Study: Government Teleworkers not Provided Sufficient IT Support

June 19, 2006 ( - A recent study commissioned by the General Services Administration found that most federal government agencies do not provide sufficient IT resources to promote or sufficiently reap the benefits of telework by employees.

According to the research conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton, most agencies do not include telework in overall strategic IT planning or program development. Only three of the 20 organizations (15%) Booz Allen studied provide the full range of critical IT components for telework, while the remaining 17 (85%) provide partial support.

In general, the report said, most organizations do not give their teleworkers the same level of access to agency applications, data and technical support as their office workers. Also, agencies often do not provide equipment and services for the teleworker’s home office, such as a laptop or desktop computers and Internet access.

As a result, many teleworkers are using their own or refreshed excess agency equipment and personally funding their Internet connections, and they often are unable to perform all of their job duties at their alternate work site.

The researchers found significant financial benefits of teleworking using sample telework business cases that encompassed a range of agency sizes. The sample cases assumed that varying types of telework solutions, such as telecommunication services, were rolled out to support a 50% telework participation rate among staff. According to the report, “In every case, the financial benefits noticeably outweighed the costs, resulting in impressive Return on Investments (ROI) and Net Present Values (NPV).”

Booz Allen concluded that cost is not a barrier to companies that employ teleworkers since significant cost savings and benefits can be realized from investing in telework solutions and from optimal expansion of their telework programs.

The researchers identified and described the costs associated with expanding federal organizations’ telework programs from their current levels to wide scale levels. Considering actual costs of the required components, investments associated with scaling up to a basic telework situation range from $0 to $3,821 per user, and those associated with scaling from a basic to an ideal situation range from $512 to $1,420 per user.

The cost of providing the technology required to enable significant telework expansion is a small fraction of a typical annual IT budget, the researchers concluded. To successfully expand or enhance telework programs, agencies should incorporate them into strategic planning.