People and the Workplace by chenmeixiu


									                GSA Office of Governmentwide Policy

and theWorkplace

December 2001
                GSA Office of Governmentwide Policy

and theWorkplace

December 2001

                   he Office of Governmentwide    work environment that attracts and
                   Policy is pleased to issue     retains productive and satisfied
                   People and the Workplace.      associates. We address this theme
           This publication pulls together the    from a measurement-oriented
           work of some innovative thinkers in    standpoint in our companion
           the private and academic sectors,      publication, Productivity and the
           and adds a few thoughts of our own.    Workplace.
           The emerging concept of the            I would like to recognize David Bibb,
           workplace represents an integration    whose Office of Real Property
           of the disciplines of facilities       undertook this innovative initiative.
           management, information technology     With leadership from Stan
           and human resources management.        Kaczmarczyk of the Innovative
           Today’s workplace requires new         Workplaces Division, the project
           measurement paradigms, new             team of Joanne Shore and Ray
           performance models, and new ways       Wynter produced this original
           of thinking about what we in           publication. Additionally, we would
           Government do and how we can get       like to recognize the contributors
           it accomplished most effectively and   from the Federal government, the
           efficiently.                           private sector, the academic
                                                  community and the not-for-profit
           The readings contained in this
                                                  research sector. Without your
           publication indicate that, for the
                                                  dedication and participation, this
           Federal government, one way to
                                                  publication would not have been
           address the imminent human capital
           crisis is to provide a 21st century

                                                  G. Martin Wagner
                                                  Associate Administrator
                                                  Office of Governmentwide Policy
                                                  U.S. General Services

Table of Contents

Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ii
Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . v
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii
The 21st-Century Workplace
   Viewpoint by Myra Howze Shiplett . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
   The 21st-Century Workplace by Christine Barber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Please Hold, I Think My House Is on Fire
   Viewpoint by Dr. Wendell Joice                     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
   Please Hold, I Think My House Is on Fire
   by Gina Vega and Gregory T. Simpson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Telework in the Federal Government:
Three Case Histories
   Viewpoint by Gil E. Gordon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
   The Internal Revenue Service Hoteling Pilot
   by Adriane Thormahlen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
   Telecommuting at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
   by Debbie Cohn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
   The Office of Real Property Telework Pilot
   by William H. Michael, Jr. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Team-Building in a Virtual Environment
   Viewpoint by Deborah L. Duarte . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
   Team-Building in a Virtual Environment by Joanne Shore . . . . . . . 42
"Ready, Set, Go Home"
   Viewpoint by Madeline Caliendo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
   “Ready, Set, Go Home” by Carole Hawkins
   (Reprinted by Permission of Black Enterprise Magazine) . . . . . . . . 48
More Productivity-Related Initiatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Appendix A: Contact Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Publication Survey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63


        he publication that follows is                  of the workplace on every
        the result of the cooperation                   organization’s most important assets
        and effort of many individuals                  – the employees who make it happen.
and organizations in the public,                        We would like to specifically
private and academic sectors. We                        acknowledge the following
deeply appreciate everyone’s                            individuals and organizations that
assistance as we explored the impact                    helped to make our concept a reality.

Christine Barber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Knoll, Inc.
Gina Vega . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Merrimack College
Gregory Simpson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . AT&T
Adriane Thormahlen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Internal Revenue Service
Debbie Cohn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
William Michael . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . U.S. General Services Administration

We would also like to thank the                         Our appreciation is given to the
publishers of Black Enterprise                          Viewpoint commentators, who
Magazine for allowing us to include                     provided their expert insights and
the article, “Ready, Set, Go Home.”                     experienced perspectives on the
                                                        collection of articles.

Myra Howze Shiplett . . . . . . . . . . . . . . National Academy of Public Administration
Gil Gordon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gil Gordon, Gil Gordon Associates
Madeline Caliendo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . U.S. General Services Administration
Wendell Joice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . U.S. General Services Administration
Deborah Duarte . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Consultant

We hope that People and the                             example of cooperation and good will
Workplace is a valuable addition to                     among professional colleagues in
the field and a catalyst for further                    academia, the private sector, and
research efforts in this important                      governments at the local, Federal and
subject. It represents an outstanding                   international levels.
                                                        Stan Kaczmarczyk
                                                          Innovative Workplaces Division
                                                        GSA Office of Real Property
                                                        Washington, DC
                                                        December 2001


        he concept of the workplace       Some key themes that appear are:
        is the result of the merging of
                                          • Demographic changes will
        the disciplines of facilities
                                            support a greater emphasis on the
management, information
                                            People factors in the workplace.
technology, and human resources.
The Office of Real Property has           • Telework programs can contribute
advocated a process called The              substantially to workforce
Integrated Workplace1 to address the        satisfaction and productivity.
planning and design of innovative
                                          • Teambuilding skills are more
workplaces. We have also begun to
                                            important than ever in the
shift our performance measurement
                                            “virtual” work environment.
paradigm from measuring buildings
to measuring workplaces.                  • Successful “telemanagers” will
                                            build trust, focus on results and, in
In People and the Workplace, we             essence, become better managers
expand on the Integrated Workplace          in the process.
concept with new perspectives on
                                          A unique feature of this publication
alternative work environments. There
                                          is the Viewpoint section prefacing
are many researchers, consortia,
                                          each selection. The Viewpoints are
professional organizations and
                                          provided by experts with
academic institutions interested in
                                          considerable experience in managing
the impact of the workplace on
                                          workforce and workplace issues. We
employee satisfaction and
                                          think you’ll enjoy their insights and
productivity. This publication
                                          perspectives, including their
includes not only our own research,
                                          thoughts concerning the current
but also that of noted professionals
                                          Federal workplace environment.
in the private, academic and public
sectors. The articles address the         For further information regarding
three major components of the             workplace productivity, we
workplace: People (demographic            recommend that you read the
trends and organizational culture),       companion publication, Productivity
Places (environmental research) and       and the Workplace, which contains a
Tools (technology creates the virtual     cost-benefit model for evaluating the
workplace).                               effect of changes in the workplace on

                                                                                    1 We suggest that you look at our
                                                                                      publication, The Integrated
                                                                                      Workplace, for an in-depth
                                                                                      explanation of this approach.
                                                                                      Please refer to Appendix A for
                                                                                      further information.
                                                                                    2 See Appendix A concerning how
                                                                                      to obtain this publication.

The 21st-Century

Photo courtesy Owens Corning

The 21st-Century Workplace

by Myra Howze Shiplett
Myra Howze Shiplett is the Director of the National Academy of Public
Administration’s Center for Human Resources Management. Prior to joining the
Academy in 1999, Ms. Shiplett spent more than 30 years as a federal executive
working for both the executive and judicial branches of the federal service.

         ublic organizations have         can benefit an organization, its
         finally begun to recognize the   employess and its customers.
         value of their most important    Traditional supervisory and
asset – their employees. Ms. Barber’s     managerial techniques, which
article, “The 21st Century Workplace,”    frequently focus on control, hierarchy
provides excellent additional insight     and similarity, are not well suited for
into the complex relationships that       realizing the unique strengths of a
exist between people and                  diverse workforce.
organizations. The 21st century world
                                          However, one traditional value can go
of work is the world of “intellectual
                                          a long way in bridging this gap. Treat
capital” and knowledge management.
                                          others as you would like to be treated.
Employees are valued for their ideas
                                          Ms. Barber discusses the importance
and the contribution of those ideas to
                                          of respect for self and others, and I
the organization’s success. As the
                                          would add civility, in the workplace as
research by Daniel Yankelovich
                                          an important value for the 21st
(quoted in the article) clearly
                                          century workforce. If public
demonstrates, employees who are
                                          organizations truly want to realize
“happy” are much more likely to be
                                          increased programmatic success,
productive and to provide improved
                                          which is their bottom line, then they
customer service, leading to a more
                                          must treat employees with respect
profitable organization.
                                          and civility. Recent Gallup Poll
There is much additional research         research showed that 70 percent of
that supports Ms. Barber’s theories.      employees would fire their current
A number of private sector firms and      supervisor. That same research found
universities have conducted research      that satisfied employees are 44
on diversity in the workplace. The        percent more productive.
research demonstrates that a more
                                          Certainly, the world of work is
diverse workforce, when properly
                                          changing. The federal public sector is
managed and motivated, can
                                          just at the beginning of a significant
contribute significantly to greater
                                          change brought about by the impact of
productivity, customer satisfaction
                                          information technology, the
and profitability. This past year, the
                                          contracting out of functions, which
National Academy of Public
                                          were historically considered federal in
Administration’s Human Resources
                                          nature, and the looming retirement
Management Center conducted
                                          eligibility of more than half of the
similar research on the public sector
                                          current workforce. When coupled
and developed the same conclusions.
                                          with the trends Ms. Barber notes in
One of the most difficult challenges      her article – a more diverse workforce,
facing Federal managers today is          the breakdown of boundaries, the
recognizing how a diverse workforce       weakening of hierarchy, simplification

The 21st-Century Workplace

                             of work and life, the passionate           and use it to improve the programs
                             pursuit of leisure and the desire for      and services for every citizen of this
                             greater personal freedom and control       country.
                             – it is easy to see that a revolution in
                             the public workplace will occur during     We also need to remember that the
                             the 21st century. But with every era of    most important element in meeting
                             great change comes great                   the challenge is recognizing employ-
                             opportunity. At the Federal level, our     ees as an asset to be valued and an
                             challenge is to seize this opportunity     investment to be carefully tended!

                             The 21st-Century Workplace
                             by Christine Barber
                             Christine Barber is the Director of Workplace Research for Knoll, Inc., an
                             innovative designer and manufacturer of office furnishings. The Knoll
                             headquarters is located in East Greenville, PA.
                              “Businesses will increasingly pursue a second bottom line that has to do
                               with attention to the needs of employees and customers as well as
                               shareholders, not as a return to the 1970s idea of social responsibility,
                               but as good business - an improved second bottom line (happy employ-
                               ees and customers) contributes to a healthy first bottom line (profit).”
                                                                 Daniel Yankelovich, Chairman, DYG Inc.

                                     his prophecy, taken from a         how the companies’ shareholders
                                     1998 Knoll research report         had done over a three-year period.
                                     entitled The Second Bottom         The impact of worker commitment on
                             Line: Competing for Talent Using           company performance is astonishing.
                             Innovative Workplace Design, is            Companies with low commitment
                             coming true today in workplaces            levels from their employees had a
                             across the country. Another study,         three-year return to shareholders of
                             conducted by consulting firm Watson        76 percent; companies that had the
                             Wyatt, points to the same conclusion       highest rate of happy workers had a
                             - devoted workers make for big             shareholder return of 112 percent;
                             dividends. The firm questioned more        and companies with average worker
                             than 7,500 U.S. company employees          satisfaction were right in the middle.
                             about their jobs and their employers       These results illustrate the
                             and used the answers to calculate          importance of Daniel Yankelovich’s
                             their commitment to those                  “second bottom line” - attention to
                             employers. They then took a look at        employee needs stimulates profit.

                                                                                     The 21st-Century Workplace

Attract and Retain                        “employers of choice” - rate their
                                          physical working conditions higher
Many changes have occurred in the         than do their counterparts at other
American workplace since the mid-         companies. Hay also found that
90s. Less worker loyalty, more            people leaving their companies were
demanding customers, an expanding         not as satisfied with their physical
economy, and a tight labor market are     work environment as people planning
all conspiring to make “attract and       to stay. The bottom line here is that if
retain” a hot topic for fast-growing      companies want to compete in the
service, information, and technology      21st century, they will have to focus on
companies. This is in sharp contrast      providing satisfactory work
to the 1990s mantra of downsizing and     environments.
cost cutting, or “reengineering.”
                                          Now that “attract and retain” has
Companies today are faced with a
                                          become such a critical issue for
shortage of qualified workers due, in
                                          competitiveness and profitability, the
part, to a significant demographic
                                          profile of the emerging workforce
shift known as the “baby bust.” Baby
                                          created by Knoll’s most recent
boomers, those born between 1946
                                          research takes on an important role.
and 1964, number 84 million people,
                                          Who are the workers of the future?
while baby busters, born after 1964,
                                          What do they value? What are their
number only around 41 million people.
                                          expectations? What characteristics in
There are fewer younger workers to
                                          a physical environment will make them
replace older ones, and companies are
                                          more satisfied and more productive at
beginning to realize just how much it
                                          work? These are the questions Knoll
costs when workers leave. The
                                          wanted answers to. The company
Saratoga Institute, a human resources
                                          again worked with DYG, Inc., a social
think tank, has devised a formula that
                                          and market research company
estimates the cost of replacing a
                                          headquartered in Danbury,
worker to be approximately one-and-
                                          Connecticut. The research
a-half times that worker’s yearly
                                          methodology allowed Knoll and DYG
salary. Some companies say that
                                          to frame issues specific to the
their employee replacement costs can
                                          physical workplace within the context
be as much as four times the worker’s
                                          of the larger socio-cultural trends
current salary. In fact, high-tech
                                          identified in DYG’s SCAN program, a
talent is so scarce that it can cost as
                                          syndicated research effort that has
much as $150,000 to find one highly
                                          tracked broad social issues since
skilled, qualified worker.
Watson Wyatt’s research underscores
                                          The research base for this study was
the importance of an employee’s
                                          a very broad one. For SCAN, DYG
commitment to a company, and it
                                          conducted 1,500 telephone interviews
appears that an important contributor
                                          with a nationally representative
to that commitment is the employee’s
                                          sample of employees aged 18 and
satisfaction with his or her physical
                                          over. For Knoll, DYG added an
work environment. A study conducted
                                          extensive battery of questions aimed
by the Hay Group, a global human
                                          at workers’ hopes and expectations,
resources consulting firm, found that
                                          as well as on aspects of the physical
workers in high-performing
                                          workspace that impact worker
companies - in other words, those that
                                          productivity and satisfaction.
make more money and/or are

The 21st-Century Workplace

                             Six Critical Trends                     women are getting a majority of the
                                                                     degrees. The U.S. Department of
                             As we begin the 21st century, six       Education is projecting that over the
                             critical trends will impact people’s    next seven years there will be 9.2
                             attitudes toward work and the nature    million women and only 6.9 million
                             of work. The first one is demographic   men enrolled in college. Where are
                             and the remaining five are social in    the men? DYG did a study in
                             nature. The trends are:                 addition to SCAN for the American
                                                                     Association of University Women,
                                                                     comparing women and men and their
                             • A more diverse workforce on
                                                                     respective choices at various
                               many levels;
                                                                     transition points in their lives. For
                                                                     example, students were asked what
                             • A breakdown of boundaries;            they were going to do after high
                                                                     school. Men, given the current
                             • A weakening of hierarchy;
                                                                     economy at the time of the study, did
                             • Simplification;                       not think they needed a college
                                                                     education. They preferred to get a
                             • The passionate pursuit of
                                                                     technical skill (e.g., computers) or go
                               leisure; and
                                                                     into a service business like
                             • Personal freedom and control.         landscaping. Women, on the other
                                                                     hand, were thinking two things. First,
                                                                     they needed that piece of paper to
                                                                     succeed; and second, they wanted
                             The Demographic Trend                   the enrichment of the college
                             There are three demographic shifts      experience. Apparently, young men
                             taking place that will dramatically     and young women really differ over
                             influence the workplace of the 21st     the necessity of an education. This
                             century. The first shift will have      pattern has been developing for
                             profound implications for the office    quite some time, and educators
                             environment in the next ten or so       believe it will continue.
                             years: there are going to be more and   So the shift in the educational arena
                             more women in the workforce, and        is leading toward domination of many
                             many more in positions of power.        professions by women. There has
                             DYG Chairman Daniel Yankelovich         already been an enormous increase
                             sees the rising influence of women      in the number of women lawyers and
                             as one of the major forces of change    physicians; that trend is now also
                             in the coming century, one that will    making itself felt in the corporate
                             have an impact on all aspects of        world. In human resources,
                             American society.                       accounting, economics, financial
                             Why is this happening? First of all,    management - and in the boardroom
                             women are getting a bigger slice of     - the rise of women has been
                             the educational pie. In 1998, more      precipitous. In some areas, they now
                             than half of all bachelor’s and         represent the majority.
                             master’s degrees conferred in the       Through SCAN, DYG developed a
                             U.S. went to women. Today, there are    profile of the group spearheading
                             more women in colleges and              this movement into positions of
                             graduate schools than men, and          dominance: women who are well-

                                                                                     The 21st-Century Workplace

educated (four years of college or         percentage is even higher among
more), have a professional career,         college-educated women. These
and earn well above the median for         women are looking for respect in
their age. We will refer to these          other ways as well. Seventy-four
women as “S Class women” (with a           percent of 18- to-49-year-old women
nod to Mercedes-Benz) - the “best of       said, “Increasingly, I find that I will
the best.”                                 work only for employers who allow
                                           me a certain degree of flexibility,
Just who is the S Class woman?
                                           especially regarding work hours.”
She is much more self-assured than
                                           The better educated, self-confident
businesswomen of the past, and has
                                           woman wants to feel well-positioned
a lot of confidence in her future and
                                           to effect significant change in the
in her ability to adapt and do well
under any circumstances, no matter
what happens to the economy. She           On the topic of respect, our research
is sophisticated, thanks to her            has shown that providing a
education, and when it comes to            comfortable, attractive, and
work, she wants to be very satisfied       satisfying work environment is one
with her job. Interestingly, though,       way that companies can show that
the S Class woman has a very strong        they value their employees, and
belief that no matter how important        women are more emphatic than men
career is, children come first, and she    about having a nice workspace. Our
will make sacrifices for them. Also,       findings show that 65 percent of
she has a very strong social               women versus 53 percent of men
consciousness, particularly                report that having a nice workspace
concerning such things as the              is one of the key things that help
environment, and she is salubrious,        people feel better about their jobs
i.e., health-oriented. She is very         and enjoy them more. With
concerned about health for two             satisfaction at work becoming
reasons - energy and longevity.            increasingly important, employers
Energy is a big issue, because you         should not overlook the issues of
need a lot of it to achieve the            convenience and amenities in the
success of an S Class woman, and           workplace. Our study revealed that
it’s important to live long, and live      more than half of female office
healthy, so that you can enjoy your        workers with children under 18 would
children, your grandchildren, and “the     be more satisfied at work if on-site
life.”                                     day care were provided; half of all
                                           office workers would be more
Younger women are having a
                                           satisfied if there were a fitness
tremendous effect on the workplace,
                                           center. Further, one in three office
and the S Class woman knows that
                                           workers would be more satisfied if
she is going to bring about change.
                                           they had an errand service - dry
Clearly, she expects this to be
                                           cleaning, video rentals, food service.
acknowledged in the work
                                           Young women - S Class women - are
environment. A study conducted by
                                           the driving force behind this last
DYG for the Ladies Home Journal
revealed that 69 percent of women
say, “In the future I will only work for   With so many women in the
employers who let me have a real           workforce, what’s happening to the
role in decision-making.” The              American family? The “Leave It to

The 21st-Century Workplace

                                                                      and-coming late teen/early 20s
                                                                      group, up to 22 - they are living today
                                                                      in a much more diverse world,
                                                                      ethnically, than the boomer
                                                                      generation. This shift will affect
                                                                      taste, style, and perhaps
                                                                      communication within the workplace.
                                                                      A third shift that will affect office life
                                                                      in a significant way is the aging
                                                                      population. The older segment of
                                                                      Americans is growing by leaps and
                                                                      bounds, and it’s just not going to be
                                                                      possible for all in this group to leave
                                                                      the workforce. Think about how the
                                                                      workplace will change in the years to
                                                                      come: by 2030, the 75-plus age group
                                                                      is going to grow by 101 percent - it’ll
                                                                      more than double - while the group
                                                                      aged 55 to 74 is going to grow by 80
                                                                      percent. More and more older people
                                                                      are going to be working. In fact, 80
                                                                      percent of baby boomers say they
                                                                      plan to work during retirement -
                                                                      some at different jobs that they hope
Figure 1:                    Beaver” prototype - married couple,
                                                                      will be more fun, engaging, or
The workforce of tomorrow.   one income, kids - now represents
                                                                      creative than what they’re doing now,
                             only 12 percent of all households. If
                                                                      others out of necessity because they
                             you factor in dual-income families,
                                                                      don’t have retirement funds in place.
                             you still have only 26 percent of all
                                                                      As a result, the workplace and, more
                             households. “Married with children”
                                                                      specifically, the physical work
                             is no longer the norm. In fact, one in
                                                                      environment, will have to
                             three households revolves around
                                                                      accommodate an increasing number
                             someone who’s single - young,
                                                                      of older workers alongside young
                             middle-aged, or older. People in the
                                                                      ones. Appealing to such disparate
                             workforce now come from such
                                                                      age groups is going to be a real
                             diverse domestic situations that
                                                                      challenge in the workplace of the 21st
                             companies will have to pay much
                             more attention to the family
                             circumstances of each individual.        The Five Social Trends
                             This need increases with the level of
                                                                      The next five trends are social in
                             education. The research shows that
                                                                      nature. The first is what DYG calls
                             upscale, well-educated individuals
                                                                      the “breakdown of boundaries.” This
                             generally expect higher levels of
                                                                      trend, projected to continue through
                                                                      the 21st century, comes out of a
                             A second major demographic shift is      desire to decompartmentalize and
                             toward racial and ethnic diversity.      integrate all aspects of life.
                             When you look at younger entrants        Compartmentalization is the baby
                             into the workforce - Generation Xers,    boomer way of doing things.
                             who are now 23 to 34, and the up-        Boomers tend to think in the

                                                                                      The 21st-Century Workplace

following terms: “I love work; I have       senior management, say that
to give it 12 hours a day. I love my        businesses focus too much on
family and my friends; they get about       profits and forget about their
six hours a day. But I need my time,        employees and customers. Today, it’s
so I’m going to take five hours for         not the line worker or the non-
working out and other personal              corporate employee who’s anti-
activities.” As a result, the typical       business. It’s business that’s anti-
baby boomer day adds up to about 30         business.
hours. On the other hand, the
                                            As a result, the employee base is not
Generation X-er, the 23- to 34-year-
                                            a loyal, committed base any longer,
old, has a firm belief in balance. If
                                            and there’s lots of evidence to
you’re going to give a lot of time to
                                            substantiate this. In our study, 50
your work, you don’t want to do it at
                                            percent of all office workers strongly
the expense of family and leisure
                                            agree that workers today have less
time; so why not integrate work,
                                            loyalty to their companies than they
home and leisure? While you’re at
                                            had in the past. Today, workers
work, get the dry cleaning done, have
                                            believe in short-term attachments
the kids nearby, and take some
                                            and portable skills, meaning they
leisure time, then work in transit.
                                            must keep adding to those skills. In
Your life is fluid in nature, rather than
                                            fact, even when they know they’ll be
compartmentalized. This fluidity,
                                            moving on, workers expect their
driven by a re-evaluation of just how
                                            current employer to help them build
much stress and pressure we can
                                            the skills they need to keep
take and enabled now by technology,
                                            themselves marketable. Résumés
again affects how workers look at the
                                            are constantly updated in case they
workplace. In mid- to large-sized
                                            want to move fast. The social
companies, nearly four out of 10
                                            contract between employer and
office workers, or 37 percent, work
                                            employee - not the written contract,
from their homes at least
                                            but the implicit understanding that “if
occasionally, achieving some degree
                                            I show up and work hard and do a
of integration.
                                            good job, then I keep the job” - is
The second social trend is the              gone. Workers know that from one
weakening of hierarchy. There has           moment to the next they could be
been a loss of respect for authority        downsized and be on their own, so
spreading in this country over the          they’ve got to be self-reliant. Men
last 30 or 40 years that translates into    are more likely to have this attitude
less faith in any institution,              than women are, because it was men
especially business. This trend is          who really experienced the worst of
general throughout the population,          the late ’80s/early ’90s downsizing
not specific to any demographic             phenomenon.
group. In the past, it was mainly
                                            The third social trend is
people who weren’t running things
                                            simplification. The country is in a
who expressed anti-business
                                            stress epidemic, and people are
sentiment, while those who worked
                                            making trade-offs in the name of
in business, especially in
                                            reducing stress and overload. We all
management positions, were pro-
                                            experience time constraints - and, for
business. One shocker from the
                                            women in particular, guilt constraints
latest research is that 61 percent of
                                            - when it comes to home and family
office workers at all levels, including

The 21st-Century Workplace

                             versus work. One of the reasons we         environment. Expectations
                             got into this bind was the baby            concerning one’s wardrobe have
                             boomer credo that you have to “do it       changed dramatically as women
                             all.” A new belief is emerging that        prioritize downward. This may be
                             “you can’t do it all, and you shouldn’t    causing trouble for the apparel
                             try to.” Young adults, particularly        industry, but it’s making life easier
                             women, are leading the call for            for women.
                             simplification in everything they do.
                                                                        It also appears that not only the time
                             Sorting things out so you can reduce
                                                                        and energy given to work, but work
                             stress is the single biggest lifestyle
                                                                        itself is sinking fast as a life priority!
                             issue of the next decade. In our
                                                                        A study by DYG for Men’s Health
                             study, 75 percent of office workers in
                                                                        magazine involved conversations
                             mid- to large-sized companies
                                                                        with young men in college about their
                             strongly agree, “I often feel that
                                                                        aspirations in life and what makes
                             there’s not enough time in the day to
                                                                        for success. Many young men
                             do all the things I need to do,”
                                                                        believe that they’re going to “make it
                             underscoring the importance of the
                                                                        by the time they’re 30 and get out”;
                             work/life balance.
                                                                        they may work after that, but at
                             A comfortable, satisfying physical         something wonderful. They’re going
                             environment can reduce stress. So          to make so much money by 30 that
                             some people, particularly upscale          they will then be able to do anything
                             men and women, are buying their way        they want. While this sounds like a
                             out of stress through personal             pipe dream, it’s also an expression of
                             services, and they’re willing to buy       how work is losing ground as a
                             them on-site at work if they’re            priority. This may be the net result of
                             available. If you’re smart, whether        downsizing and the breaking of the
                             you’ve got money or not, you’re going      social contract. Corporations are
                             to find an easier way to do things.        paying the price for the courses of
                             This is where online services fit in -     action they took to ensure their
                             communicating online, shopping             survival.
                             online, and information-gathering
                                                                        The general disenchantment with
                             online. What most people are doing
                                                                        work is leading to the fourth social
                             is reducing effort in areas of life that
                                                                        trend that will have a significant
                             they deem to be less important. You
                                                                        influence over the next decade: the
                             don’t have to do it all. You can
                                                                        “passionate pursuit of leisure.”
                             prioritize, you can rethink choices,
                                                                        People will always have to work to
                             you can find balance.
                                                                        make a lot of money, but for many,
                             Another manifestation of this trend        their hearts are not there. Several
                             is how women feel about their              things are happening in the
                             appearance. When SCAN was                  workplace as a result. Workers want
                             started in 1987, 68 percent of women       more leisure, more stimulation, and
                             agreed that “you should put in all the     an environment that’s more
                             time and effort necessary to look          entertaining. We’ve all read about
                             your best at all times.” What is that      the “dogs at work” phenomenon -
                             number now? Forty-two percent, and         “I’ll work for less money if I can bring
                             falling fast! The casual-dress             my dog.” Today, employers are trying
                             phenomenon at work is a telling            new ways of pleasing people to keep
                             feature of the less-stressed work          them happy and motivated.

                                                                               The 21st-Century Workplace

Entertaining and comfortable
environments can make people feel
as if they are having a leisure
experience rather than a work
Leisure comes in many forms, from
at-home entertainment to outdoor
activities to spiritual pursuits and
the spa phenomenon. But at the core
of it is FUN. Whimsy, fun and
distraction at work, an apparent
contradiction, is actually a theme
that begs to be explored. Start-up
companies are already incorporating
the idea, and it is especially college-
educated Generation X and baby
boomer men who value more fun,
less work. Men now look to “non-
work” as a mark of status.
                                                                                 Figure 2: A “community room”
Finally, the fifth trend involves
personal freedom and control. There
are two aspects to this trend. The
first is the individualization of one’s   Figures 2 and 3:
personal style, wherever and              Alternatives to eating at your desk.
whenever possible. The upscale and        (Photos courtesy of U.S. General Services Administration)

Figure 3: Snackbar

The 21st-Century Workplace

                                                             educated are leading this trend,
                                                             striving for self-expression as a key
                                                             component of a successful life.
                                                             Second, having a sense of freedom,
                                                             or harmony and control, in every
                                                             aspect of one’s life is equally
                                                             important. The ability to personalize
                                                             workspace and work style is very
                                                             important - and that’s particularly
                                                             true for the best and the brightest,
                                                             the workers companies really need to
                                                             attract and retain. So, interestingly,
                                                             one way to satisfy people in the
                                                             workplace is to give them some
                                                             freedom and control over their
                                                             workspace. It’s about choices.

                                                             The 21st-Century
Figure 4: Analytical
                                                             The results of our research were
                                                             derived from a nationally
                                                             representative sample of office
Figures 4 and 5: Different work environments                 workers. The sample focuses on
for different workstyles: analytical versus collaborative.   workers in service and
(Photos courtesy of U.S. General Services Administration)    manufacturing industries and breaks

                                                                        Figure 5: Collaborative

                                                                                    The 21st-Century Workplace

them down in relation to how they         overwhelming number of office
describe their work. The majority of      workers feeling “stressed out.”
workers in mid- to large-sized            Sixty-three percent say that “having
companies, 67 percent, see                a nice workspace is one of the key
themselves as problem solvers, as         things that help people feel better
being in a managerial role, or as idea    about their jobs and enjoy their jobs
generators, while a smaller 28            more.” This means that two out of
percent see themselves as                 three workers associate a better
transaction workers who process           physical environment with a higher
forms and data. The fact that the         level of job satisfaction. Despite the
majority of office work no longer         effort made by many corporations to
focuses on clerical tasks has             eliminate the perception of the office
significant implications for office       as a qualifier of status, 55 percent of
design. Further, in the larger            office workers strongly agree that the
organizations, a collaborative work       workspace someone has is more or
style is clearly the most prevalent,      less related to the amount of status
with a small percentage of people         he or she has in a company.
working in isolation.
                                          Debunking the Myths
As we investigated the types of
                                          Many myths have been generated
spaces people are working in today,
                                          about the office, particularly in the
no dominant type of office emerged.
                                          latter part of the 1990s. One is that
Private offices are still a significant
                                          workers care only about technology,
factor, with 24 percent of our
                                          and not about space or amenities.
research participants occupying
                                          Our data refutes this. Although
them. Nearly 40 percent of the
                                          there is a small group that holds this
workforce occupy workstations, while
                                          opinion, it is clearly in the minority.
36 percent are in a shared
                                          Only 34 percent of workers in our
environment, whether open or
                                          research agreed with the statement,
                                          “As long as I have all the equipment
We also put statements to people          and technology I need, I really don’t
about work and workspace and asked        care how large my workspace is or
them to categorize their responses        how well furnished it is.”
from “strongly disagree” to “strongly
                                          The virtual office, “hoteling,” and
agree.” We focused on the “strongly
                                          working at home were given a
agree” responses (numbers five and
                                          tremendous amount of hype
six on a six-point scale). Results
                                          throughout the 1990s. The resulting
point to a strong perception that
                                          myth that today’s office workers are
more is expected of workers in the
                                          so on-the-go that they care little
workplace today, which seems to be
                                          about their workspace also failed to
leading to a desire for simplification.
                                          withstand the scrutiny of our
In our study, 64 percent of office
                                          research. Only 16 percent agree with
workers in mid- to large-sized firms
                                          the statement, “I spend so little time
strongly agree that “companies
                                          in my workspace that I am really not
expect a lot more from workers today
                                          that concerned about its size or
than they used to - workers are
                                          furnishings.” In fact, most office
expected to get more done and get it
                                          workers still are just that - office
done faster.” Awareness of this
                                          workers - with 73 percent reporting
expectation leads to an
                                          they are in the office most of the

The 21st-Century Workplace

                             time. Those who are company-              Ergonomic seating is highly valued
                             employed and working exclusively at       by workers involved in analytics, who
                             home represent only 1 percent of the      represent the majority of the
                             working population.                       workforce.
                             Productivity and                          Bigger is not necessarily better!
                             Satisfaction in the                       Concerns about size - having a large
                             Workplace                                 workspace, enough personal space
                                                                       for small meetings, and enough
                             We also fielded an extensive battery
                                                                       space for personal items - had the
                             of questions concerning satisfaction
                                                                       least impact on productivity, with 40
                             and productivity in the workplace.
                                                                       percent or fewer saying these are
                             For 16 critical items (three of which
                                                                       important. Results pertaining to job
                             revolved around amenities) we
                                                                       satisfaction were similar: It’s not
                             asked, “Would [each item] make you
                                                                       about bigger; it’s about good design,
                             more productive or less productive,
                                                                       personalization, and having the
                             or have no impact on productivity?
                                                                       proper work environment to support
                             Would it make you more satisfied or
                                                                       the work that is being done.
                             less satisfied, or have no impact on
                             satisfaction?” Following are the          The Privacy Paradox
                             results on productivity and
                                                                       Most workers see privacy in the
                                                                       workplace as a critical issue.
                             Characteristics of the workspace          Curiously, however, the “grass is
                             that 70 percent or more of our            greener” phenomenon is reversed
                             respondents said would make them          here: Those working in open desk
                             more productive are: having (1)           areas or workstations are less likely
                             state-of-the-art technology; (2)          to say privacy is crucial than those
                             storage space for work-related items      working in private offices. The
                             (where’s the paperless office?); (3)      proportion of all office workers who
                             the ability to control climate            say privacy is crucial is 58 percent.
                             personally; (4) quiet space; and (5) a    However, of those with their own
                             workspace that can be personalized        office, it’s three out of four, or 74
                             to the individual’s work style.           percent. Workers given the least
                             Considering that one of the critical      amount of privacy in the workplace,
                             social trends mentioned earlier is a      those working in open areas, value
                             desire for more personal freedom          privacy the least.
                             and control, it should come as no
                                                                       This result gives rise to two
                             surprise that workers would value
                                                                       hypotheses. The first is that there is
                             choice and personalization in their
                                                                       a process of self-selection - workers
                                                                       who really need privacy manage to
                             The next tier of items, endorsed by 50    get themselves into an office or
                             to 60 percent of the workforce,           gravitate to companies that will
                             includes (6) ergonomic seating; (7) a     provide them with one. The second
                             visually appealing workspace; (8)         hypothesis favors successful
                             lighting control; (9) privacy; and (10)   adaptation - workers in open spaces
                             an exterior window. So these are          have learned to be productive with
                             important at the moderate level. An       less privacy. It is important to note,
                             interesting point about ergonomics:       however, that workers who have

                                                                                     The 21st-Century Workplace

offices value the privacy enor            items placed in the bottom tier of
mously.                                   criteria.
Workstyle                                 For most of the workspace
Determines Priorities                     characteristics studied, there’s a
                                          high correlation between what
Three different categories of worker
                                          workers say will make them more
have significantly different priorities
                                          productive and what they say will
regarding the workspace. Analytic
                                          make them more satisfied. However,
workers are more likely to say an
                                          three characteristics stand out as
ergonomically designed chair would
                                          more important with respect to
improve their productivity.
                                          satisfaction: exterior windows,
Supervisory workers value the
                                          storage for personal items and a
private office. Creative workers
                                          visually appealing workspace.
(only 8 percent of the working
                                          Employers would do well to keep
population describe themselves as
                                          these in mind when considering job
creative) place more importance on
                                          satisfaction as a strategy to attract
exterior windows. It is interesting to
                                          and retain a productive workforce.
note that workers who describe
themselves as “transactional” do not      Conclusions
express a general preference for any
particular workplace characteristic.      Let us return briefly to two critical
                                          social trends that underscore the
Comparing Satisfaction
                                          importance of the physical
and Productivity
                                          environment and other, intangible
Workspace characteristics in our          factors that enhance the workplace.
study that “would improve                 One is the rising demand for respect
satisfaction on the job” that got a       on the job; the other is the rising
rating of 70 percent or more mirrored,    importance of the quality of life at
almost without exception, those that      work. During the work week,
would improve productivity. A             employees spend most of their
workspace that can be personalized        waking hours in the workplace. If the
to an individual’s workstyle - quiet      workplace is not comfortable, is not
space, climate control, work storage      designed to support the work being
space, and technology - not only          done, and does not contribute to
contributes to productivity but has a     worker satisfaction, workers feel
significant impact on job                 negatively about it. The physical
satisfaction. Privacy, the quality of     environment is a flash point to
the chair, and the suitability of the     employees. Space, equipment,
lighting all had similar ratings in       furniture, and amenities - in other
both categories, with 50 to 59 percent    words, the quality of life at work - are
reporting that these would make           all indicators of how valued and
them more satisfied. Once again, on       respected they are by the companies
the satisfaction scale, bigger is not     that employ them, and it would
necessarily better! A larger              appear that, for companies these
workspace, personal space for small       days, respect for employees has
meetings, and space for personal          never been more important.

Please Hold, IThink
My House Is On Fire
Please Hold, I Think My House Is on Fire

by Wendell Joice
Dr. Wendell Joice leads GSA’s Governmentwide Telework Team. He has
devoted the past 10 years of his career toward making teleworking an accepted
workplace practice within the Federal Government.

         he article that follows provides    reporting to them. In addition, consider
         some good and instructive           that interest in a “flat organizational
         AT&T management scenarios           structure,” which peaked during the
and lessons learned, which apply             1980’s, has been recently re-ignited in
easily to the Federal workforce. I           the Federal government. Agencies
would qualify the authors’ description       are being ordered to begin moving to
of on-site manager vs. telemanager. I        flatter structures. I believe that a flat
am still of the opinion that (using the      organization establishes circum-
words of the article)“…a good                stances and requirements similar to
manager is a good manager,” and a            those of telework arrangements, and
good manager is one who manages              requires similar management skills.
capably according to the organization-
al circumstances. In today’s environ-        When comparing the managers of the
ment, on-site managers also require          information-age versus those of the
the skills needed by telemanagers as         industrial-age, I think the article
well. Bear in mind that a growing            provides a clear and instructive
number of today’s on-site managers           contrast. In fact, I think that telework
already have remote workers (mobile          and telemanagement serve to highlight
workers who are not teleworkers)             this contrast.

 “ Instead of focusing on control, on finite projects, on monitoring behavior, and
   on the technical expertise of help desks and others as did the traditional
   manager, the telemanager’s focus is on building trusting relationships, personal
   and professional creativity, developing comfort with ambiguity, being a clear
   communicator via several media, establishing a high level of technical
   competence in oneself, and maintaining as a primary goal the reciprocated
   interest that results from the growth and development of Direct Reports and
   their participation in big picture corporate goals.”

I find it interesting that AT&T              equipment to projected average
attributes its increases in telework to      telework use, then this could be a good
more frequent use of unscheduled             lesson for the Federal program. I also
(flexible) telework arrangements             liked the point, which speaks for itself,
versus scheduled (fixed). For Federal        “Sometimes it is about technology.”
telework, this has been a controversial      This may become an issue of growing
issue in terms of equipment provided,        importance in the Federal government.
in terms of being limited to flexible but    In fact, GSA is conducting a major
minimal use of telework. If the AT&T         study on technology barriers to home-
program provides flexibility in fitting      based telework.

Please Hold, I Think My House Is on Fire

                               For similar reasons, I also found the    search for a practical and widely
                               discussion of management by              useful means of assessing
                               objectives (MBO) interesting.            productivity has yielded very little
                               Despite the organized approach to        other than indirect, assumption-
                               MBO cited, I think the process of        laden, and/or labor-intensive
                               MBO or, preferably, managing by          techniques with questionable
                               results (MBR), especially for white      validity. The focus on productivity
                               collar non-production-oriented           combined with the close relationship
                               positions, is still an understated       between technology and increased
                               challenge which may lean too heavily     production to create an imbalance
                               on factors such as trust, comfort        between attention to the quantity of
                               level, and favoritism. We plan to look   work at the expense of quality of
                               more closely at the elements that        work. Difficult-to-measure factors
                               comprise effective MBR.                  such as quality and creativity are
                                                                        completely overshadowed. We need
                               While the article does not focus,        a completely new approach to
                               directly, on workplace productivity, I   productivity assessment research
                               would like to conclude my                (such as breaking down work into
                               commentary with some thoughts on         discrete behaviors that can be
                               productivity and quality. Currently,     related to performance measures in
                               there appears to be a renewed            controlled laboratory settings) as
                               interest in productivity assessment,     well as an increased emphasis on the
                               especially for white-collar              importance of quality as well as
                               occupations. This ongoing and vain       quantity in workplace output.

                               Please Hold, I Think
                               My House Is on Fire
                               by Gina Vega & Gregory T. Simpson
                               Dr. Gina Vega is an Assistant Professor of Management at the Francis E.
                               Girard School of Business and International Commerce, Merrimack College,
                               North Andover, MA. She is the author of the recent book “A Passion for
                               Planning: Financials, Operations, Marketing, Management and Ethics.”
                               Greg Simpson is District Manager of International Marketing within the
                               Data and Internet Services organization of AT&T, a major
                               telecommunications corporation. More biographical information is
                               included in the paper that follows.

                               Abstract                                 continues to stand as a challenge to
                                                                        the success of telework programs.
                               The importance of selecting appro-       However, a different selection
                               priate candidates for teleworking has    process has often been overlooked
                               been well documented, and                in the goal of expanding telework

                                                                      Please Hold, I Think My House Is on Fire

programs. That selection process          attributed to corporate flexibility in
has to do with picking the right          terms of the creation of episodic,
person to manage teleworkers, field       unscheduled telework options and
workers, and remote workers of all        informal arrangements that
kinds. What are the characteristics       encourage the creative use of one’s
of a “good” telemanager? How will         time, space, and personal
the telemanager differ from the on-       preferences.
site manager? AT&T, a leader in
                                          Greg Simpson, District Manager of
American telework, provides us with
                                          International Marketing within
some suggestions via the
                                          AT&T’s Data and Internet Services
experiences of a telemanaging
                                          organization, provides a working
District Manager.
                                          example of the “typical” telemanager.
Introduction                              Simpson’s background includes
                                          marketing, account management,
In the not-so-distant past, the typical   sales, and operations. He has been
Bell System District Manager could        working for AT&T since 1992 in
drive (or even walk) the full physical    several capacities. Greg joined
area for which he was responsible in      AT&T as an Account Executive in the
a few hours. As third line managers       Manhattan Commercial Markets
whose focus was upward, towards           sales branch. He was hired initially
the higher reaches of the                 as a virtual office employee and
organization, District Managers           worked from an apartment on
experienced little or no contact with     Manhattan’s Upper East Side for
the workers who reported to their         over a year. Greg then joined AT&T’s
Direct Reports (supervisors or            Global Services organization where
foremen), and they liked it that way.     he supported a large financial
Those days are gone.                      services client for a few years before
                                          being promoted into AT&T’s
                                          International Network Services
AT&T has been a leader in                 organization where he served as an
advancing telework opportunities          Offer Manager, and later a Marketing
since the early 1990s, and the number     Manager. Greg was recruited to
of AT&T teleworkers continues to          serve as the Executive Assistant to a
climb. Their 2000 telework survey         Sales Vice President in Manhattan
shows that more than half (56             who had branches reporting to her
percent) of their managers telework       from Illinois, Texas, and Virginia and
at least one day per month, and 27        was later promoted to District
percent of all company teleworkers        Manager in a customer care
do so at least one day per week.          organization. Subsequently, he
Eleven percent of AT&T managers           joined AT&T’s outsourcing
telework full time, conducting their      subsidiary, AT&T Solutions, and
business in virtual offices at their      recently accepted an international
homes or elsewhere. The increase          marketing position in AT&T’s Data
has been accompanied by a                 and Internet Services group. Greg
significant decrease (40 percent to 25    has maintained a functional home
percent over two years) in formal,        office throughout his tenure at AT&T
scheduled telework arrangements.          and tries to work from home a few
Most of the increase is being             days each month.

Please Hold, I Think My House Is on Fire

                                                            In 1998,            telemanagers managing teleworkers.
                                                            Simpson             In this position, he had eight Direct
                                                            accepted a          Reports, each of whom also had up
                                                            promotion to        to a dozen people reporting to him or
                                                            District            her.
                                                            Manager in
                                                            AT&T’s Service      Fairy Tales Can Come
                                                            Provider            True: Building a Good
                                                            Markets             Telemanager
                                                            Customer Care
                                                            organization.       A misleading myth that has spread
                                                            His work            throughout the telework community
                                                            included leading    is that, in a riff on Gertrude Stein’s
                                                            the ordering,       famous words, “a good manager is a
                                                            provisioning,       good manager is a good manager.”
                                                            and                 This couldn’t be further from the
                                                            maintenance         truth in the case of telemanagement.
                                                            centers, project    Traditionally, a good manager plays
                                                            management          multiple roles (interpersonal,
                                                            teams, a            informational, decisional) 3 and
                                                            process             fulfills several functions (planning,
Figure 6: A telemanager takes           engineering team, and a group of        organizing, leading, controlling). To
advantage of technology to work         program managers. His team was          perform these functions and play
remotely.                               located across the United States        these roles, the manager needs to
                                        and, as a telemanager, Simpson had      develop certain conceptual, human
                                        Direct Reports who were also            relations, and technical skills.

According to management theorist Henry Mintzberg, a manager’s roles can be deconstructed roughly as follows:

Interpersonal                           Informational                           Decisional
• Figurehead: represents the            • Monitor: receives and collects        • Entrepreneur: initiates change
  organizational unit in all matters      information
                                                                                • Disturbance handler: mediates
  of formality
                                        • Disseminator: transmits                 conflict, fills in for sudden
• Liaison: interacts with peers and       information within the                  departure of subordinates,
  others outside the organizational       organization                            handles special needs for
  unit                                                                            customers
                                        • Spokesperson: disseminates
• Leader: provides guidance and           organizational information outside    • Resource allocator: decides where
  motivation to the work group and        the organization                        the organization will expend its
  defines the atmosphere of the                                                   resources
                                                                                • Negotiator: handles major non-
                                                                                  routine negotiations within and
                                                                                  outside of the organization. 4
3 Henry Mintzberg. (1972). The Nature of Managerial Work. New York: Harper &
Row, pp. 54-99
4 Ibid.

                                                                     Please Hold, I Think My House Is on Fire

These traditional roles are familiar to   conference calls with his Direct
us, and some of them are, indeed,         Reports and required them to have
played by the telemanager. However,       weekly meetings with their own
telemanagers handle these roles           Direct Reports. He also set up a
differently from traditional              conference bridge for some
managers, using a different               celebrations such as birthdays that
combination of the key conceptual,        allowed remote employees to dial in
human relations, and technical skills.    and participate even though they
The job of telemanager requires an        could not attend in person and enjoy
emphasis on a combination of five of      the cake.
the preceding roles: liaison,
                                          Simpson hosted monthly conference
monitor/disseminator, and
                                          calls/meetings with his entire district
disturbance handler/negotiator.
                                          and brought them together twice
These roles are supported by highly
                                          each year for a face-to-face meeting
developed technical and human
                                          that included training sessions. One
relations skills.
                                          of the challenges of the face-to-face
Liaison: Making The                       meetings was to be able to have
                                          everyone travel to New Jersey for
Team Feel Like A Team                     multiple days and still ensure that
Simpson’s first goal in his new           their work was being done and that
position was to meet the team and         client contact was not disrupted.
shape this group of managers into a       This was more challenging than
cohesive unit. Traditionally, this        simply bringing everyone together in
means calling a meeting in the            the conference room or auditorium.
conference room, introducing              The solution was to extend the semi-
yourself, listening to the                annual meeting by a day and provide
introductions of others, and sharing      the team members time in the
your managerial philosophy. But lack      mornings and afternoons to do their
of collocation can make such              work. Team meetings were held from
meetings difficult to design, with one    10:00 am to 2:00 pm and again at 6:30
manager working in a cellar in            pm for dinner, leaving plenty of time
Colorado, another in an attic in          for client contact in the morning and
Florida, and a third in a room off her    the afternoon.
living room in California. Imagine
having to meet and try to impress
                                          Sometimes, It Is
your new boss over the phone or to        About the Technology
try to coordinate the new voices with
                                          All employees were instructed to
the new names, differentiating
                                          contact their local phone company
between Sue and Suzanne, Jim and
                                          for a voice mail service that callers
James, Bob and Robert.
                                          could be sent to if the employee was
The resulting teleconference bridge       either on the phone or away from the
that was set up for the introductory      desk. As a result, each team
meeting was only the beginning of a       member had separate and isolated
series of technological solutions that    voice mail boxes. A collocated team
helped to cross time and space            ordinarily shares a voice mail system
barriers. In order to ensure that         and thus, has the ability to send
everyone felt like they were part of      broadcast voice mail messages to a
the team, Simpson held weekly             distinct list of people or forward

Please Hold, I Think My House Is on Fire

                               voice messages to one or more             not as easy when your team is spread
                               people. To operate as a team,             across the country. His ability to
                               Simpson believed that his                 leverage technology helped Simpson
                               distributed team needed these             to overcome this hurdle.
                               capabilities as well. He worked with
                                                                         People managing a project remotely
                               AT&T’s technical support and
                                                                         spend a lot of time on conference
                               arranged for all of his remote team
                                                                         calls, both internally and with the
                               members to have a voice mailbox on
                                                                         customer. What can be done when a
                               a single system in the building where
                                                                         manager calls someone whom they
                               he worked. He then instructed each
                                                                         know is working from home and the
                               of his remote employees to arrange
                                                                         person does not answer the phone?
                               for their calls to be sent to these
                                                                         One method that Simpson used to
                               remote mailboxes when they were on
                                                                         reach remote employees while they
                               the phone or away from their desks.
                                                                         were on conference calls was to
                               This unique technical action gave his     send an e-mail. Tied up on the
                               team the ability to send broadcast        conference call but sitting in front of
                               voice mail messages, but more             their computers, Simpson and his
                               importantly, it enabled them to           team could communicate via e-mail
                               forward actual messages left by           while being present on their
                               customers, ensuring that information      conference call. This process is the
                               was received accurately. In addition,     modern day version of a kick under
                               Simpson established e-mail                the table, whereby people could be
                               distribution lists so that he could       told to stop speaking about a
                               target a specific manager and her         particular subject via e-mail without
                               team, his Direct Reports, or his          anyone else on the call being aware
                               entire district. The same lists were      of the communication.
                               also used for voicemail broadcasts.
                               A high comfort level with technology      Making Assumptions
                               enhances the telemanager’s ability to     And Orders of Magnitude
                               establish good lines of
                               communication with remote workers,        When a manager does not see the
                               and the telemanager’s technical           conditions of a worker’s workplace, it
                               skills can shortcut the delays            becomes difficult to protect that
                               inherent in waiting on the line for       worker from egregious errors. An
                               technical support.                        employee who normally worked in
                                                                         the same office as Simpson needed
                               Monitor/Disseminator:                     to work from home in order to wait
                               A Kick Under The Table                    for a repairman. Not being
                                                                         experienced in telework and
                               One of the advantages of having your      unfamiliar with wireless phone
                               team all sitting outside of your          charges, he decided to dial in to the
                               traditional office is that you can grab   network on his home line with his
                               someone from their desk if you need       laptop. This was fine because there
                               them. When a customer calls to find       was a toll-free number. He also
                               out something specific about an           decided that he could use his
                               order, you can simply bring the           corporate calling card to make
                               person on your team who is                business calls and that would be free
                               responsible for the order into your       too, because he first dialed in to a
                               office to speak to the client. This is    toll-free number.

                                                                      Please Hold, I Think My House Is on Fire

This would ordinarily have been an        perspective. But his “non-chatty”
acceptable scenario. However, the         style was misinterpreted by
worker did not have two phone lines       teleworkers who were highly
in his house, so he used his personal     sensitized to the personal touch of
wireless phone for the calling card       collocated relationships and didn’t
calls. He was unaware of the fact         relate easily to the electronic style of
that calls to toll-free numbers are not   communication.
toll-free when dialed on a wireless
                                          As a result, Simpson changed his
phone. After spending the whole day
                                          style when sending messages to
talking on his personal wireless
                                          remote employees. He starts an e-
phone with his corporate calling card
                                          mail with a personal reference (“How
and using his home phone line for his
                                          is your son doing?” for example)
laptop, he was quite proud of himself.
                                          before getting down to business to
He was less so when he received his
                                          help keep teleworkers’ morale at the
wireless phone bill for that day and
                                          same level as those in an office who
realized that he had racked up $350
                                          socialize with others throughout the
in charges to the “toll-free” number
for his corporate calling card.
Clearly, some additional instructions     Close To The Customers
from his manager, some sharing of
information, would have helped.           One of the benefits of having a
                                          geographically dispersed team is the
Disturbance Handler/                      ability to serve clients with local
Negotiator: Why Is My                     support. The challenge occurs when
Boss Mad At Me?                           there are a disproportionately large
                                          number of clients in one region but
As a manager of remote workers, it        the team is evenly distributed. Client
is important to be aware that             concerns about receiving support
socializing is an integral part of the    from a geographically distant part of
manager-employee relationship. If         the country in a different time zone
you work in a traditional environment     were successfully overcome by
and see people who work in the same       showing them that the teleworkers
building, you say hello to them in the    did, in fact, complete several hours
hallways, the cafeteria, the elevator,    of work after the clients’ business
etc. Often the only contact that a        day ended or before it began.
teleworker may have with her              Simpson also used a system where
manager is a short e-mail message         someone in the same time zone as
that she sends or a brief voice mail      the client served as an emergency
message.                                  backup person in case a problem
                                          arose when his or her designated
When Simpson first started
                                          support person was not working.
managing the team, he used to send
off brief e-mail messages to ensure
that specific items were being taken      It’s The Skills That
care of. He started to hear that some     Make A Telemanager
of his employees thought that he was      Successful
mad at them and they were confused
because he did not seem displeased        Clearly, the telemanager needs to
when they spoke with him – he was         develop a specific set of skills to
actually quite sociable, from his own     support the roles just described.

Please Hold, I Think My House Is on Fire

                                        Instead of focusing on control, on       the final appraisal for the year, the
                                        finite projects, on monitoring           participation of the worker in
                                        behavior, and on the technical           establishing the performance goals
                                        expertise of help desks and others as    for the period, a desirable reward at
                                        did the traditional manager, the         the successful conclusion of a year’s
                                        telemanager’s focus is on building       objectives, and the design of
                                        trusting relationships, personal and     personal, career-based objectives
                                        professional creativity, developing      that mesh well with the corporate
                                        comfort with ambiguity, being a clear    goals as determined at the head of
                                        communicator via several media,          the organization. Trust also plays a
                                        establishing a high level of technical   large role in this arena as well as
                                        competence in oneself, and               knowing how much work you are
                                        maintaining as a primary goal the        asking someone to do and how much
                                        reciprocated interest that results       is actually getting done.
                                        from the growth and development of
                                                                                 It is important to note that, even with
                                        Direct Reports and their participa-
                                                                                 appropriate telemanagement,
                                        tion in big picture corporate goals.
                                                                                 working in a virtual office
                                                                                 environment is not for everyone.
                                        How Can I Tell If                        Simpson has experienced workers
                                        They’re Working?                         who are not productive when working
                                                                                 from home because they become
                                        One of the concerns that frequently
                                                                                 easily distracted and do things like
                                        arises among telemanagers is how
                                                                                 eating two lunches. He also knows
                                        can anyone be sure that the people
                                                                                 people who roll out of bed, turn the
                                        that work from their homes are in
                                                                                 computer on, decide to respond to
                                        fact working and not napping,
                                                                                 “just one e-mail” and, before they
                                        watching TV or sunning themselves.
                                                                                 know it, it is afternoon and they have
                                        The answer to this suggests a revival
                                                                                 not showered, eaten, or stopped
                                        of Management by Objectives5,
                                                                                 working since they started at 6:00
                                        where mutually agreed upon goals
                                                                                 a.m. It often happens to diligent
                                        are set and performance against
                                                                                 workers that the work pulls them in,
                                        those goals is measured. MBO,
                                                                                 engages them, and they work harder
                                        although difficult to implement
                                                                                 and harder, driving themselves
                                        unless there is full support from the
                                                                                 relentlessly without any pressure
                                        top of the organization and total
                                                                                 whatever from the manager. It is
                                        commitment to annual review of
                                                                                 important to be sure that the
                                        organizational goals, has proven to
                                                                                 work/home line does not become
                                        be highly effective as a short-term
                                                                                 blurred and work can be stopped at
                                        measurement and evaluative
                                                                                 the end of the day at a reasonable
                                                                                 hour. This is the responsibility of the
                                        MBO is based on four behavioral          telemanager.
                                        principles (feedback, participation,
                                        reward, and reciprocated interest)       I Recognize The Voice
                                        that indicate a direct correlation       But Can’t Place The Face
                                        between motivation to perform and        – Promotion From Afar
                                        performance levels. This suggests a
5 Peter Drucker. (1954). The Practice   developmental approach to                It is not uncommon for people to
of Management. New York. Harper &       appraisal, providing opportunities for   move up the ladder within a large
Row.                                    feedback from the manager prior to       office of a traditional organization

                                                                     Please Hold, I Think My House Is on Fire

because they have worked closely          This situation was creating a
with other people and have been           shortage of qualified people at
exposed to managers other than            headquarters.
their own. This is not always the
                                          Simpson’s colleague, like many
case for a teleworker. They may be
                                          others in New Jersey, was not
overlooked when it comes time for
                                          intending to fill any of his open
promotions or other opportunities,
                                          positions with remote employees.
especially if they are located in an
                                          However, after talking about the
area where the company does not
                                          benefits of hiring someone who had
have any offices. Not all positions
                                          experience implementing his product
lend themselves to working from
                                          for a product management position,
home, and not all managers see the
                                          he saw the benefit of promoting the
benefits in working from a virtual
                                          Oklahoman. This teleworker could
office. One of the people in
                                          offer good value to the company even
Simpson’s district who worked for
                                          if she was in Oklahoma City while
one of his managers called Simpson
                                          the rest of his team was in New
one day and asked him, “What are
                                          Jersey. This manager now has a few
you going to do to get me
                                          members of his team that work
This was an intrepid move for
someone that Simpson had never            Dealing With
spoken to before nor had had any          Emergencies
career discussions with. The
                                          The traditional manager need know
traditional District Manager, or
                                          nothing at all about the personal
“District Manager Past,” would have
                                          lives of her Direct Reports, but the
been shocked by the boldness of this
                                          telemanager often knows more than
action, as it violated the sanctity of
                                          she wants to. The development of a
the chain of command and the scalar
                                          high comfort level with knowing “too
relationships that were so beloved in
                                          much” about events that are
traditional organizations. But
                                          occurring outside the office is a
telemanagers need to learn how to
                                          valuable skill for the telemanager.
relate to people both several levels
                                          One evening, Simpson was on the
up and down within the organization
                                          phone with one of his virtual office
on a less formal basis. Once he was
                                          employees when she mentioned that
able to determine the worker’s
                                          she smelled smoke. The worker was
qualifications and her career goals,
                                          not terribly concerned, because her
Simpson was able to help her. The
                                          high school-aged daughter was
worker, located in Oklahoma City
                                          upstairs in the kitchen.
where AT&T does not have a large
presence, was frustrated by her           As Simpson and she chatted about
apparent lack of career opportunities.    business, the worker indicated that
After speaking to one of his peers        the smoke smell seemed to be
who managed a product                     getting a little worse. She shouted
management district in New Jersey,        up to her daughter from her
Simpson learned that his colleague        basement office to see what was
was having difficulty filling positions   going on. Simpson heard her yell
that had opened as a result of other      even though the phone was covered.
workers’ having taken advantage of        She then came back to the phone in
the voluntary retirement program.         a panic, asking him to hold because

Please Hold, I Think My House Is on Fire

                                        her daughter was not answering and      People who work in small
                                        she thought that her house was on       organizations or in non-traditional,
                                        fire. She set the phone down and        organic business structures may
                                        Simpson heard her continue to call      smile at the simplicity of this
                                        for her daughter as she ran up the      solution, but for those who work in
                                        stairs. All he could think of was       large, extended, formal, traditional
                                        whether he should call 911. Before      businesses, solutions like these are
                                        long, the worker was back on the        not easy to implement. They require
                                        phone with the full story: her          that the telemanager not be bound by
                                        daughter had started to make            what has been acceptable in the
                                        macaroni and cheese and then went       past, but find a way to creatively
                                        into her room to listen to music. She   adapt appropriate existing processes
                                        forgot about the pot on the stove and   to handle the needs of a changing
                                        could not hear her mother yelling       work environment while working
                                        over the CD player. Luckily, the fire   within the confines demanded by the
                                        was not serious but it could have       size of the organization.
                                        been worse if the mother were in a
                                                                                At the end of the day, bypassing
                                        traditional office, miles away from
                                                                                traditional methods, rules and
                                        home instead of in the basement.
                                                                                procedures may be the appropriate
                                        Simpson himself had to be prepared
                                                                                behavior of telemanagers committed
                                        to respond to this potential
                                                                                to improving the effectiveness of
                                        emergency from another state.
                                                                                their Direct Reports and the
                                        Counter-Intuitive                       efficiency of their organizations.
                                                                                MBO can help to establish personal
                                        Problem Solving                         guidelines for action for both the
                                        As in most large companies, at          telemanager and his staff because,
                                        AT&T supplies are purchased             according to the original intent of
                                        centrally in order to ensure volume     Drucker’s philosophy of management
                                        discounts and cost-effective            by objective, all objectives are
                                        purchase of commonly used office        managerial by nature.6
                                        products. The central purchasing
                                        department purchases pallets of
                                                                                The Future Of Telework
                                        printer/copier paper at a substantial   At AT&T
                                        discount. When dealing with a
                                                                                A “best guess” prediction about the
                                        distributed workforce, however, such
                                                                                future of telework at AT&T comes
                                        traditionally successful strategies
                                                                                from Joe Roitz, AT&T’s District
                                        work less well – the problem
                                                                                Manager of Telework and producer of
                                        Simpson and his district faced was
                                                                                its web site
                                        that it cost more to ship a ream of
                                                                                Roitz believes that the number of
                                        paper to a remote employee than the
                                                                                AT&T employees who telework will
                                        ream of paper cost. By the simple
                                                                                continue to increase, based on
                                        expedient of bypassing the “standard
                                                                                positive feedback from current
                                        procedure,” Simpson installed a new
                                        process by which teleworkers and
                                        remote employees could gain             Congestion resulting from the
6 Peter Drucker. (1954). The Practice   approval to purchase supplies on        Olympics in Atlanta forced many
of Management. New York. Harper &       their own from approved vendors and     AT&T employees to work from home.
Row, p. 13.                             avoid the added shipping expenses.      When the Olympics ended, many of

                                                                    Please Hold, I Think My House Is on Fire

these employees chose, as a child
initially reluctant to take a bath often
chooses, not to get out of the tub and
return to their traditional offices, but
rather to continue in the alternate
work arrangement. Roitz has
observed that the first teleworkers in
an organization could lead a lonely
existence, but as more employees in
that organization start teleworking,
the benefits reported tend to
increase. According to Roitz, “The
higher the participation, the higher
the benefits reported.”
As technology advances, it will
become easier for people to
telework. Cable modems and DSL
connections (Digital Subscriber
Lines) will increase the amount and
                                           Figure 7: One of the benefits of
speed at which information can be
                                           teleworking: less time on the
received by and sent from
teleworkers’ homes. Some
teleworkers who have cable access
at home indicate that they can
actually send and receive
information faster with this cable
modem at home than in the office. In
addition, the number of teleworkers
may increase as younger, more
technically savvy managers work
their way up and start leading
organizations that have not been
open to telework in the past.
It seems clear that improving
technology, a high comfort level with
technological solutions, and
identifiable career paths, coupled
with senior-level commitment to
emergent work structures at
alternate locations, spells a positive
future for telework at AT&T.

Telework in the
Federal Government:
Three Case Histories

Photo courtesy Owens Corning
Telework in the Federal
Government: Three Case Histories
by Gil E. Gordon
Gil Gordon heads Gil Gordon Associates, a management consulting firm
special-izing in the implementation of telecommuting/telework, in Monmouth
Junction, NJ. Since 1982 he has been working with private- and public-sector
clients on the appropriate and selective use of telecommuting and virtual office
strategies. His web site,, is recognized as a global telework

My Tax Dollars                             and business-like activity happening
                                           inside the Beltway and in the rest of
Are At Work!                               the far-flung Federal service. These
The phrase “your tax dollars at            three case studies bear this out.
work” is usually spoken with               Here are some of the more note-
derision, to describe a seemingly          worthy reasons why it warms this
frivolous or wasteful use of the hard-     taxpayer’s heart to read these cases:
earned money we taxpayers out here
beyond the Beltway send to                 • Close Your Eyes And You’re In
Washington. When it comes to                 Corporate America: It’s quite
telework, however, I’m glad to report        amazing to see how easily these
that I replace the derision with             case studies could actually have
respect, because these three case            been written about a private-
studies conclusively show that my            sector program; substitute a few
money is being well spent.                   words here and there, and you’re
                                             describing a typical telework
There’s a very loud noise when the           initiative in a Fortune 500
jaws of a roomful of corporate types         company. To be sure, there still
in the private sector all drop in            are some notable differences (e.g.,
unison after I tell them that one of         the mention of the role of an
the leading examples of smart use of         employee union) but in general,
telework today is the Federal                the text and tone of these case
government. I suspect this would be          studies is more business-like than,
a particularly joyous sound to the           well, government-like. This says to
ears of all the people involved in           me that people in government are
these three - and many other similar         starting to think more like people
- programs. After all, we don’t              in business - with a focus on cost
expect much from the mother of all           control, increasing employee
bureaucracies - many in the private          effectiveness, and so on.
sector probably suspect that quill
                                           • “Telework Is Impossible To
and ink are still standard-issue
                                             Evaluate” - Hogwash!: For
supplies in many government offices.
                                             almost twenty years now, I’ve
The truth, however, is quite different.      heard people complain about how
Even though the Federal government           hard it is to evaluate a telework
overall might not always be the              program, and about all the reasons
leader in adopting new work methods          why any attempts to do so will be
and technologies, there is an                full of more holes than a block of
amazing amount of fresh, creative,           Swiss cheese. This is nonsense:

Telework in the Federal Government: Three Case Histories

                                telework is hard to evaluate only if      Last, I find it interesting that the
                                you’re looking for a magic-bullet         use of hoteling and other
                                metric that is excruciatingly more        alternative office design
                                precise than any measures you’re          strategies runs so clearly through
                                used to using in the office. If,          these case studies, and through
                                instead, you’re willing to create         other Federal telework programs
                                what I call a “market basket” of          I’m aware of. If you go back and
                                measures - including a mix of             read the earliest literature and
                                quantity, quality, timeliness, multi-     telework, flexiplace,
                                tasking capability, employee              telecommuting, or whatever you
                                satisfaction, and customer                choose to call it, you’ll see that the
                                satisfaction - you absolutely can         fundamental concept is
                                do an evaluation. These three             decentralizing the office - not
                                cases collectively show that with         simply sending everyone home to
                                a little bit of persistence, a little     work. The work-at-home variety of
                                bit of assumption-making, and a           telework always was, still is, and
                                lot of resourceful thinking, you can      (in my view) always will be the
                                come up with a measurement                predominant form of telework in
                                approach that is at least as valid        the US, but other alternatives both
                                and defensible as anything used           within and outside the core office
                                to measure performance in the             will play an important role. A
                                office.                                   telework program that offers only
                                                                          the polarized choices of being in
                              • Telework Is A Secret Weapon:
                                                                          the standard office or being at
                                One of the themes that runs
                                                                          home is a very limited one; the
                                through these cases is the way in
                                                                          best programs today and in the
                                which the introduction of telework
                                                                          future will include a wider range of
                                is a deliciously sneaky (though not
                                                                          officing alternatives.
                                intentionally so) back-door way of
                                fine-tuning managerial skills and       Is everything perfect about these
                                getting teleworkers and their           case studies and about Federal
                                managers to put some long-              telework in general? Of course not.
                                overdue emphasis on planning and        For example, I find it frustrating
                                organization. When everyone has         (though nowhere near as frustrating
                                the luxury of frequent, close           as the participants do) to read about
                                contact in the office five days a       the prevalence of technology
                                week, it’s easy to get lazy and         roadblocks that in the private sector
                                sloppy about those Management           are much more commonly ancient
                                101 basics of time management,          history. I suspect this is because the
                                work planning, and priority ranking     IT infrastructure in the Federal
                                of tasks. But when some of the          service is the biggest of the big
                                office workers are working away         battleships to turn around, and that
                                from the office, more discipline is     the combination of policy constraints
                                needed - and that discipline spills     and budgeting delays prevent the use
                                over into the ways in which the         of better solutions. Also, there is a
                                managers involved manage their          toe-in-the-water kind of
                                in-office staff as well.                tentativeness (e.g., the initial one day
                                                                        per week limits) that is being seen
                              • Captain Kirk Was Right -                less often in the private sector; this
                                Space Is The Final Frontier:            is a vexing problem because the

                                             Telework in the Federal Government: Three Case Histories

more limited a program is in scope        change and drive innovation into any
and duration, the harder it is to draw    organization, it is doubly challenging
any meaningful conclusions about          when that organization is the Federal
telework effectiveness. This problem      service. The good news is that these
is going away, it seems, mostly           cases represent examples of change
because success breeds success            that benefit employees, management,
and wider implementation.                 and the public at large; the bad news
                                          is that for every case like these, there
I know that these three cases as          may be five or ten other examples
written mask any number of culture        where telework is mired in meetings
battles, power tugs-of-war, and           and memos in the bowels of other
policy development nightmares that        agencies. To those I offer
happened en route to the successes        encouragement and empathy - and a
described. The authors weren’t            reminder that the U.S. Patent and
trying to gloss over them, but            Trademark Office, the Internal
(wisely) felt instead that it’s more      Revenue Service, and the General
effective to emphasize the positive       Services Administration all survived
outcomes than the struggles along         those obstacles and you can too.
the way. As hard as it is to create       Hang in there.

The Internal Revenue
Service Hoteling Pilot
by Adriane Thormahlen
Adriane Thormahlen has over 20 years of experience with the Internal Revenue
Service (IRS) in strategic systems planning, reengineering, business process
improvement, organizational change, and total quality management.

    n today’s highly competitive labor    revealed that the most preferred
    market, flexiplace has emerged        employment benefit was
    as an effective business tool to      telecommuting. Recognizing the
attract and retain a skilled workforce.   many benefits this work arrangement
Flexiplace, also known as                 offers to organizations, employees
“telecommuting” and “telework”            and the community, Congress
(terms used interchangeably               passed legislation in October, 2000
throughout this article), refers to       requiring executive agencies to
working outside of the traditional        permit all eligible Federal employees
office one or more days per week.         to telecommute, to be phased in over
High-tech professionals in particular     a four-year period.
are increasingly enticed by
telecommuting as a way to balance         The Winter 2000 edition of IRS’
busy work and personal lives. A           Leader’s Digest described the
Washington Post survey of 3,500           growing number of employees
Information Technology (IT) workers       servicewide who successfully work
in the Baltimore and D.C. areas           apart from their manager and work

Telework in the Federal Government: Three Case Histories

                              group. Flexiplace is a work option,         new IS employees. Other studies,
                              however, that is underutilized in           however, have shown that a
                              Information Systems (renamed                substantial number of job
                              Information Technology Services but         candidates would choose the
                              referred to as IS for this report only)     employer offering flexiplace over
                              despite the fact that many IS work          those who do not, with other
                              activities are conducive to                 factors being equal. Flexiplace
                              telecommuting. To demonstrate the           can serve as a method for the
                              benefits of flexible work                   Federal government to level the
                              arrangements for both the                   playing field with private industry
                              organization and its employees, IS’         due to salary constraints.
                              Office of Information Resources
                                                                        2. Space Utilization. The pilot
                              Management (OIRM) conducted a
                                                                           found that expansion of the
                              Flexiplace/Hoteling Pilot from June
                                                                           Flexiplace/Hoteling Program to
                              to October, 2000. Hoteling is an
                                                                           other parts of IS would allow the
                              alternative work option often
                                                                           organization to reallocate a
                              combined with flexiplace since
                                                                           minimum of 23 percent of the
                              telecommuters spend a significant
                                                                           workstations for other purposes,
                              percentage of time away from the
                                                                           such as accommodating addition-
                              conventional office. For the pilot,
                                                                           al employees or contractors. The
                              telecommuters worked at home and
                                                                           ability to house the same number
                              reserved an available workstation
                                                                           of individuals in a smaller amount
                              only on those days they were at the
                                                                           of space results in significant real
                              New Carrollton, MD facility.
                                                                           estate savings and can avoid the
                              Key Pilot Findings                           need to lease costly space in
                                                                           other buildings. The potential
                              The pilot, consisting of 20 OIRM             annual cost avoidance, based on a
                              managers and employees, was                  participation rate of 100
                              successful in demonstrating that             flexiplace/hoteling participants, is
                              flexible work options can be a win-          estimated to be $414,000 (the
                              win situation for the IS organization        larger the number of participants,
                              and employees. Below are the                 the greater the savings).
                              findings based on data collected
                                                                        3. Employee Satisfaction. Pilot
                              from participants, managers and
                                                                           participants reported a
                                                                           substantial increase in
                              1. Recruitment/Retention                     satisfaction levels and quality of
                                 Strategy. The pilot data revealed         work life as a result of flexiplace:
                                 that more than half the
                                                                          • 93 percent achieved greater
                                 participants were less likely to
                                                                            balance between their
                                 look for another job due to the
                                                                            professional and personal lives
                                 ability to telecommute on a
                                 regular basis. For each employee         • 88 percent experienced a lower
                                 retained, the organization saves           level of stress
                                 the expense of replacing that
                                                                          • 82 percent reported their
                                 employee. The nature of the pilot
                                                                            morale improved
                                 prevented research into the
                                 impact of flexiplace as a                • 59 percent were more motivated
                                 recruitment factor in attracting           while telecommuting.

                                             Telework in the Federal Government: Three Case Histories

  Equally important, 100 percent of         focused, and were better able to
  the managers of the participants          plan, organize, and accomplish
  were satisfied or very satisfied          their workload at home compared
  with flexiplace as an alternative         with the main office. All of these
  work arrangement and understood           factors contribute to the ability to
  the value of flexiplace as a              produce higher quality and more
  business tool to attract and retain       timely work products.
  skilled employees.
4. Customer Satisfaction. The             Lessons Learned
   level of customer satisfaction
                                          Management Issues. Managers
   experienced by an organization is
                                          reported that no significant
   directly related to several factors,
                                          adjustment was necessary to
   including how well the quality of a
                                          manage workers remotely.
   product or service meets
                                          Participants highly valued the
   customer needs. All participants
                                          opportunity to telecommute and
   and managers reported that the
                                          most reported that their performance
   quality of work delivered to
                                          was greatly enhanced by the ability
   customers either improved or
                                          to work at home compared with the
   remained neutral. Participants
                                          office. Further, communications with
   perceived their customers and
                                          their managers substantially
   coworkers to be supportive of
                                          improved for a large number of
   flexiplace and indicated they
                                          telecommuters. Data also did not
   provide better customer service
                                          reveal any negative impact on team
   while participating in the
                                          dynamics, measured by the ability to
   flexiplace program. The
                                          conduct face-to-face meetings,
   satisfaction an employee
                                          absence of co-worker issues, impact
   experiences relative to his/her job
                                          on professional interaction with
   environment directly impacts
                                          colleagues and the participants’
   customer satisfaction as well.
                                          sense of belonging to the
   Industry experience shows that
   satisfied employees generally
   results in satisfied customers.        For flexible work arrangements to be
                                          successful, management based on
5. Business Results. The type of
                                          results is crucial. This management
   work performed by participants
                                          approach needs to be adopted for all
   was mostly program management
                                          employees regardless of whether
   in nature and did not lend itself to
                                          workers are remote or on-site. An
   typical quantitative performance
                                          effective communications discipline
   measures. As many as 82 percent
                                          helps to establish productive
   of the participants reported an
                                          relationships and build trust between
   increase in their productivity while
                                          managers and telecommuters. It is
   telecommuting. They indicated
                                          also important for managers to
   they completed more work, on
                                          understand that they cannot demand
   time and with no decrease in
                                          greater accountability from
   quality. The participants’
                                          telecommuters than they do from on-
   managers agreed or reported no
                                          site employees.
   change. Most participants
   experienced fewer distractions         IT/Technical Support.
   and interruptions, were more           Connectivity, both at home and in a

Telework in the Federal Government: Three Case Histories

                              hoteling operation, is essential to      arrangements: an easy-to-use and
                              satisfying the remote worker’s           accessible space reservation
                              ongoing needs in the technology          system; a method to track people,
                              arena. Pilot participants initially      their location and contact
                              experienced difficulties accessing       information; an automated means of
                              the IRS network both from home and       switching phone extensions; an
                              from the hoteling workstation. Some      effective means to measure use of
                              issues were part of the normal           office space; and the ability for
                              learning curve for both the              participants to easily manage access
                              organization and employees in            to files and storage, e.g., mobile file
                              transitioning to a mobile work           units, centralized cabinets, or
                              environment. Others were systemic        document management software.
                              issues that must be resolved to
                                                                       Since the sharing of office space can
                              adequately accommodate remote
                                                                       represent a significant change in
                              workers. For remote work to succeed
                                                                       work patterns for employees, the
                              on a larger scale, IS must ensure the
                                                                       pilot demonstrated that hoteling
                              following exists: a sufficient
                                                                       policies and practices must consider
                              inventory of laptops; expertise to
                                                                       the needs and expectations of users
                              solve laptop/equipment problems; a
                                                                       to the maximum extent possible. It is
                              clearly defined process for
                                                                       also important that the criteria for
                              expeditious support of remote
                                                                       participation in the hoteling program
                              workers and user-friendly remote
                                                                       be well-defined and administered in
                              access to all IRS systems, not only e-
                                                                       an equitable manner.
                              The pilot demonstrated that having       Cost Benefit Analysis
                              the right technology to perform one’s
                              job is the key difference in a           The cost/benefit analysis identified
                              flexiplace program that works and        the quantifiable costs and benefits
                              one that does not. It is important to    associated with the pilot, both
                              design cost-effective solutions that     recurring and non-recurring. The
                              meet the needs of the organization       analysis then extended the overall
                              and the end-users. Technology            costs and benefits into a three-year
                              representatives must understand          implementation plan for the
                              what is currently used, evaluate the     Flexiplace/Hoteling Program. The
                              requirements of telecommuters, and       implementation plan assumes the
                              properly match those requirements        acquisition of laptops as part of the
                              with available options.                  three-year computer replacement
                                                                       cycle and participation of 100
                              Hoteling. Hoteling arrangements
                                                                       employees in flexiplace/hoteling
                              offer a valuable opportunity to
                              significantly reduce real estate costs
                              by optimizing the use of corporate       Based on these assumptions, the
                              space. Pilot data confirmed that the     following table illustrates the total
                              following key features are needed to     projected hard costs and benefits
                              realize the maximum benefits of          over a three-year period, resulting in
                              hoteling and enhance satisfaction of     potential net savings of $805,838 for
                              participants and managers with the       the organization:

                                                Telework in the Federal Government: Three Case Histories

  Table 1: Total Projected Cost-Benefit
  Analysis of Flexiplace/Hoteling Program
  COSTS                       BENEFITS*                    SAVINGS
  Telecommunications          Real Estate Avoidance
  $675,722                    $1,242,000
  Equipment**                 Recruitment Avoidance
  207,900                     496,000
  Space Management
  Total: $933,022             Total: $1,738,860            $805,838 over 3 yrs

  * Not included are the intangible benefits of employee satisfaction and
    productivity enhancements.

  ** This figure represents the difference between a desktop and laptop computer

Recommendations                              • Commit to full funding of costs
                                               associated with the flexiplace
Based on the pilot’s key findings and          program
lessons learned, flexiplace and
                                             • Increase number of IS
hoteling arrangements offer
                                               participants in flexiplace program
tremendous potential to IS as an
effective recruitment and retention          • Develop IS rollout plan for a
strategy for skilled professionals, a          flexiplace/hoteling program with
viable means to increase employee              union buy-in.
satisfaction, and a business strategy
                                             In conclusion, advances in
to maximize space utilization. The
                                             information technology and
following major recommendations
                                             telecommunications now enable
are presented in order to implement
                                             work to be performed regardless of
flexible work arrangements on a
                                             location. The concept of a single
larger scale throughout the IS
                                             place to work is, for the majority of
                                             office workers in the Information
• Conduct a Systems Development              Age, outdated. It is costly and no
  prototype for remote access to             longer matches the needs and
  IRS network                                desires of today’s workforce. When a
                                             telework program is well planned,
• Convene a technology group to
                                             managed and supported, it is a
  identify solutions to meet needs of
                                             powerful win-win solution for
  remote workers
                                             employers and employees, as well as
                                             the community at large.

Telework in the Federal Government: Three Case Histories

                              Telecommuting At The U.S.
                              Patent and Trademark Office
                              By Debbie Cohn
                              For more than 10 years, Debbie Cohn has promoted telecommuting as a way to
                              save space and retain good employees at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

                                       he U.S. Patent and Trademark     guidelines have been used as a
                                       Office (USPTO) has               model for other federal agencies and
                                       expanded its telecommuting       private companies. The expanded
                              program for attorneys to include 90 of    program includes training for
                              its approximately 400 current             supervisors and participants and
                              trademark attorneys. A family-            specific guidance on administrative,
                              friendly workplace, the USPTO             customer service and performance
                              hopes to greatly expand the use of        issues.
                              alternative work site options for an
                                                                        To determine the success of the two-
                              increasing percentage of its
                                                                        year pilot program, the agency looked
                              employees. The agency, in
                                                                        at the following areas: technology,
                              partnership with National Treasury
                                                                        employee performance and customer
                              Employees Union, began a work at
                                                                        service, labor management relations
                              home pilot program for a small group
                                                                        and employee satisfaction.
                              of 18 trademark attorneys since 1997.
                              Reported results show that                Technology: Implementing a work-
                              productivity and morale are favorably     at-home program in the USPTO has
                              impacted by the work at home              presented some unique challenges,
                              arrangement.                              primarily in the area of technology.
                                                                        Trademark-examining attorneys work
                              As suburban sprawl and crowded
                                                                        in a production environment using
                              highways become an everyday reality
                                                                        one-of-a-kind automated search and
                              in the Washington metropolitan area,
                                                                        research tools contained in a number
                              employers and employees are looking
                                                                        of live databases. The program
                              to telecommuting as a way of doing
                                                                        involves the set up of a complete
                              business for the future. Some of the
                                                                        desktop work environment at
                              primary goals of the USPTO
                                                                        participants’ homes, enabling them to
                              program are to reduce time spent on
                                                                        perform all of their job functions from
                              the roads and to make additional
                                                                        a remote location. The pilot
                              space available in an agency which
                                                                        experience highlighted some areas
                              has seen its workload increase
                                                                        where technology improvement was
                              greatly over past years. In addition,
                                                                        necessary, including the need to move
                              providing a better quality of work life
                                                                        away from costly ISDN connections.
                              for employees will enable the
                                                                        The new system architecture is based
                              organization to attract and retain
                                                                        on internet connections and has
                              highly qualified employees.
                                                                        resulted in some difficulties with line
                              The USPTO’s comprehensive                 speed. The agency is currently

                                             Telework in the Federal Government: Three Case Histories

investigating transition to DSL as a      greater degree of work-related
possible solution for most of its         autonomy and responsibility. Pilot
telecommuters.                            participants made the following
                                          comments during evaluation
Performance and customer service:
Compared with a control group of
trademark examining attorneys in the      “The Flexiplace work-at-home
office, pilot work at home employees      program has saved me from two hours
were able to maintain or exceed           commuting time each day I worked at
performance goals. Productivity was       home. Instead of commuting to work
positively affected. In addition, an      I could put breakfast on the table, walk
independent customer telephone            my 10-year-old to elementary school,
survey showed that work at home           drive the morning carpool for my 13-
employees were able to provide the        year-old’s middle school and still start
same high level of customer service       work earlier than I could when
as employees who remain in the            commuting to work.”
                                          “The single most significant benefit to
Labor relations: All aspects of the       me has been a wholesale improvement
program were developed and                in morale. There is absolutely no
implemented in partnership with           comparison between the way I feel on
National Treasury Employees Union         my work-at-home days vs. in-office
Chapter 245 and through the PTO           days. The work environment here at
Partnership Council. A                    my rural Maryland home, with the
labor/management partnership              view of mountains, trees and wildlife,
working group continues to provide        possesses a general peace/quiet,
oversight over the expanded               which is a far cry from the urban
program. The working group has            office environment and, in my opinion,
been one of the most successful           a vast improvement. Participation in
partnership efforts in United States      this program has probably extended
Patent and Trademark Office history       my PTO career. Prior to the
and serves as a model for future          announcement of the…pilot, [I]
endeavors in partnership between          seriously considered leaving the PTO
USPTO management and union                or requesting part-time status. Since
representatives.                          starting [the pilot], these options
                                          seem less appealing.”
Employee satisfaction: For the
employee, there are many benefits to      For the organization, telecommuting
telecommuting. Most telecommuters         has proven to be an effective tool for
report they get more done and are         improving job performance, helping
more satisfied with their jobs as a       recruit and retain valuable
result of telecommuting. The              employees, and effectively utilizing
shortened commute decreases               new technology to conserve limited
employee travel expenses and              physical resources such as office
commuting stress, while enhancing         space. The agency has also been
the quality of work life and increasing   able to accommodate disabled
the amount of time telecommuters          employees or employees with
have for family life and personal         emergency circumstances, while they
pursuits. Telecommuters also enjoy a      continue productive work.

Telework in the Federal Government: Three Case Histories

                                             The Office of Real Property
                                             Telework Pilot
                                             by William H. Michael, Jr.
                                             William H. (“Billy”) Michael, Jr., is a Senior Program Analyst with the U.S.
                                             General Services Administration’s Telework Team in the Office of Governmentwide
                                             Policy. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the International Telework
                                             Association & Council.

                                                      he Office of Real Property      40 percent of the office teleworked
                                                      (MP) is a 40-person office of   regularly and another 8 percent
                                                      real estate professionals       teleworked intermittently (i.e., as
                                             within the U.S. General Services         needed).
                                             Administration’s (GSA) Office of
                                                                                      Of the total number of respondents
                                             Governmentwide Policy. In addition
                                                                                      to the survey (26, or 68 percent),
                                             to being the home office for GSA’s
                                                                                      nearly 58 percent were teleworkers -
                                             Governmentwide telework program,
                                                                                      all of whom worked at home, the
                                             the office has provided extensive
                                                                                      majority (75 percent) according to a
                                             telework opportunities for its own
                                                                                      fixed schedule. The remaining group
                                             staff. In early 2000, the office
                                                                                      did not telework for a number of
                                             conducted a survey to measure the
                                             success of its telework pilot, which
                                             had been underway for about a year.      • 25 percent are not interested.
                                             At the time of the survey, more than
                                                                                      • 25 percent are not comfortable
                                                                                        with it.
                                                                                      • 25 percent have issues with their
     Table 2:                                                                           manager or team leader.
     Survey Results on Telework Experiences
                                                                                      • 25 percent have other reasons
                                                                                        (e.g., teleworking is not a high
     Positive                                Negative                                   priority and assignments are not
     Ability to work w/fewer interruptions   Difficulty with remote access              suitable for teleworking).
     Increased concentration                 Problems with call forwarding            The survey respondents listed both
     and productivity                                                                 positive and negative experiences
                                                                                      with telework.
     No commuting hassles                    Difficulty with teleconferencing
                                             reception                                In addition, the survey touched upon
                                                                                      another advantage of the existing
     Ability to schedule appointments        Problems with technical support
                                                                                      telework pilot. In May 1999, a fire on
     and telework for the rest of the day
                                                                                      the sixth floor of the GSA Central
     Ability to work longer hours            Difficulty w/long distance dialing       Office building caused a temporary
     as needed                               (one person without a phone card)        disruption and relocation of Office of
                                                                                      Real Property staff. The existing
     Improved morale                         Inability to switch telework day
                                                                                      telework pilot yielded unexpected
                                                                                      benefits by helping maintain

                                             Telework in the Federal Government: Three Case Histories

continuity of operations for the office   appeared to view telework as a
until alternate accommodations            “schedule” rather than as a way of
could be provided. Of the survey          performing work in the most effective
respondents, 54 percent (100 percent      manner. Work should be planned and
of all supervisors) said their view of    scheduled (not telework times per
telework was affected by this             se) according to the most effective
experience.                               means for performing it. This means
                                          that both teleworkers and telework
Lessons learned about telework
                                          managers must be flexible in
during this period included:
                                          agreeing upon when and where work
• People become more creative             will be done.
  (reported by two managers).
                                          If a manager feels that an employee
• It is important to know                 is inaccessible, avoiding on-site
  teleworkers’ schedules.                 duties, not working to full capacity,
                                          planning poorly, or creating work for
• Teleworkers need to plan ahead
                                          others, the manager should frankly
  and make sure that they have all
                                          communicate his or her concerns
  the materials (like files
                                          and reservations to the employee.
  downloaded to a disk) they will
                                          The manager should attempt to
  need for teleworking.
                                          resolve any issues with other staff,
• Teleworkers should have second          technology, equipment, or protocols,
  phone lines or cell phones for          which may be causing the problems,
  better accessibility.                   and then give the employee an
                                          opportunity to improve. But, if there
• More protocols and better
                                          is no improvement, it would be
  technology/connectivity are
                                          appropriate for the manager to
                                          discontinue the teleworking
• Teleworking and desk sharing            arrangement.
  work if managers and coworkers
                                          Based on the results of the survey,
  are supportive.
                                          the following recommendations were
In return for teleworking three days      made:
per week, several respondents (8)
                                            Recommendation #1:The limit
indicated a willingness to share
                                            of one telework day per week
office workspace (or participate in a
                                            imposed on most MP employees
hoteling pilot). in order to telework
                                            should be lifted. It should be
three or more days/week:
                                            clearly communicated to all staff
Recommendations                             that there are no arbitrary
                                            limitations on telework frequency.
The survey respondents - including          Staff should be encouraged to
managers and non-managers and               work remotely as long as their
both teleworkers and non-                   work meets the same quality,
teleworkers - reported many                 timeliness, and quantity
positives about their telework              expectations as at the traditional
experiences. However, there                 office. There should not be
appeared to be a misunderstanding           situations where staff are denied
concerning the nature of telework.          telework opportunities solely
Many of the survey respondents, and         because they did not telework on a
especially those who are managers,          regularly scheduled telework day

Telework in the Federal Government: Three Case Histories

                                as implied by one respondent’s          indicated that they are not interested
                                comment show above.                     in teleworking. This implies an
                                                                        increasing need/desire for people to
                              Several respondents indicated a
                                                                        be remotely connected to their
                              need for telework protocols. Several
                                                                        offices whether they are officially
                              protocols were suggested to those
                                                                        “teleworking” or not.
                              who attended the telework training
                              before the pilot began. Specifically,       Recommendation #3: MP
                              teleworkers were cautioned to plan          program support staff should
                              for their work ahead of time (making        explore the possibility of acquiring
                              sure that they have all of the              excess fax machines and copiers
                              necessary materials that they will          for those who need them. (This
                              need); to plan for contingencies (for       would not imply an attendant need
                              example copying necessary files to          for an extra telephone line, as
                              disks); and to inform all of their          dedicated access to fax machines
                              contacts (including their supervisor,       is rarely necessary.) MP should
                              coworkers, and customers) as to how         also plan for replacing some of its
                              they can be reached when                    current laptop computers with
                              teleworking. After the pilot had            faster speed equipment. The
                              begun, another session was                  newer, faster speed equipment
                              conducted on telework tips during           should then first be given to those
                              which these ideas were reinforced.          who telework most frequently. The
                              A few of the comments made by               older, somewhat slower equipment
                              respondents may be attributed to a          could then be provided to new
                              continuing skepticism that people           teleworkers or to those who just
                              who aren’t physically in the office are     need/desire occasional remote
                              really working, but there is enough         access.
                              concern to warrant a more
                                                                        38 percent of survey respondents
                              formalized approach.
                                                                        reported difficulty with remote
                                                                        access. Faster laptops and higher-
                                Recommendation #2: A small
                                                                        speed ISDN/DSL/Cable lines may
                                working group of teleworkers,
                                                                        help, and improved technical support
                                non-teleworkers, and teleworker
                                                                        and additional software may address
                                manager(s) should be convened to
                                                                        other problems.
                                develop standardized protocols.
                              Several survey respondents,                 Recommendation #4: MP
                              including both teleworkers and non-         management should lobby the IT
                              teleworkers, expressed needs for fax        support staff to acquire software
                              machines, extra telephone lines, call       that would provide additional
                              forwarding, ISDN/DSL/Cable lines,           means of access to electronic
                              printers, and cell phones. Two non-         mail for teleworkers.
                              teleworkers also asked for laptop
                                                                          Recommendation #5: A group of
                              computers and a few teleworkers
                                                                          MP teleworkers and at least one
                              commented that they would like to
                                                                          manager should be tasked with
                              have laptops with faster speed. A
                                                                          developing a uniform policy on
                              few respondents also expressed a
                                                                          providing additional phone lines,
                              desire for computer docking stations.
                                                                          ISDN/DSL/Cable lines, call
                              Most of the non-teleworkers that            forwarding features, and cell
                              asked for these remote access tools         phones for teleworkers. Policy

                                             Telework in the Federal Government: Three Case Histories

  consideration should be given to        One survey respondent said he/she
  the frequency of teleworking and        was having problems making long
  the need for immediate access, as       distance calls and didn’t have a
  determined by the duties of the         phone card.
                                            Recommendation #7: All MP
The MP phone system is archaic and          staff should be reminded to get
does not address the needs of               phone cards and told that if they
teleworkers. The current call-              experience problems with getting
forwarding feature is inadequate. If        cards that they should inform their
someone at the traditional worksite         supervisors.
uses a remote worker’s telephone
                                          Several survey respondents ex-
line while it is forwarded elsewhere,
                                          pressed an interest in desk sharing/
callers will receive a busy signal as
                                          hoteling and docking stations.
opposed to the option of leaving a
voice mail message. This is not good        Recommendation #8: One
client service.                             dedicated work area should be
                                            reconfigured so as to pilot the use
There are phone systems that allow
                                            of desk sharing/hoteling and
for multiple simultaneous functions
                                            docking stations. All MP
on single phone lines without incur-
                                            teleworkers who are interested in
ring multiple function or line charges.
                                            testing these arrangements
(There may, however, be cabling/
                                            should be encouraged to work in
technical problems with introducing
                                            this area when on-site.
such systems into the Central Office
structure and/or IT systems.) Also,
many survey respondents                   Telework Pilot Update
commented on the poor audio quality
                                          As of July 2001, most of the
of teleconference calls. A new
                                          recommendations have been
phone system may be found which
                                          implemented. Both the number of
would address this problem also.
                                          teleworkers and the number of
  Recommendation #6: The MP               telework days have increased. There
  internal integrated workplace           have been dramatic improvements in
  team should study and evaluate          remote access, quality and speed of
  different telephone systems             hardware, available software and
  towards recommending a new              technical help. The Office of
  system which would provide a            Governmentwide Policy has
  more comprehensive approach for         developed a comprehensive telework
  addressing the telecommunica-           policy that covers equipment and
  tions needs of remote workers.          support for its own telework pilot
  Specifically, the group should          program, which now covers the
  contact GSA’s Federal Technology        Office of Real Property’s teleworker
  Service (FTS) about systems that        needs. A new phone system has
  allow callers to reach teleworkers      corrected most of the problems
  via fax or voice on a single number     identified in the recommendations.
  wherever they are working. The          In addition, the redesigned space for
  group should also explore options       the Office of Real Property includes
  for improving the audio quality of      plans for a hoteling pilot.

Team-Building in a
Virtual Environment
Team-Building in a Virtual Environment

by Deborah L. Duarte
(Dr.) Deborah L. Duarte assists teams and organizations in creating
environments and competencies that promote superior performance. She works
with a wide range of clients in both the private and public sectors, including
agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration and the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration. She is a frequent writer and lecturer on
virtual teams, and co-author of one of the books (Mastering Virtual Teams) cited
in the article presented here.

        he U.S. General Services            one of the most important questions
        Administration should be            teams can ask. Team-building
        lauded for its attention to         activities, regular face-to-face
creating a high-performance                 sessions, team web sites, protocols
environment for virtual teams. Many         requiring team members to interact
organizations will create virtual           and collaborate on video
teams without a lot of thought to the       conferences or audio bridges on a
type of environment, skills and tools       regular basis and attend team
that teams need to be successful.           meetings (even virtually) - all
This is usually a prescription for          become extra and non-value added
disaster as team leaders and                work when the actual task requires a
members, used to working in co-             working group and not a team. Not
located environments, struggle with         all work requires a team. In a virtual
issues such as:                             environment, where teamwork can
                                            actually slow the task, making sure
• how to build trust when you
                                            you need a team is vital.
  cannot see one another,
                                            On the other hand, once a real team
• how to manage performance and
                                            is formed, my experience has shown
  conduct career coaching when you
                                            that there is not a simple formula for
  have only met the people on your
                                            success. Although there are many
  team once or twice, and
                                            tools, methods and techniques teams
• how to interpret terse e-mails or         can use, experience shows that the
  other electronic messages without         most successful teams have one
  the benefit of face-to-face contact.      thing in common: they take time to
                                            know, trust and respect each other
The truth is that, although
                                            and are dedicated to the team’s
technology can make our lives easier,
                                            success. Creating this trust is not
if it is not used wisely it can also
                                            easy. Trust requires successful
serve to magnify interpersonal
                                            interactions, knowing one another as
issues, performance problems and
                                            people and showing care and respect
the amount of time it actually takes
                                            for the people in the team, not just
to get the job done.
                                            the task. In a virtual environment,
The article “Team-Building in a             interpersonal interactions become
Virtual Environment” points out that        more, not less important! Using
answering the question, “What               technology does not mean that we
exactly is a team” is critical in virtual   forget people! If we do, a virtual
teaming. In my experience, this is          team might experience, at a

Team-Building in a Virtual Environment

                               minimum, performance problems            the phone much less than we did.
                               and, more important, might actually      Often they use e-mail and instant
                               make the work environment more           messaging on a more frequent basis!
                               sterile and impersonal. Having face-     Maybe the day will come when we do
                               to-face meetings is important,           not need to hear a human voice and
                               talking about weekends is critical,      its inflection to have a relationship.
                               and taking the time to call and just     But today, making sure that virtual
                               see how people are more important        teams take into account a human
                               in a virtual team.                       face is something that team leaders
                                                                        and members cannot forget.
                               I am told by teenagers that they use

                               Team-Building in
                               a Virtual Environment
                               by Joanne Shore
                               Joanne Shore is a Program Analyst in the Innovative Workplaces Division of
                               GSA’s Office of Governmentwide Policy.

                                        he U.S. General Services        a first step, several of the
                                        Administration, along with      representatives reviewed the current
                                        the U.S. Office of Personnel    research and literature on virtual
                               Management, has played a key role in     teams, the highlights of which are
                               making “family-friendly” work            presented here.
                               options part of the Federal
                               environment. With recent legislation     Research Findings
                               focused on Federal teleworking,          on Virtual Teams
                               GSA’s Office of Governmentwide
                                                                        Teams have become a way of life in
                               Policy (OGP) has embarked this year
                                                                        both the public and private sectors.
                               (2001) on an organizational telework
                                                                        They are one of the few work
                               effort. In implementing this effort,
                                                                        arrangements that enable the
                               however, the issue was raised: How
                                                                        knowledge and experience of many to
                               can our organization maintain its
                                                                        be used to solve increasingly
                               “team-based” workstyle in a virtual
                                                                        complex and difficult problems. One
                                                                        of the issues facing those who wish
                               OGP’s Office of Real Property            to implement a team-based work
                               developed an initiative in August        environment is the question, “What
                               2000 to address this issue.              exactly is a “team”? For our
                               Representatives from OGP were            purposes here, a team is defined as
                               tasked with recommending a training      “a small number of people with
                               program that would address the           complementary skills committed to a
                               special requirements of team             common purpose (interdependent),
                               building in a virtual environment. As    specific performance goals, and a

                                                                      Team-Building in a Virtual Environment

common working approach, with              contributions of virtual teams,
mutual accountability.”                    measurement by results, support
                                           of alternative work arrangements
The nature of teams has changed
                                           such as telecommuting
significantly over the past several
years, reflecting similar changes in     • Training and on-the-job education
the work environment. Technology           and development:
has played a key role in driving these
                                         • Standard organizational and team
changes - consider the Federal
government’s current emphasis on
knowledge management and                 • Use of electronic communication
collaborative work, the use of             and collaboration technology:
alternative workplace strategies
                                         • Organizational culture
such as telecommuting, and the rise
of E-government. The traditional         • Top leadership support of virtual
team was usually managed by a              teams
single Team Leader and consisted of
                                         • Team-leader and team-member
a fixed membership drawn from one
organization, co-located geograph-
ically and organizationally. With        Virtual teams need the same things
today’s distributed work environment,    all teams need: a clear mission, an
as well as the need to attract and       explicit statement of roles and
retain a “worldclass” workforce,         responsibilities, communication
teams have adapted by becoming           options which serve the team’s
more flexible, both in membership        different needs, and opportunities to
and location - giving rise to the        learn and change direction. But
“virtual” or “remote” team.              virtual teams have unique problems
                                         that are not easy to solve, due to the
A virtual team is defined as “a team
                                         complexity of communicating over
that works across space, time, and
                                         time, distance, and organizations.
boundaries with links strengthened
                                         While the “tools” (technology) of
by webs of communication
                                         virtual teams usually get most of the
technology.” Virtual teams often are
                                         attention, the “people” issues
formed as a reaction to a business
                                         (leadership, group dynamics) cannot
requirement or as a result of
                                         be overlooked. After all, the use of
programs, such as telecommuting,
                                         advanced “tools” such as groupware
which introduce new ways of
                                         is no guarantee of success.
working. While organizations have
had remote sites for many years, the     Few people have really grappled with
difference now is that people at         the human resources aspects of
different locations are increasingly     trying to lead and manage teams that
being asked to work interdependently     are connected by distance in space
and to share accountability for a        and time. More often than not,
single product, project, or outcome.     organizations and team leaders pay
                                         little systematic attention to
According to Duarte and Snyder,
                                         developing the competencies that
there are seven critical success
                                         team leaders - as well as team
factors for virtual teams:                                                        7 D.L. Duarte and N.T.Snyder (1999).
                                         members - need in a virtual
• Human resource policies: Reward        environment. For example, when           Mastering Virtual Teams. San
  systems that recognize                 virtual team leaders are asked about     Francisco: Jossey-Bass, pp. 12-15.

Team-Building in a Virtual Environment

                               the biggest challenge in leading a        Katzenbach, J.R. and Smith, D.K.
                               virtual team, they usually mention        (1993). The Wisdom of Teams. Boston:
                               the increased sense of burden and         Harvard Business School Press.
                               responsibility it places on them. The
                                                                         Lipnack, J. & Stamps, J. (1997).
                               team leader usually feels as if he or
                                                                         Virtual Teams. New York: John Wiley
                               she is the “glue” that holds the team
                                                                         & Sons, Inc.
                               together. Virtual team members,
                               when asked about the “downside” of        Online Resources
                               working in virtual teams, almost
                                                                         Center for the Study of Work Teams
                               always say that they are afraid that
                               their careers will suffer. 8
                                                                         The Center, part of the University of
                               As mentioned previously, the find-        North Texas, has a website focused
                               ings presented here are indicative of     on teams, including virtual teams.
                               the overall research effort. Through
                                                                         Working by Wire (http://www.knowab.
                               this effort, the OGP representatives
                               gained a baseline of knowledge
                                                                         consulting firm that maintains a
                               concerning the nature of virtual
                                                                         website with information and studies
                               teams and were better prepared to
                                                                         on virtual teams.
                               take the next step - participation in a
                               team-building course.                     Training Virtual
                                                                         Teams: Observations
                               Resources on                              and Recommendations
                               Virtual Teams
                                                                         To assess what training was
                                For those of you interested in           currently available on virtual teams,
                               learning more about virtual teams,        the OGP representatives attended a
                               the following resources (which were       team-building and leadership course
                               used in researching this article) may     held in May 2001 at the Eastern
                               be helpful.                               Management Development Center
                               Books                                     (EMDC) in Shepherdstown, West
                                                                         Virginia. Each representative
                               Duarte, D. L. and Snyder, N.T. (1999).    participated to the fullest extent in
                               Mastering Virtual Teams. San              the weeklong course, which
                               Francisco: Jossey-Bass.                   emphasized “experiential learning”
                               Froggatt, Cynthia C.: (2001) Work         opportunities. These opportunities
                               Naked: Eight Essential Principles for     included various team-building
                               Peak Performance in the Virtual           exercises that graphically illustrated
                               Workplace. San Francisco: Jossey-         the “six secrets to effective teams,”
                               Bass.                                     as described in the course:

                               Grenier, R. and Metes, G. (1995).         • Competent leadership
                               Going Virtual. Upper Saddle River,        • Communication
                               NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
                                                                         • Conflict resolution
                               Hoefling, Trina (2001). Working
                               Virtually: Managing People for            • Collaboration
                               Successful Virtual Teams and              • Creativity, and
                               Organizations. Sterling, VA: Stylus
8 Duarte and Snyder, p. 81     Publishing.                               • Camaraderie.

                                                                    Team-Building in a Virtual Environment

In addition, the OGP representatives    was needed in covering key topics
found that many of the participants     such as communications and
(almost all of whom were from other     collaboration, especially given the
Federal agencies) were eager to hear    increased complexity resulting from
more about teleworking and the OGP      a virtual environment.
                                        The research findings had already
Following the EMDC course, the          shown that leading (and participating
OGP group met to discuss what they      in) a virtual team requires the
had learned about team building and     development of additional
what elements needed to be              competencies (e.g., using electronic
emphasized in a virtual environment.    communication and collaboration
For the most part, the group found      technologies effectively) that go
the course content extremely useful.    beyond the traditional ones found in
Some of the exercises and material      a team-building course. These
proved helpful for improving self-      competencies should be addressed
knowledge as well as for                in a training course that deals with
understanding what makes teams          special requirements for all team
effective. The EMDC course              roles. In addition, any training on
emphasized that certain “secrets”       virtual teams should include a
are characteristic of all successful    discussion of the critical success
teams - virtual or not.                 factors, as mentioned in Duarte and
                                        Snyder. Finally, the personal
However, the OGP group concluded        experiences of the OGP
that the course did not address some    representatives in dealing with a
of the requirements of virtual teams.   virtual work environment (e.g.,
Suggestions concerning course           through telecommuting and travel)
improvement included fewer (and         underscore the need to provide
less physical) team exercises and the   information on the tools and
addition of a virtual team-building     techniques used to enhance team
“simulation” exercise. More time        performance and productivity.

“Ready, Set,
 Go Home”
“Ready, Set, Go Home”

by Madeline Caliendo
Madeline Caliendo is the Associate Administrator for the Office of Civil Rights,
U.S. General Services Administration. Prior to coming to GSA, Madeline was an
attorney at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) where she
developed an expertise in Federal Sector EEO law and practice.

    n the article, “Ready, Set, Go        opportunity. What do I mean? As I
    Home,” Carole Hawkins notes           see it, telework opens the door of
    that Federal and state                opportunity for employers to hire the
governments have been the front           best and brightest for a particular
runners of the telecommuting              position, even if that individual is not
movement. I am not surprised. The         geographically near the workplace. It
Federal government, and many state        also enables employers to retain
and local governments, have been at       valued staff who because of either
the forefront of many forward-            circumstance or desire work from
thinking movements. This is true in       home. Telework also provides a
the civil rights arena, as well.          means for an employer to diversify
                                          its workforce. If an employer is in a
The Federal government strives to be
                                          locale that has limited demographic
the model employer when it comes to
                                          diversity, perhaps the diversity
equal employment opportunity. To
                                          sought can be found and maintained
this end, it has implemented many
                                          through a long-distance telework
policies and practices to level the
proverbial playing field. For example,
Executive Order 13164 requires each       Not all jobs are appropriate for
Federal agency to develop                 telework, and not all people are good
procedures for disabled employees         candidates for teleworkers.
and applicants to request reasonable      However, I expect many more are
accommodation. Why? So that each          than we currently think. The benefits
Federal agency can meaningfully and       of telework—a potentially better
efficiently respond to requests for       qualified and diverse workforce,
reasonable accommodation. This will       employees who are more satisfied
help breakdown the barriers faced by      and engaged in their work (i.e.:
people with disabilities in the           American Express), reduced traffic
Federal workplace. Interestingly,         and congestion in the local
telework is a form of reasonable          community, employer’s saved
accommodation that many employers         operating costs, and a cleaner and
provide to qualified associates with      safer environment are all compelling.
physical and mental disabilities.         Therefore, I think it is only a matter
                                          of time before more employers and
There is no right to telecommute.
                                          employees jump on the telework
However, the spirit behind telework
                                          bandwagon. I tip my hat to telework
is akin to the spirit behind the
                                          champions such as Wendell Joice at
various anti-discrimination laws.
                                          GSA, and Roger Madison, Jr. at IBM.
That is, there is the potential to open
                                          Their example sets the stage for our
the doors of equal employment
                                          teleworking future.

“Ready, Set, Go Home”

                                     “Ready, Set, Go Home” 9
                                     by Carole Hawkins
                                     If your employer told you to go home, you might think you were being fired. But if
                                     you’re longing to join today’s army of home-based workers, this couldn’t be better

                                                ith the proliferation of        effective at home; you’ll have to
                                                electronic and mobile           present a strong case to your
                                                communications devices,         employer. If the telecommuting
                                     portable PCs, high-speed Internet          concept is new to your employer, you
                                     access, and ASPs, more companies           may find that you have an uphill,
                                     are realizing the benefits of              though not impossible, battle. The
                                     telecommuting (also called                 next thing to do is consider how you
                                     teleworking). Federal and state            can increase customer satisfaction,
                                     governments were forerunners in the        thereby improving your employer’s
                                     research and promotion of                  reason for existing—the bottom line.
                                     telecommuting programs. Their
                                                                                One situation, real or imagined, that
                                     motives included minimizing traffic
                                                                                employers fear is loss of control.
                                     congestion, cutting operating costs,
                                                                                Therefore, if you want to
                                     and protecting the environment.
                                                                                telecommute, you must prove you’re
                                     Other leaders were the technology
                                                                                reliable and can work well
                                     companies that produce the products
                                                                                independently. Both you and your
                                     that enable you to take your office
                                                                                manager must work to achieve the
                                     anywhere. Companies like IBM,
                                                                                right blend of trust for effective
                                     Cisco Systems, and Symantec
                                                                                communication. You might want to
                                     employ thousands who work full- or
                                                                                consider a telecommuting
                                     part-time from home-based offices.
                                                                                arrangement where, say, you spend
                                     American Express backed into its
                                                                                half the week at home and the other
                                     telecommuting program. When its
                                                                                days in the office. You might also
                                     customer service employees’
                                                                                propose a trial or test period to see
                                     productivity declined, the company
                                                                                how the arrangement works. Set a
                                     researched the problem, then set up
                                                                                time limit of, say, six months, and
                                     remote offices. Productivity soared,
                                                                                plan to sit down with your manager
                                     and Amex soon realized it had
                                                                                at the end of that time to evaluate the
                                     launched a teleworking program.
                                                                                results. For tips on preparing a case,
                                     Not all jobs, of course, are conducive     check out telecommuting consultant,
                                     to teleworking. If your job requires       editor, and author June Langhoff’s
                                     you to interact with colleagues and        website (
                                     customers on a personal basis—or if        Langhoff has written several books
                                     you must access expensive                  on telecommuting and provides tips
9 Copyright August 2001; Reprinted   equipment or sensitive information—        for would-be teleworkers and their
with permission, BLACK               working at home might not be an            employers. Langhoff also works with
ENTERPRISE Magazine, New York,       option. Evaluate your job first and        companies to help them plan and
NY                                   figure out how you can be just as          implement telecommuting programs.

                                                                                   “Ready, Set, Go Home”

Walk The Talk                             manager recognized me and told me
                                          that he wished I would go away.”
Wendell Joice, Ph.D., a research
                                          Today, the GSA has between 12,000
psychologist at the U.S. General
                                          and 14,000 employees; roughly 7% of
Services Administration (GSA),
                                          them are teleworkers. Joice says a
works out of his Washington, D.C.,
                                          key reason for the government’s
home office and travels extensively
                                          teleworking policy is recruitment and
to preach the benefits of tele-
                                          retention. The goal is to increase the
commuting. A 15-year telecommuter,
                                          government’s ability to compete with
he is a consultant for business as
                                          business for qualified workers.
well as Congress on the subject, and
has been with the Office of               Joice splits his time between
Governmentwide Policy for the past        program implementation, policy
six years of his career with the GSA.     development, and research, and
                                          works with both government
Although he considers himself a
                                          agencies and the private sector to
“people person” who loves to
                                          develop telecommuting programs.
interact with others on both a social
                                          Over the past 10 years, he’s learned
and professional level, Joice says
                                          several lessons from his experience
he’s not willing to trade the benefits
                                          and passes them on to would-be
of teleworking for a desk job. His
                                          telecommuters.“ [Back then]
wife, Sylvia, also works at home.
                                          technical support was not geared up
She’s a consultant to government on
                                          for remote work; consequently, I was
public health.
                                          on my own and needed to learn to be
As an advocate for telecommuting,         resourceful and independent, an art I
Joice says management is reluctant        still promote to teleworkers. I taught
to let go of old practices. “People       myself to troubleshoot software and
have anxiety about change,” he says.      hardware problems, purchased my
“Many managers, as well as                own help manuals, guides, and
employees, are still rooted in a 20th     software, and learned to contact
century work mentality. And some          vendors’ help desks at odd hours to
employers believe if they can’t see       avoid long waits.”
their employees, they aren’t working.”
                                          The most valuable lesson Joice
He adds, “The 9-to-5 concept may
                                          learned, however, was how to deal
not always be the most effective in
                                          with managers. “I learned that I
terms of cost of operation and
                                          needed to handle my managers with
                                          care. Even though they agreed to my
Charged with implementing the             work arrangement, it was still new to
government’s teleworking policy,          them and there were sensitive and
Joice recalls his initial experiences     nervous times. As a teleworker, it
as a teleworker: “I remember having       helps to be proactive in dealing with
to clarify to friends and family that I   some managers, to ease them into it
was working and not available for         and prevent misunderstandings.”
daytime errands. I [also got] a lot of    When you aren’t in the office on a
sarcastic remarks from co-workers         daily basis, the smallest incident can
and friends, too.” Not everyone, it       quickly escalate if it’s not addressed
appears, was happy about the GSA’s        immediately.
teleworking program: “Once I was on
                                          To stay in touch, Joice prefers the
an elevator at the main office and a

“Ready, Set, Go Home”

                        mobility of his laptop, a Dell Latitude   public sector, was the perfect
                        CPx provided by the GSA. But when         candidate. A 27-year employee,
                        he’s at home, he uses a PC monitor        Madison began his career as a
                        and keyboard plugged into his laptop.     customer engineer at IBM and has
                        He obtained these through a               held key positions worldwide since
                        government surplus program.               then, establishing the government
                        “There is much surplus equipment          business unit in Pretoria, South
                        available either through government       Africa, following the lifting of
                        programs or from computer                 sanctions.
                        companies and other businesses that
                                                                  Madison is one of IBM’s 60,000
                        can be had for a fraction of retail,”
                                                                  employees worldwide who are
                        says Joice. “This might prove
                                                                  telecommuters or mobile workers.
                        helpful to small companies on a tight
                                                                  He has worked from his Columbus,
                        budget or home workers who must
                                                                  Ohio, home office since 1998, when
                        purchase their own equipment.
                                                                  he returned from South Africa. His
                        Gil Gordon, president of Gil Gordon       teleworking arrangement initially
                        Associates and vice president of the      required him to work three days a
                        International Telework Association &      week in Ohio and two days in
                        Council (ITAC; see website at             Washington, D.C. Although his
              , says about          home office is his headquarters,
                        50% of companies with                     Madison spends much of his time on
                        telecommuters provide equipment           the road. “The arrangement gives
                        and furniture. In a recent ITAC           me greater mobility, flexibility, and
                        study, Gordon found that every            the ability to concentrate on my
                        company had a different policy.           customers. Your performance isn’t
                        Some provided computers but not           tied to another person’s schedule or
                        furniture; others provided an             availability.”
                        ergonomic chair; a few companies
                                                                  Madison admits that initially
                        wanted the equipment back at
                                                                  separation from the office was
                        termination of employment, some did
                                                                  awkward because he was so
                        not; several provided everything from
                                                                  accustomed to face-to-face
                        state-of-the-art electronics with
                                                                  communication. “However,” he says,
                        frequent upgrades, while some
                                                                  “the electronic tools IBM provided,
                        companies provided nothing. Make
                                                                  such as processing routine reports,
                        sure you and your employer agree on
                                                                  video conferencing, voice mail, and
                        an equipment policy before you head
                                                                  American Express’ travel
                        out the door.
                                                                  management service, solved the
                        Road Tripping                             problems. It was just a matter of
                                                                  getting used to them. Now it’s a
                        Since the IBM Corp. was a leader in       breeze,” he adds.
                        the development of mobile
                                                                  Whether employers believe it or not,
                        technology, it was only natural that it
                                                                  one trap that telecommuters fall into
                        would provide telecommuting
                                                                  initially is overworking. A big
                        opportunities to its own workforce.
                                                                  challenge for Madison was
                        And Roger Madison Jr., senior
                                                                  overcoming that tendency; still, his
                        locations executive for IBM in
                                                                  office is wherever he happens to
                        Columbus, Ohio, and an e-business
                                                                  be—airplane, hotel room, or client’s
                        solutions sales executive for the

                                                                                  “Ready, Set, Go Home”

To demonstrate the workability of        computer you will find a mind-
telecommuting, Madison explains          boggling array of products. On the
that initially his manager and           bargain end, look for the Hewlett-
administrative support were in           Packard Pavilion n5150, the Apple
Washington, D.C. Now his manager         iBook, the Toshiba Satellite
is in Atlanta and his administrative     1715XCDS, the Compaq Presario
support is in Columbus, Ohio. “But       1400, or the Gateway Solo 1150s
with mobile technology, your office      (with three models to choose from).
travels with you. I can go to any IBM    These machines all cost between
location anywhere in the world and       $1,000 and $1,700 with the basic
plug in to access files and programs     configuration. (Generally, they run
and the company network. Your            on a Pentium III or Celeron CPU chip
virtual office is wherever you are.”     with 64MB of RAM, a 6-10GB hard
                                         drive, Windows 98, and Microsoft
Madison works with key business
                                         Office or Works suite).
accounts and firmly believes that
mobility makes him more accessible       If your wallet is a little fatter,
to his customers. “My customers          consider the WinBook Zl, the
don’t know or care where I am as         Gateway Solo 9500cx, the Toshiba
long as they have ready access and       Satellite 2805-S402, the Micron
support. By cutting down on              TransPort GX+, or the Apple
commuting time, I have more time to      PowerBook G4/500 Titanium, all
devote to my clients.” As for            priced from $2,200 to $3,500.
problems caused by not being in the
                                         A remote control access program is
office, he says they are “negligible.
                                         also key to taking your office with
No more than for other companies
                                         you, whether you are linking with
with satellite offices,” he adds.
                                         company headquarters from home or
Continuing the tradition, Madison’s      on the road. Two popular programs
son, Roger Madison III, is part of       are LapLink 2000 Win9X/NT4 and
IBM’s army of mobile IT specialists      Symantec’s pcAnywhere
in the global services division in       ( Zone Labs’
Columbus, Ohio.                          ZoneAlarm 2.1 is also a good bet,
                                         and claims to make your computer
Use The Right Tools                      invisible to hackers. It costs $40 but
                                         is free to home-based users.
An old adage goes, “It’s a poor
workman who blames his tools.” To        Without a remote control access
make sure you don’t find yourself in     program, you would need miles of
this situation, it is important to       cable to connect you to company
select the right equipment for your      headquarters. At many companies
job. Most large companies have an        virtually everything is done via
IT staff that decides which              computer. Employees can access
equipment you’ll get. But if you must    expense reports, travel
supply your own, it’s best to shop       authorizations, company bulletins
around. Two good places to start         and announcements, newsletters,
your research are CNet                   supply requisitions, software
( and ZDNet                 programs and upgrades through their
(                 intranets. Without such access, the
                                         home worker could not even turn in a
If you’re in the market for a notebook
                                         time sheet.

“Ready, Set, Go Home”

                        Why Telecommute?                          • Show your employer you can work
                                                                    without supervision. Strive to
                        Results of a study conducted by             overcome any bad habits you may
                        Texas A&M University released in            have formed, such as spending
                        early May 2001 concluded that               too much time away from your
                        Americans in major cities spend on          desk, visiting with co-workers, or
                        average more than 50 hours a year           making personal phone calls.
                        sitting in traffic. Taking into account
                                                                  • Develop good working
                        the millions of hours commuters
                                                                    relationships with other
                        spend on the highway, the number of
                                                                    colleagues. You may need their
                        wasted hours is immeasurable.
                                                                    help when you’re working from
                        Other factors in favor of
                        telecommuting are reduced air
                        pollution, road rage, stress-related      5 months
                        illnesses, soaring gasoline prices,
                                                                  • Present your case to your
                        increases in auto insurance
                                                                    employer. Put it in writing.
                        premiums, traffic related deaths, and
                        the depletion of natural resources in     • Divide it into two sections: (1) how
                        the manufacture of automobiles and          it can benefit the employer, and (2)
                        tires. An hour or two spent                 why you are a good candidate for
                        commuting is time that could be             teleworking.
                        devoted to home and family life. “It’s
                        a very practical and simple thing,”
                                                                  4 months
                        says Joice. “Government must play         • Find out what equipment will be
                        a proactive role to make it more            provided—and what you’ll have to
                        commonplace, whether through                purchase. If you must purchase
                        incentives or by mandate.”                  some or all of your equipment, you
                                                                    may need to work out a budget.
                        Countdown to                                Ask your employer to help with
                        Telecommuting                               financial arrangements.

                        Before you even ask about                 • Ask that the teleworking
                        teleworking, you’ll need to devise a        agreement be put in writing. You
                        strategy—one that will guarantee a          could get a new supervisor who
                        “yes” from your manager. The key is         might wish to rein you back into
                        to plan early. Here’s how to prepare:       the office.

                        6 months                                  • Learn about your employer’s
                                                                    insurance coverage. Most
                        • Learn all you can about your job.         companies’ insurance policies
                          Once at home, you may not always          extend to remote workers. But
                          have instant access to help or            this should be made clear at the
                          supervision when a problem                start. Your homeowner’s insur-
                          arises.                                   ance policy may provide some
                        • Take advantage of company-                additional relief in the event of,
                          sponsored classes in computers            say, a fire that destroys equipment
                          or other work-related courses. If         and files. If you are a renter, look
                          none are available, visit the library     into a renter’s insurance policy.
                          or check out online courses.              You might wish to cover only the
                                                                    work-related items.

                                                                                     “Ready, Set, Go Home”

3 months                                    • Be flexible. You may be required to
                                              come into the office at intervals
• Decide on the physical setup of             for meetings or training. Establish
  your home office. If you have an            the hours you are required to be at
  extra room that can be used as an           your home office. (You must be
  office, this is ideal. If not, plan for     available if customers or
  an area that will give you adequate         colleagues need to contact you
  space for equipment, cable, and             during normal business hours.)
  phone line access, file cabinets,
  and privacy.                              1 month
• Find out what equipment you will          • Start transferring files and data to
  be setting up in your home. Learn           your home office. Make a list of e-
  how to operate it correctly and             mail addresses and phone
  make minor repairs (in case there           numbers you will need to access.
  is no tech support plan in place).          Troubleshoot to make sure that
  Be sure to have a thorough                  the equipment and software work.
  knowledge of the software you’ll          • Get into the habit of regularly
  be using.                                   backing up your files. There’s no
2 months                                      excuse for losing data.
• Check with outside agencies that          • Advise family and friends that
  might affect your move home, such           your time and attention are still
  as the phone company, cable                 restricted to your job while you’re
  supplier, and the Postal Service.           working. If you have children,
                                              make arrangements with daycare
• Establish a connection with office          providers.
  suppliers and equipment
  maintenance professionals, if your        • Establish a routine. If you have to
  employer doesn’t pay for supplies.          take your children to school, for
                                              example, plan to be back at your
• Make friends with your company’s            desk for your agreed-upon work
  IT department.                              schedule.
• Sit down with your supervisor and         Day 1
  go over your duties and schedule.
  Home workers are often rated              • Turn off the alarm, make the
  according to productivity, so you           coffee, and stroll down the hallway
  need to know what is expected of            to your office.

“Ready, Set, Go Home”

Profile: Roger Madison Jr.,
Senior Locations Executive
Company: IBM
Tools (IBM pays for all software and equipment and
provides periodic upgrades):
• IBM ThinkPad 600 with 128MB of RAM, 10GB hard drive.
• High-speed cable modem.
• Hewlett-Packard printer/scanner/copier.
• Software: Windows 2000 Professional; Microsoft Excel
  2000; Lotus Notes 5.0.5; Lotus SmartSuite Millennium
  R9.6, with WordPro, Freelance, Approach 123, and
  Organizer; Adobe Acrobat Reader 4.05c and Adobe
  Accessibility Tools; Norton AntiVirus CE 7.5M;
  Microsoft Viewers: Word 97/2000, PowerPoint 97/2000,
  and Access Snapshot Viewer 9.0.

                                                         Profile: Wendell Joice, Ph.D.,
                                                         research psychologist
                                                         Company: General Services Administration
                                                         Tools (GSA pays for):
                                                         • Dell Latitude CPx (650 MHz, 128 MB of RAM, 56K
                                                         • Iomega 250 Zip drive.
                                                         • Microsoft Office, virus software, Lotus Notes.
                                                         • Dell 15-inch monitor and keyboard for use with laptop.
                                                         • Voice mail and call forwarding (routes calls from
                                                           central office to home office).
                                                         • Long distance credit card with conference call features.
                                                         Tools (Joice pays for):
                                                         • Hewlett-Packard DeskJet printer.
Photo courtesy of                                        • Second phone line (for data).
Welton B. Doby III
                                                         • Xerox WorkCentre fax machine.
                                                         • Logitech Page Scan Color Pro scanner.

More Productivity-
Related Initiatives
More Productivity-Related Initiatives

         SA’s Office of Real Property    work environments, workplace
         has formed strategic            amenities, and emerging workplace
         alliances and partnerships      technology. The WPC also
with several organizations to study      developed a Productivity Diagnostic
and research workplace issues            Tool to measure the impact on
(including productivity-related          productivity and performance
topics) affecting the Federal real       resulting from physical changes in
estate community. Later in 2001, we      the workplace. The group plans to
will release a report summarizing the    test the model in several pilot
lessons learned from these               projects over the next year.
partnerships. If you would like to
                                         The Federal Facilities Council (FFC),
receive a copy of this report, see the
                                         part of the National Research
contact information provided in
                                         Council, is an organization
Appendix A.
                                         comprised of Federal agencies that
Among the numerous alliances that        have an interest in Federal facility
the office has joined are the            design, construction, operation, and
Workplace Productivity Consortium,       management. The FFC promotes
the Federal Facilities Council, the      cooperation among the member
Advanced Building Systems                Federal agencies and other
Integration Consortium, the              organizations in the facility sector to
Workplace Network and the Gartner        advance the concepts of building
Group - MIT Workplace Consortium.        science and technology. The Office
                                         of Real Property and the Public
The Workplace Productivity
                                         Buildings Service jointly serve
Consortium (WPC) is a group of
                                         GSA’s interests in the FFC.
corporate real estate executives from
various Fortune 500 companies in the     This year the FFC published a report
financial, technology, retail, and       entitled Sustainable Federal
research sectors. GSA and Public         Facilities, A Guide to Integrating
Works and Government Services            Value Engineering, Life-Cycle
Canada (PWGSC) are the only              Costing, and Sustainable Develop-
public sector members of the WPC.        ment. The report demonstrates how
                                         Federal agencies can integrate the
The group pools the resources and
                                         concepts of value engineering and
knowledge of managers and
                                         life-cycle costing throughout the
researchers to investigate the role of
                                         design and construction process.
the workplace in the productivity of
                                         Incorporating these concepts will
organizations. Through quarterly
                                         create sustainable development in
meetings the WPC investigates the
                                         Federal facilities and will meet the
current state of research on the
                                         requirements of Executive Order
workplace and its impact on worker
                                         13123, which promotes and mandates
productivity. The group sponsors an
                                         efficient energy management. The
annual benchmark survey of its
                                         FFC will study several other facility
members. In addition to the
                                         issues in the next year including post
customary measures of real estate
                                         occupancy evaluations, performance
(inventory, workspace standards, and
                                         based condition assessments, and
vacancy rate), the survey queries its
                                         creating business cases for public
members on the trends in alternative
                                         capital improvement.

More Productivity-Related Initiatives

                                The Advanced Building Systems             calculate the cost benefits of
                                Integration Consortium (ABSIC) is         various innovative building and
                                an alliance between academia, the         workplace strategies;
                                public sector, and the private sector
                                                                        • The SEMPER Project, a modeling
                                that aims to improve the quality and
                                                                          tool to test building system
                                performance of commercial buildings
                                                                          impacts at the conceptual design
                                and its associated systems.
                                Some of the members include
                                                                        • The Building as Power Plant,
                                Carnegie Mellon University, Bank of
                                                                          examining new technologies that
                                America, Johnson Controls, Inc.,
                                                                          will allow buildings to produce
                                Steelcase, Inc., Zumtobel Staff
                                                                          more energy than they use; and
                                Lighting, Inc., the National Science
                                Foundation, the U.S. Department of      • Intelligent Workplace Control
                                Defense, Department of Energy,            Systems, developing ways to
                                Department of State, Environmental        integrate the operation of all
                                Protection Agency, GSA, PWGSC             building systems to create more
                                and the Dutch Government Buildings        efficient, comfortable workspace.
                                                                        The Workplace Network (TWN) is an
                                ABSIC has five major projects           association of senior real estate
                                underway:                               executives who exchange strategies,
                                                                        ideas, and practical information.
                                • Guidelines for High-Performance
                                                                        TWN provides a forum for its
                                  Workplaces, showing how to
                                                                        members to establish strong
                                  create flexible, high-performance
                                                                        professional relationships with
                                  workplaces with an integrated
                                                                        colleagues from around the world,
                                  system and user-based approach;
                                                                        discuss issues of importance, share
                                • The Building Investment Decision      problems and solutions, develop
                                  Support (BIDS) tool, a web-based      strategies, and assess their
                                  cost-benefit analysis matrix to       organizations’ performance. They

                                                                         More Productivity-Related Initiatives

then translate what they learn into     Technology (MIT) have formed a
successful management practices,        Workplace Consortium to jointly
operations and results. Current         sponsor a research effort for
members include GSA, PWGSC, the         exploring the impact that the e-
Office of Government Commerce in        business economy is having on the
the United Kingdom, Statsbygg in        real estate industry. The Consortium
Norway, the Dutch Government            also plans to propose business
Buildings Agency and a dozen other      models that seamlessly integrate
national and provincial governments.    real estate and the workplace into
                                        this new business environment. The
Through its involvement in the TWN,
                                        Gartner Group/MIT partnership has
GSA participated in a joint study
                                        over 20 members (including GSA)
that was sponsored by Delft
                                        from academia, government, and
University of the Netherlands. The
                                        industry at the national and
study, entitled International
                                        international levels.
Comparative Analysis on How
Federal Governments Manage Their        The consortium is exploring these
Real Estate Portfolios, compares the    five areas of the new workplace
historical approaches and               industry:
philosophies of the organizations
                                        1. E-business implications for
that manage the national real estate
                                           workplace making
portfolios for the governments of the
Netherlands, United States, Canada,     2. Workplace space and cyberspace
and the United Kingdom. The report         design
also analyzes the potential
                                        3. New service offerings and
consequences of various real estate
strategies based on the historical
information collected.                  4. Organizational trends
The Gartner Group and the               5. Performance metrics
Massachusetts Institute of
                                        A report will be released late in 2001.

Contact Information

               Photo courtesy Owens Corning
Appendix A: Contact Information

   f you are interested in learning more about any of the   Telecommuting at the
   subjects provided in this publication, please contact    U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
   the following individuals:
                                                            Debbie Cohn
Programs of the GSA Office of Real Property
Stan Kaczmarczyk
                                                            The Office of Real Property Telework Pilot
                                                            Billy Michael
Content of this publication, or for additional copies
Joanne B. Shore
                                                            General information on Federal government
E-mail:                                telework programs
The Integrated Workplace                                    Dr. Wendell Joice
Rob Obenreder                                               E-mail:
E-mail:                               “Team-Building in a Virtual Environment”
“The 21st-Century Workplace”                                Joanne B. Shore
Christine Barber                                            E-mail:
E-mail:                        “Ready, Set, Go Home”
“Please Hold, I Think My House is on Fire”                  Donna Dick
Gina Vega                                                   E-mail:
E-mail:                                 Other productivity-related GSA initiatives
                                                            (as described in the section on Other Research
Gregory Simpson
                                                            Chris Coneeney
The Internal Revenue Service Hoteling Pilot
Adriane Thormahlen
                                                            Copies of Productivity and the Workplace
E-mail:                          (featuring Productivity Payback Model)
                                                            Ray Wynter

Publication Survey:
People and
Publication Survey:
People and the Workplace
Please take a few minutes to complete this survey so we may better meet our customer’s needs.

1. The publication is of interest to you.

Strongly agree _____       Agree _____         Disagree _____      Strongly disagree _____

2. The publication format provides easy access to matters of interest to you.

Strongly agree _____       Agree _____         Disagree _____      Strongly disagree _____

3. The publication addresses issues that are of value to you in your position.

Strongly agree _____       Agree _____         Disagree _____      Strongly disagree _____

4. Access to detailed comments is necessary because the Executive Summary does not provide sufficient information.

Strongly agree _____       Agree _____         Disagree _____      Strongly disagree _____

5. The information provided in the publication is fair and impartial.

Strongly agree _____       Agree _____         Disagree _____      Strongly disagree _____

6. The publication is an appropriate length.

Strongly agree _____       Agree _____         Disagree _____      Strongly disagree _____

7. The publication is easy to understand.

Strongly agree _____       Agree _____         Disagree _____      Strongly disagree _____

8. Please provide any additional comments on the publication: _____________________________________________________



Organization __________________________________________________________________________________________________

Name (optional) _________________________________________________________                 Title_____________________________

E-mail address (optional) _________________________________________________

Please tear this survey page out and fax it to us at (202) 208-7240; or fold it in half, tape closed, and mail it back to us.
Thank you for your participation.

                                                                                                          NO POSTAGE
OFFICE OF GOVERNMENTWIDE POLICY                                                                           NECESSARY
1800 F ST NW                                                                                               IF MAILED
WASHINGTON DC 20405-0001                                                                                     IN THE
                                                                                                         UNITED STATES


                                       BUSINESS REPLY MAIL
                                       FIRST CLASS MAIL       PERMIT NO 12710    WASHINGTON DC

                                       U S GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
                                       OFFICE OF REAL PROPERTY (MPE)
                                       OFFICE OF GOVERNMENTWIDE POLICY
                                       1800 F ST NW
                                       WASHINGTON DC 20405-0001

            Smarter Solutions

December 2001

GSA Office of Governmentwide Policy
Office of Real Property

U.S. General Services Administration
1800 F Street NW
Washington DC 20405

To top