the work-from-home option. Telework advocates say it is an economical and environmentally friendly alternative that will ensure continuity of government operations during bad weather or other emergencies.

>> And telework was cited in a presidential memorandum issued last June titled “Disposing of Unneeded Federal Real Estate.” The memo calls on agencies to accelerate efforts to identify and eliminate excess real estate and to make better use of remaining property. The program is expected to save as much as $3 billion through 2012. Telework, with employees working remotely outside traditional offices, is expected help to reduce the need for office space.

While telework can produce resource savings and reduce time, expenses and greenhouse gas production associated with weekly commuting, it also provides federal employees the ability to continue working during inclement weather, emergencies or situations that may disrupt normal operations.

Agencies that have implemented telework programs, either in pilot programs or in wide scale, are reporting improved productivity and morale. There are caveats, however. Numbers show that management is still resistant — and for telework to be successful, employees must be mature and have a total accountability to work.

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