Telework Reboot: A Workplace Transformation

Telework Reboot: A Workplace Transformation


Tim Curry: Hello, everyone, and welcome to
our continuing series of employee and labor relations roundtables. I’m Tim Curry. I’m
the Deputy Associate Director for Partnership and Labor Relations here at OPM. Today’s roundtable will highlight GSA’s transformational
journey to implement a successful telework program, and models how any agency can use
telework as a catalyst for organizational change. GSA is a government leader on best practices
and lessons learned in the implementation of telework programs. Today’s roundtable will
also highlight OPM’s role in the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010. Our presenters bring
a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and expertise to this area. Sit back and enjoy what I believe
you will find to be a very informative topic. Don’t forget, those of you joining via webcast
can submit questions for the speakers by sending them to [email protected] That’s [email protected] We’ll
attempt to respond to as many questions as we can near the end of the broadcast. First, we’ll have some introductory remarks
from Mr. Justin Johnson, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Director Berry here at OPM. Mr.
Johnson brings a variety of public service experience to OPM. He has served in the legislative and executive
branches of the federal government, in the non-profit sector, and in the private sector
as a newspaper reporter and editor. Justin is responsible for OPM’s high priority
performance goal and telework. He is also actively involved in improving labor management
relations at OPM and across the federal government. He plays an ongoing role in Director Berry’s
policy initiatives, including new initiatives on performance management, accountability,
and employee training and development. After Justin will be Dr. Alexis Adams. Dr.
Adams joined OPM as a personnel research psychologist in the Assessment Services branch of OPM in
July, 1999. She currently conducts research on programs
that support federal employees in maintaining a healthy work-life balance in the Work-Life
Health & Wellness Group of OPM. In addition, Dr. Adams has worked on research projects
involving the utilization of telework across the federal government. Finally, after Dr. Adams, will be Mr. Anthony
Macri. As a special assistant to GSA Administrator, Martha Johnson, Mr. Macri works on the front
lines at GSA’s enterprise-wide business management and cultural transformation. Mr. Macri is
currently co-leading GSA’s telework project management office to reboot GSA’s flexible
workplace capability. Let’s get started, and we’ll start with Mr.
Justin Johnson. Justin Johnson: Thank you so much, Tim. I
want to give a special hello to everybody on the webcast. I think it’s great that you’re
doing it that way. We’ve got rainy weather here in DC, but everybody can join from wherever
they are and whatever their weather is. I just want to make a couple quick points
as we get started. I work, as Tim said, on the labor relations side of the house and
also on telework. What we’ve found over time is that your ability to telework has almost
become a proxy for trust between employees and supervisors. We have the latest employee viewpoint survey
numbers that were just released yesterday. I’m going to use broad percentages just to
give folks a sense of what we found. Consistent with the last finding, about 20 percent of
all federal employees are saying that they’re teleworking to some extent. So, 20 percent
of 2 million. You’ve got about 400,000 people in the federal government who self-identify
as teleworkers to one extent or another. That leaves 80 percent who are not teleworking
government-wide. What we found that’s very interesting to me is that if you combine the
number that say that they can’t telework, because they have to be present to perform
their duties — again, self-reported — with the number of people who choose not to telework,
you’re about at half the workforce. You’ve got about half of the workforce who,
through their self-reported data, have taken themselves off the table. My work doesn’t
fit with this, or I’m not interested. You’ve got about half that are in that category. You’ve got 50 percent taking themselves off
the table, and 20 percent who are allowed to telework. You’re left with 30 percent in
the middle, roughly. As it turns out, this year, it’s 33 percent that’s in this group.
You’ve got a small percentage who say that technology is the primary reason that I’m
not teleworking. It’s a small number. You’ve got about a quarter of all of our employees
who say that they should be able to telework, but for whatever reason, they’re not being
allowed to. That’s the group that, as labor and employee relations specialists, I think
you’re going to be hearing from that group. They essentially feel like their duties fit,
they should be allowed to telework, and for whatever reason they’ve been told that they
can’t. The last point I would just make is that among
that group, a quarter of the workforce is in that group, there are some who probably
really shouldn’t be teleworking. But there’s probably a big group that should be, and depending
on the extent of their duties, potentially to a great extent, more than once in a blue
moon. I would just encourage you as you get these
questions from employers and from your managers, to be mindful of this one principle. It’s
been a guiding principle of Director Berry is that decisions should be based primarily
on the duties of the position. As you develop a good telework relationship
between supervisors and employees, the questions that we like to ask are, what are your duties
of those which could be performed from anywhere, and now knowing that, what does an effective
telework relationship in situation look like. Just before I bring up Alexis, I’d just say
I have worked with Tony, our primary speaker today. They’re doing amazing things at GSA,
not to let any cat out of the bag or anything, but yesterday’s report on UVS show that GSA
has now become the number one teleworking agency in the government and OPM is right
up there with them. Both of us over 70 percent of our employees report that they are teleworking
to some extent. So without any further ado, let me turn over
to Dr. Adams. Dr. Alexis Adams: Thank you, Justin. It’s
a pleasure to be here with all of you in person and online today as well. I want to talk a
little bit about what we’re doing here at OPM specifically out of the Work-Life Health
& Wellness Office, to support agencies across the government as they build and grow their
telework programs. As most of you probably know, agencies have
always had a great deal of discretion in how they implement their telework programs, and
that’s something that OPM largely supports. OPM has been historically available to support
agencies. But we’ve had no real direct authority over agencies in terms of how they implement
their telework programs. The Telework Enhancement Act or the enactment
of the Telework Enhancement Act still allows the agencies to determine that best way to
implement their programs, which again is something we support because agencies know how best
to roll out their telework programs inline with their mission and the practices and processes
that take place within those agencies. But the act does provide some government-wide
structure that will help agencies to develop their programs, and it also gives enough authority
to OPM so that we can better assist programs, collect data on a more consistent basis, and
we’ll be able to evaluate the effectiveness of telework across the government. The federal government has always been a leader
in the use of workplace flexibilities, including telework and that’s something that we are
very excited about at this time. A well-designed workplace flexibility can really be a key
component to motivate employees and to increase employee satisfaction. When we talk about telework, we really like
to emphasize that telework really can be used as a business tool and really emphasize the
fact that it can positively impact the bottom line in ways of showing positive results with
employee recruitment, retention and employee satisfaction. It’s exciting that we really do have top leadership
support as we try to encourage agencies to develop and improve their telework programs.
President Obama spoke in support of telework in the March 2010 White House forum where
he shared the term that has become so popularly known now — ‘work is what you do, not where
you do it.’ We have support from the top, all the way
down through agencies as we also work to encourage agencies in their response to the passage
of the recent law. The Telework Enhancement Act was signed into law back in December 2010. The Telework Enhancement Act is unique and
was signed into law with the intention of advancing telework across federal agencies.
It allows agencies, as I mentioned, a considerable amount of latitude in the way that they implement
their telework programs. The goal really is to promote agency effectiveness
to ensure the work of agencies and the federal government in the face of emergencies such
as snow storms, and supporting employee efforts to balance multiple life responsibilities,
especially work in family, to promote the well being of employees and to increase the
productivity of workplaces. These are all really positive and wonderful
goals that we’re working toward in response to the legislation. There are some key responsibilities that are
called for on behalf of agencies and also on behalf of OPM in response to the Act. While
the Act allows the agencies wide latitude in their implementation of telework, it does
outline a few specific requirements with the intention of facilitating the implementation
of truly robust programs. Agencies are required to establish a policy
and to notify employees of the telework eligibility, to designate a telework managing officer — which
was required back in June — to ensure that interactive training is made available to
all prospective teleworkers and their mangers, to establish written agreements — not just
verbal agreements — and to integrate telework into COOP plans, and lastly, to establish
and assess telework goals, collect that data, and report it to OPM. OPM also has a number of responsibilities
in response to the legislation. The Act to secure OPMs’, and specifically Work-Life Health
& Wellness’ consultative role with respect to federal agencies, and our leadership role
in research and evaluation of telework programs. It especially expands our research responsibility
and reporting functions. We are currently engaged in developing and/or administering
a number of instruments to collect data. We are always involved in our annual data
call. In addition to our annual data call, we are involved in literature reviews of existing
research. We are conducting a number of focus groups at the current time — focus groups
with telework coordinators and TMOs from across the government — to collect more information
that we will, not only learn ourselves, but also share with agencies so that they can
benefit from that information. In our role in response to the act, we work
with telework managing officers and top executive agencies leadership to further underscore
top leadership support, which is so important when we’re talking about the success of telework. In terms of our annual data call, there has
been some change in response to the legislation. Up until the passage of the Enhancement Act,
most agencies have voluntarily participated in the data call. The Act now mandates participation
in OPM telework data collection and our report to Congress. The act requires that each agency
measure employee participation in telework, the frequency of employee participation, and
agency participation end goal obtainment. The Act includes a list of agencies goals
— which are well-worth working toward — such as employee preparedness, employee recruitment
and retention, and how telework can positively impact all of these goals, and encourages
agencies to measure and access these goals on a regular basis. In terms of next steps and what you can look
forward to seeing from OPM in terms of our continuous work with telework, we will continue
to pursue a rigorous program of telework research as we continue to provide guidance to agencies.
You can stay tuned for response from us as we learn from the Federal Employee Viewpoint
Survey data — as Justine mentioned — as we learn from the information we are collecting
from telework coordinators and TMOs in our focus groups, and as we administer our 2011
Federal Telework Data Call, which will be launched next month. We are also getting ready to release our revised
telework training which will be made available through telework.gov. Without further ado, I want to leave time
for our featured speaker to share with us from GSA. Thank you. Anthony Macri: All right. Thank you Justine
and Dr. Adams for that really kind introduction and setup. I really appreciate it. Thank you
for the invitation to be here as well. I too want to do a quick plug for everyone
out there in webinar land. I think this is an awesome indication of how the technology
can support mobility, and flexibility, and just kind of the new way of work. We’re living
it. We’re doing it. That’s very much kind of their message here. Today, I’d like to spend a little time talking
about GSA’s journey and what we’ve been able to do under the auspices of the Telework Enhancement
Act, and from that, hopefully inspire all of you out there to maybe take up pieces of
this, if you can relate to it, and so forth. I want to quickly run through our agenda here.
I’m going to quickly just talk about GSA’s mobility vision and the role of leadership
in all of this, and then our strategy — talking about the project management office and how,
that approach, we took to it. Then, I want to talk about the case for telework
— making the case and why that’s critical and important, especially when we’re talking
about labor relations part. The part is — why bother? Why are we bothering to put all this
energy into telework? Most importantly, what happens if we don’t do anything? The case
is really important. I think the case being clear and strong from the outside can help
everyone with any type of labor relations as we move forward. We’ll then go into a deep dive — talk about
GSA’s transformational journey, power challenges, what GSA did to just start moving, to start
acting on our current policy based on current rules as we start to working through our new
stuff, and then a little bit further onto each of our areas of work. We’re going to
talk about policy and labor relations, communication, measurement, technology, and skill development.
That will all flow in. I promise to do this within a half hour and
leaving at least 10 minutes for questions for folk out there and here in the room. I set this presentation up a little bit as
a play. We have a [indecipherable 0:15:51] of course. What I want to talk about is where
telework mobility opens the window. I also want to say this presentation and conversation
is a little higher level. What I’m going to try to do is, throughout this, talk about
and weave in the labor relations part and how the case and the vision can support as
you go through and do the relations component of it. What’s really cool about telework is that
it opens the window on a whole breast of conversations you can have out there that are relevant and
important to different folk. Specific to GSA, you can talk space design
and utilization within your own building. A lot of us are going through a reduction
in physical footprint. What does that mean as we reduce our space? How does telework
— player in that? The furniture you choose, the type of equipment that you’re buying,
the type of technology, the furniture selections, how that relates, especially when you’re talking
about collaborative work environments, and so forth — hoteling. Entitlement — Entitlement has become a really
interesting conversation in all of this as we talk about space design, and telework,
and mobility. The notion of who has the big corner offices in government, they tend to
be the high-ups, the executives, the SES. Who also tends to be there the least — those
folks themselves, the SES, the execs. You have a real expensive burden on the real estate
costs. They are the ones, usually, out being mobile, out teleworking, out just doing their
job of promoting the vision of the agency, and so forth. It opens a window in that. Employee trust — Justine spoke to that a
little bit. It’s a great tool. Last but not least, performance planning — Many
of us do the annual performance planning conversation. You have your half year and then your year.
It kind of gets tiring — the same conversation over and over again. You can talk about telework
and talk about performance in a mobile, virtual environment, and in essence, talk about your
performance, and outcomes, and the work in line. It’s an interesting tool that you can use
for a plethora of conversations. Here at GSA, this here is kind of our overall
strategic themes — kind of higher level beyond telework, and how it ties in and telework
supports. Innovation — The administrator is really
big on GSA innovating. The President has a win the future notion. To be an innovative
culture, we need to bring on notions of flexible work environments. Telework, mobility, collaborative
work spaces and so forth. Collaboration is the next one. The work environment
that we live in and work in every day is critical to collaborative thought. We’ve all seen the
images from Google and what not, those kind of collaborative firms. You don’t get collaboration
hiding in an office three walls back. You get it from an open work environment. With
that, telework can support. Zero environmental footprint. These will weave
throughout the presentation. Of course, as we reduce our physical footprint, consolidate
our space, improve telework, we’re supporting our environmental footprint from a government’s
perspective. Effectiveness, the ability to do our work.
We can empower a staff to work where they need to be, when it’s most appropriate for
them, and if we have the technology, they can be more effective. Transparency, the notion of no surprises.
Again, it goes to performance. If you’re teleworking, have a conversation on transparency about
how you can be available, and the technology that supports that, through chats, your online
presence, if you will. How you communicate. I’m teleworking today. You email all your
team. You say, and I am working on A-B-C topics, and the best way to contact me is through
cell phone, chat, video chat, whatever that may be from where you sit. So, these notions
and conversations on transparency. Presence, being present for your team and your staff
when needed. A theme you will see throughout all of this
is that we’re really, really, trying through our work here to empower team-based collaborative
work environments. As I talk about our policy, you’ll see it is less prescriptive than before.
It’s lighter than before. What it’s doing is it’s empowering those conversations for
folks in their particular scope of work to figure out what’s best for them. We’re empowering
them and their teams to have those conversations. That will weave throughout. We believe we’re doing this, we’re at the
beginning of a shift, this is GSA, but I believe it’s relevant to all, in how employees work.
Obviously, we’re doing more group work, and more staffs are working remotely. It’s just
the way the world is moving. How things get done, technology is playing a huge role. This is a perfect example. In our business,
we’re working more closely and a strong relationship with our customers. From GSA’s perspective,
we have to be out with our customers. It doesn’t do us any good hiding behind our office or
in our cube. The ability to telework, to work mobily and
remotely and flexible is critical to meet the needs of our customers. In our profile — this I think is the most
important part, and, again, helps with the case. We are preparing for a new generation
of workers who have a different set of expectations in work styles. A lot of people today are
doing a lot of online universities, online dating is huge. There’s this whole notion
of mobility and so forth. This is one of my favorite slides. Again,
I’m making the case, trying to tie it into labor relations. These are pictures of ads
that I took around town as I was mulling around the city doing my day-to-day life. My favorite
one is Virgin Atlantic, here in the middle. Work way offsite, WiFi and outlets at your
seat. What is this advertising telling you? It’s
telling you that Virgin America airlines probably hired a really top-notch marketing firm in
New York, and they did some research, and they determined, you’re customers are mobile.
Your knowledge worker customers who are flying around the country are mobile, and they have
an expectation of connectivity wherever, whenever. The airline is meeting that demand, that need. That implies that our incoming workforce or
current workforce, if they are in fact knowledge workers, and to be innovative, win the future,
do all the things that we’re saying we’re doing, we need to promote and have the flexibility
and telework capability out there. You can order pizza on your iPad, Cisco Telepresence
that GSA is bringing on is a huge tool, and you can do your banking when passing time,
like say waiting for the bus. We live in a mobile environment, this is where we’re going.
There’s no point in fighting it. We’re moving this way. But, of course, as government, we have to
have all our rules and numbers and so forth, so we have a lot of stuff supporting it. Of
course, you have the Telework Enhancement Act which served as the catalyst for the work
that’s why we’re here today, and the work that the telework PMO has done at GSA. We
have our executive order on increasing subtle employment with individuals with disabilities.
That, of course, supports telework, and supports that constituency. We have GSA’s high priority performance goal
to decrease our physical footprint. The presidential memorandum of disposing unneeded government
real estate. Telework supports all of these, and they all pull and push each other to help
us make the case for why we’re doing what we’re doing. What’s odd about this is I can’t judge the
audience, because everyone is out there. Hopefully, everyone is following along, and we’re doing
OK. The vision. Work is what you do, not where
you are. It was awesome to hear that the President has also stated that and adopted that. I will
just say that GSA has been saying that for a long, long time. But, it’s great to hear
the President adopt that vision as well. It’s really true. It is what you do, not where
you are. This allows you to focus on outcomes of the work. Let the work drive the need.
The telework, let the work drive it. How does this relate to GSA? We created what
we call the Extreme Challenge. This is what is our burning platform, and it’s driving
us. The Extreme Challenge is what would it take to move all of Washington area GSA into
1800 F Street. For those that are across the country, 1800 F is our headquarters and is
getting renovated under
the Stimulus Act. It’s getting renovated, and one of the things we’re doing, to walk
the walk, if we’re going to help our customers meet the President’s request of reducing our
physical footprint, as the government’s real estate experts, we have to reduce our physical
footprint. What we’re doing here is we are collapsing
our other three buildings here in DC. We have four total. 1800 F is our headquarters which
is getting renovated. We have Crystal City which holds our Federal Acquisition Services.
Willow Wood and our National Capital Region. The plan is once the headquarters, 1800 F,
is renovated, we will collapse or remove our lease in those other three buildings. NCR,
which we own, another government agency can perhaps move in there. We will put everyone
into the 1800 F building. Currently, it housed, as of last year, 2,224
employees. When we’re done, we will double it and house 4,000. How are we going to do that? Well, we’re going
to do it through open space design, collaborative space design that empowers and builds up innovation.
We’re going to do it by increasing telework. We’re going to do it by reducing the notion
of entitlement in the corner offices and collaborative environment. Telework is one of the key components of this
formula. If we don’t get the telework part right, we won’t all fit. For that reason,
and to model it, the Administrator has a real vision of GSA builds first. She wants us to
do this first, to model it for the government, and to give every other agency there a sense
of calm to say, hey, they did it, we can do it too. They not only did it with their space
design, they not only did it with moving to open architecture, but they did it with telework.
And this is how it’s going, and hoteling. That’s our Extreme Challenge, and that is
why we have to get it right, and that is why I’m here today. Leadership. Of course, the Administrator and
Director Berry are out there speaking on this topic, as Justin was saying. GSA really believes
it’s about our geographic and our electronic address. Technology plays a huge role in this.
I’m going to speed it up. One of the things we do, as far as leadership
is concerned, the Administer has a blog. It talks to everyone, and people can write in,
it’s completely open, it’s not monitored. I just want to show this one video. Hopefully,
people out in the virtual world can see it OK. Again, telework is critical to the success
of our challenge. With that, the Administrator has taken a key role in the messaging of it.
I want to show this quick video. If you could play it real quick. Martha Johnson: Hello, GSA. I now am a mobile
worker, as many of you are, and more of you will become. To be a mobile worker, you have
to be kind of organized. Let me just take you through the list that I need to go through
every time I leave my desk to go work someplace else or to go home and work. I have my list
in font 36 here on my desk. It starts with my badge. Then it goes to my glasses, my red
glasses, those are my reading glasses. Then it goes to my regular glasses. Then it goes
to my flash drive. Then I have to have my Internet drive, and then my keys. My keys are in my pocket. Oh dear, I don’t
have my keys yet. I’ll find my keys. Then it goes to my phone. No, my Blackberry, and
my phone, and my purse, which is where my keys are. That’s what you need to mobile work.
Don’t forget your computer. Anthony: A little messaging goes a long way.
The message here really is the Administrator strongly believes that senior leaders have
to model the behavior. They have to model it. She’s showing that she teleworks. She
is doing it, and she is empowering her staff to do it. She’s also modeling a couple other things
here. That is her office. That is her cube in her office. That cube and office is on
the hoteling system whenever she’s not around. You better believe it. She’s not around very
much. She’s traveling, she’s working the message, she’s visiting the offices. She doesn’t spend
much time at her desk, as I think is the case with many senior leaders, and senior executives,
and many of us out there as knowledge workers. This used to be her old office across the
street at 1800 F. This is what she had. This is kind of the traditional, customary thought
of where a senior leader sits. It goes back where space and the environment you’re in
demonstrated power and authority. We’re now in a different world. Knowledge, and your
networks, and your ability to connect, and influence demonstrate your value and performance. In the new building, this is just going to
be a ceremonial space. This will not be the Administrator’s office. She went from this,
from a kind of isolated, to this collaborative space. You see her there talking to her Chief
of Staff, the deputy sits directly on the other side of that orange wall. I’m at the
end, her executive assistant is right in front, and it’s completely open. This is our temporary space that we’re in
while they renovate our building. We’re using this as a pilot, in essence, and to transform
and get the agency used to it, and learn. Also a powerful tool throughout the negotiations
as it’s needed for our work environment. You can see even the staff office and the staff
area is completely open. What’s cool here for staff is that the offices, if there are
any, are not in the corners. All that light you see in the upper right, that’s the actual
windows, so the light is coming in. There are some offices, you can see on the bottom
left, they have glass fronts, so the light penetrates. Now, what’s really cool here, I mentioned
those transformational themes at the very beginning. You may remember zero environmental
footprint was one of them. What did we use to justify this? We didn’t use telework, we
didn’t use reduction of space, we didn’t use just suck it up, we’re putting you in an office
with glass in front of you. We used Lead Certification. We said we want our building to have Platinum
Certification in the design phase when we were negotiating with all the senior staff.
We said a critical element of Lead Certification, by the way, we are the government’s building
people, so we know this, we have to model this, is the ability of light to penetrate
to the center of the building. The degree and the amount of natural light that penetrates
to the center of the building gets you extra points on lead certification. What does that mean? That means offices need
to be open and need to have glass fronts, which encourages collaboration and encourages
transparency. All those strategic themes. We can use them to help transform, to help
negotiate, to meet the vision, if you will. Some senior leaders have offices, but they
do have glass. We’re moving forward. “Telepresence,” on the
bottom right, that’s an emerging technology. Agencies will have access to that. It’s a
great way to have virtual meetings. Again, just open space. Our strategy. We have a whole workplace transformation
strategy. I’m sorry, I realize that the slide just isn’t really working too well. Sorry,
if you see the back of my head, everyone, for a bit. This is our continuum. These are the areas
of work that we’re doing on our workplace transformation. There’s infrastructure, environment,
interior design, and so forth. The part I want to focus on is the mobile working lane,
which is where it really does the teleworking. We had this whole back-and-forth. “Is it telework?
Is it mobile work?” I’m not going to get into that. It’s telework for telework’s purposes. The notion is you migrate left to right, from
an earlier to a more advanced stage, as you move rightward. We assume that the entire
agency isn’t going to be at one particular place — different offices, different parts,
different parts of the country, different regions. We’ll be at different places at different
times, and that’s fine. It’s just a model for migration, to help people
understand where they are and where they’re going, and give them some guidance. If you
start all the way left, we’re just saying that employees can work from home. In our
mind, that is the most basic definition of telework. You can work from home. You know
how to do it. You have the technology to do it, and so forth. Employees can work from any desired location.
You can work from that Virgin America airline. 30,000 feet in the air, if you need to. You
can work from the airport. You can work from a conference. Some people are doing that.
Others aren’t. Highly dispersed workforce and teams. That
teams don’t need a sense that they have to be centralized in one headquarters or one
spot. They can be national and connect virtually through different tools and technology. Lastly, optimized hoteling and IT to support
high degree of workforce mobility. This notion of, “This is where we’re going.” You do not
own your space. The desk you have is not yours. That belongs to the enterprise. When you’re in an office, and you need air,
you can sign on to the hoteling space and you can get that space. Or there’s a team
area. You have an area to land, in that team area. The hoteling. You will, depending on
your work, as your work shifts, you will shift with the work. You will move to different teams. A matrix-based
understanding. That is the most advanced notion. Some people are doing it. Others want another
way to go. That’s our continuum. The PMO, the administrator took a unique approach
to doing this, in that she said she created a project management office that reported
directly to her. We pulled from our advanced leadership development course, which LPM is
probably very familiar with. Our graduates. We sent out a note to them,
saying, “We want you. We want 50 percent of your time. You’ve been trained. You’re 13s,
14s, looking to become 15s or SCS. You’ve been trained in this advanced leadership development.
We’d like you to join us for six months, 50 percent utilization to help on this special
priority project.” Those folks, we got a whole bunch. We interviewed
them, and we picked six to lead these lanes of work. Policy, to redo our policy. Skills
development, to come up with training modules and so forth. Customer experience, how do
we maintain high-level customer experience while working remotely? Technology, communications
and marketing, and finally, measurement. This was the team. What we did was we got
those advanced leadership development experts, and then we paired them up with subject matter
experts from the fields. Obviously, we had HR experts on the policy team. They weren’t
leading it. The leads were folks that just had good leadership
skills. The lead for the policy team works in our finance office, in Kansas City. The
same is true of across all of those. The people that are the subject matter experts served
as subject matter experts. The leads came out of nowhere and led it. And then we built
a team. A virtual team. These are our slogans, if you will. “Work
is what you do.” “Telework is a team sport.” That one’s critical. It’s this notion that
if one person on the team is teleworking, everyone is teleworking. You have to understand
the nuances of what that means. You have to make sure that your chat window
is up and active, so that other folk can easily connect. That your presence, even if you’re
in the office, is active. “I’m out to lunch.” “I’m in a meeting.” This way, people know
where you are and what’s going on. It goes to that entire notion of transparency.
This is about transforming all of GSA, not just about telework. We’re using this to talk
about performance measurement, talk about how we need to model ourselves for our services.
And collaborate some as we move forward. Our transformational journey, doing well.
About another six minutes, guys, then we’ll go to questions. What we did was to jump start
it, we identified an enterprise-wide challenge. It just so happened, as fate would have it,
we partnered with The Telework Exchange, who was having Telework Week on February 14th
through 18th. We used our current policies. Of course, we hadn’t negotiated our policy.
As far as negotiations, we heard a little feedback from the union, saying, “You’ve already
started doing stuff, and you haven’t negotiated with us.” No. “We’re doing stuff based on
current rules. We’re just highlighting it, and we’re doing it, and we’re working it,
and we’re pushing it.” It was an excellent tool to open the conversation.
It pushed everyone. Our leaders, here you have the administrator and the commissioners
of public building services, federal acquisition services, and Sharon Wall, who is the leader
of our PMO. That’s the other thing we did. The leader
for the PMO was a regional commissioner that was pulled out. The administrator really believes
in moving senior leaders around, allowing her deputies to assume her roles. Constant
movement, if you will. They presented it. They said, “We’re going
to push it. We’re going to push it for a week, and we want to push the envelope as far as
we possibly can, encourage it.” It was awesome. We had 25 percent of GSA teleworking on Valentine’s
Day. That was the first day. Then we had a check-in with our technology
every single day to pulse-check it, and fix stuff on the dot. We have our data here on
the bottom. I’m not going to go through it. We were able to monitor. It was a huge lesson
learned for our IT infrastructure. But it also took taking risk. The administrator has
a good statement. “Fail fast, fail forward, fail fruitfully.” Part of our transformation is encouraging,
teaching these senior executives and leaders and project managers that risk is a part of
the formula for innovation. You’re not going to innovate if you don’t take risks. You better
believe that when I was trying to launch this, I got calls from people saying, “The system
is going to crash,” or “I’m not going to be able to function. Martha is going to get called
in by the president. Everything’s going to…” I had to get the administrator on the phone
with all the IT folk, and just say, “It’ll be OK. I’m willing to try this out.” That’s
the part of “Fail fast, fail fruitfully, fail forward.” The fail forward part is “See where
your failure points are and course-adjust.” We did a lot of this with senior executives
on their performance planning. Really pushing them, and we would get, “What if we fail?” It’s not about whether you fail or not fail.
It’s about what you did to course-adjust along the way. Teleworkers are very much pushing
senior leaders on that notion, as well. I’m going off topic. Our policy. All employees are immediately
eligible for telework. We’re saying everyone is eligible. Managers must justify opt-outs.
On our telework agreement, there’s a question. “This employee’s eligible? Yes, no.” If no,
the manager has to justify why, and this part is new, they have to put in a plan for what
will make that employee telework-eligible at some particular point in time. I think there’s a date. I forget, though.
Maybe ’90? I don’t remember. Maybe not. I’m looking at my colleague, Sue here, who’s our
labor relations expert. We’re saying that everyone needs to be eligible. I personally believe, even a front-desk receptionist
could do it. You put your laptop there, you put a web-cam up. The person sees it, she
sees that someone comes, you can send an IM from home to someone. You can do it if you
think creatively about it, and push the envelope a bit. We put in a greater definition how employees
lose eligibility. Leverage collaborative technologies to manage presence and performance management.
We’ll talk about that in just a second. This one, I think, is the most interesting. There’s no enterprise-wide standard schedule.
On the telework agreement, every employee, not just senior leaders, have the ability
to have a variable schedule. Or they can have the ability to be scheduled. If they’re scheduled,
that’s fine, but the enterprise doesn’t need to know that schedule. That schedule can stay
within the team. Current telework agreement would say, “I telework
every Monday and Friday,” let’s say. That’s great, but what if one Monday, I need to be
in the office? Let the work drive it, not necessarily a set schedule. That’s where the
flexibility and the communications and so forth come in. We are not asking folk to submit
a standard schedule. This is what we did. Our two unions are AFG and NEFI. This is our
strategy we’ve done with them. We hosted and facilitated collaborative pre-decisional meetings.
The key word here is “facilitated.” The [indecipherable 0:40:50] then drafted revised policy and training
models based on inputs received. Then we demonstrated to them, “We heard you,
and this is where it is.” Provide a draft policy to union, and then we facilitate and
negotiate of the drafted policy to reach consensus on it. We did it with one, now we have to
do it with the other. We define consensus — and this is the slide
we use with the unions — as “We can live with the outcomes.” No one’s ever going to
be 100 percent happy, but the question is, can you live with it? Can we move forward? Again, “facilitated” is the key part. We came
to them with our initial ideas on where we’re going, and then we asked them two basic questions.
This was in our pre-decisional meetings. I facilitated them, and when I facilitate, I’m
completely facilitating. I don’t really have an opinion. It’s challenging for me sometimes. “What are some current-state telework issues
we need to resolve?” Get them down, get them fast and furious. Here, I stated a few, and
then we just leave it blank. We just let them tell us. This is where they can say, “This
is a problem, and this is a problem, and this is a problem.” Great. We’ve heard you. We’ve
captured it. But then the next part of the conversation
is more important. “What are the negotiation team’s pre-decisional telework policy recommendations?”
What do you got for us? This may sound silly, but what we do is, the administrator calls
it share-display knowledge capture. The whole thing, training all of us on it. It’s this notion of “as people speak, we type,
and it’s clear up front on our screen.” As people speak, we type. This demonstrates that
we are listening, we’re hearing, and we’re capturing it. It’s not just going somewhere
on the side. It’s really cool. If you haven’t done it, I encourage you to
use this. Use a screen. Use a projector. We had all this data points. Of course, the telework
PMO took these data points to revise the policy, and come back to them. Did we take it all,
100 percent? No. But it definitely influenced the way we think and work. Communication. I’m going to blast through
some stuff. Performance management. I want to hit this. We created a dashboard. The way
most agencies measure telework currently is they count their agreements. They count the
schedules. We’ve got so many agreements and so many people
on Mondays, so many people on Tuesdays, so many people on Wednesday. That’s a static,
snapshot-in-time number. Many agencies, I’m assuming, also have a time and attendance
system that has a telework code. We know we did. What we said was, “Rather than using the static
agreements, which life happens, stuff changes, the work changes. Why don’t we just pull the
data directly from the time and attendance system?” We bought this off-the-shelf program. We worked with our CIO’s office, and now it
pulls it every pay period. This dashboard is what we will be using to report back to
OPM. Not the telework agreements. Because there’s no schedule in the telework agreement.
On the bottom right there, it’s also we have two metric points. The big grid on top, that’s the amount of
hours people are putting in per pay period. The bottom center grid, that is measuring
our VPN, virtual private network, and Citrix. We have two entry points, Citrix or VPN. We
can balance the two numbers, we think. But there’s going to be some human error in
the hours put in, which is also a transformational change — getting people responsible for their
own hours, the notion that your time may be flexible, it’s a different topic — and the
actual usage of the VPN time and Citrix time. We have to work on a formula, but probably
a balance between those two. This is our performance place mat. This is
just a simple tool we threw out there. Just in general, but we can really use it for telework. I will assure that work is done. What is the
work? Is it the right work to do? [indecipherable 0:44:36] happens by this date, so that my
customer or next person in the value chain will experience this benefit, which I will
verify to be valuable by checking this way. Simple, simple little tool that you can use
for telework. “I plan on telework tomorrow. This is what
I plan on doing. I plan on doing this work, so that by tomorrow, you will see this effect
and you experience this. This is how you’ll know I’m successful.” You could use it. It’s
just something we’ve put out there. The administrator loved it so much, she did
one for herself, and then required her entire SCS to do it for half-year reviews. It’s part
of their performance planning. Just a little tool. Her thing was she wanted it graphically.
She just threw that in there. It’s not the formal performance measurement
process, obviously, but it’s a good way to have a little conversation on performance.
I think it’s fun, so I just wanted to throw it out there. We wrote a white paper. We’ll
send that out afterwards. Technology is where I want to end. Technology
is a big piece of that. GSA is really pushing the envelope. GSA was the first agency, again,
that back in the ’90s to have Internet access at every employee workstation, and the administrator
wanted to continue that leadership, so we’ve moved to the cloud. We have Google. With Google, we have Gchat,
GVideo, GDocs, GSites, the whole nine yards, all of which supports mobility and telework.
You can easily pull up a video chat and so forth. We also have, which you can see there
on the right, the chats. We also have Citrix soft-phones. Your desk
line will ring at your laptop anywhere in the world, or in the US, because you can’t
take your computer outside. You can make a call from San Francisco, and it will be as
if you’re dialing from your 202 area code. The soft-phone supports video and can tie
into telepresence and so forth. A money-saving device is in our new building,
one of the notions we’re playing with is not buying desk phones. Those phones are expensive.
They’re like mini-computers. You don’t need them. Just a headset. I’m going to stop there. I have a video, but
I’m not…Last thing. The hoteling. Hoteling is a big part of this. It’s the other part.
In our telework agreement, if you agree to telework, if you are teleworking more than
two days a week, you do not have an assigned space. So, you will have to rely on the hoteling
software to find a space in our new system. That is the give-and-take, a negotiation piece
of it for our employees. We currently have it online and you can pull
up. It pulls up map, shows you what’s available. We use it for all our conference rooms. The
building platform hasn’t really hit, but we’re starting to use it. As we move to our 1800
F, our new one, where we know we won’t all fit if everyone showed up. We know it won’t
happen. This will grow and be used. Skills development. We created some videos
and stuff. There’s some collateral, which we’re going to distribute afterwards. I’m
not going to go through it here. With that, I’m going to stop. Great. 10 minutes.
We’re good? All right. Everyone still awake? Sharon Hall: We have a couple of questions
that came in through email. Someone asked about electronic signatures. Can you speak
to this issue in the current system software, that you’re aware of that would support this
when teleworking? Anthony: It is an issue. I know that lot of
people are working on it. [laughs] It is a barrier for some folk. I know, especially
in the financial office, it’s a serious barrier. There is a lot of work being done on it. I
don’t have a specific answer. I know it’s not solved. I don’t know if, Dr.
Adams, if you have any insights on that, in general? We hear it a lot. I know that people are looking
at it. But I would encourage folks that rely on that and feel that that’s an essential
part of their work, which it probably is, question yourself. “Is it essential 100 percent
of the time?” Are there some days that you just have conference calls to do? That’s a
great day to telework. Or just some days that you have a report to write. Sorry. Not a real
solid answer. Sharon: We have another question about the
hoteling issue you just talked about. They were wondering how would they actually find
a space? They see the software, but would they do it the day before they telework, right
before they come in? How does that work? Anthony: You can do it a couple different
ways. There’s a really nice interactive map and floor-plan schematic that pulls up. Have
you ever been to those parking lots that have red and green lights above each spot? It looks
a lot like that — on the virtual map, not in the actual office. You can only reserve a particular spot for
three weeks or a month, and then it doesn’t let you go any further. Same thing about how
far in advance you could go. There are some parameters around that, but you could do it
the night before. You could do it, I think, up to three weeks
in advance. Longer than three weeks in advance, there’s an advance period. Let’s say a month.
I don’t know. What I tend to do is put my spot up open for
hoteling when I’m not there. If I’m going on a meeting for a week, I’ll open my spot
up. Clean it up, tidy it up, and anyone could pop in. If they reserve it. Sue? Sue: People that are located in a particular
facility all have access to that software, and there are designated concierge people
to help with booking for people who wouldn’t otherwise have the access. The concept for
the headquarters, once it’s renovated, is that they’ll be constant concierge availability. Anthony: Yeah. There’s a concierge piece to
this to help monitor it, make sure people aren’t taking advantage, or “I can’t find
my spot” type of deal. One of the interesting things we learned was,
we created…In our open space t here, those cubes are name tags with numbers. It’s on
the same tag. The number of the cube, if you will, the space, and then the name. What ends up happening is you can’t move…People
were taking their name, “Today, I’m here.” But then the number moved. We quickly learned it needs to be separate.
The number needs to be firm, attached. People like to have their name where they are. It’s
a comfort zone or whatever. They can move their name tent around. Quick lesson learned. Audience Member: Do you have any occupations
that you exclude from telework in your agency? I know you said the administrator, and most
people telework. Are there any that are specifically excluded? Anthony: Did you want to address that one,
Sue? Sue: Yes. Anthony: Did you want to stand up? Sue: No. Anthony: No? [laughter] Anthony: OK. Sue: We have some wage grade positions that
are excluded by the nature of their work. Custodians at the White House really can’t
do their work remotely. Neither can somebody who’s a forklift operator in a depot with
supplies. There are certain times when there might be
exclusions. Like if somebody is conducting on the job training for somebody, it might
not be appropriate for them to be able to work through telework. Anthony: Do you remember what the percentage?
I think I heard a number once. Sue: It’s very low. Anthony: It’s very low. Like two to three
percent? Yeah. Sue: Building managers are another position
that’s really not conducive to telework, because they have to be on-site to solve problems
in the buildings. Audience Member: Tony, I have a question.
Telework can be a big cultural change. Not just for managers, but for employees. How
did you deal with situations where managers, if they can’t see the employee, how did you
put their mind at ease on managing those employees remotely like that? On the flip side, what
about employees that don’t want to telework? Anthony: Yeah. It’s not required, by any stretch.
That’s clear in our policy. You can’t force anyone to telework. There’s some stuff in
their about COOP depending on what’s going on. The notion that the government never closes.
The buildings never close from OPM’s perspective. The culture part is my favorite part of it.
That line of sight management. I feed a person, therefore, I can hold them accountable. That’s really where a lot of the conversation
is happening with the performance planning managers. There’s an interesting quote in
here. “Telework doesn’t create management problems, it reveals them.” I have to be honest.
The administrator and my rhetoric is pretty strong that way. This is managing the modern
workforce. You can not manage a modern workforce through line of sight management. The end,
well, I’ll start with that. With that harsh kind of rhetoric, moving forward
then, we have developed and procured a very specific manager’s training that we’re going
to roll out for all thirteen through SCS. That is specific, so it’s to be managers and
current managers that our hoteling software company also provides. We’ve partnered with
them. We’ve created a mandatory telework training that is primarily cultural in house to also
address that as well. That’s the big shift. It’s about being clear
about the performance and the outcomes. When you’re working remotely, the outcome is a
way to demonstrate what you’re doing. Do you want anything, Sue? Sue is our Labor
Relations expert and serves on the PMO. A true subject matter expert. Sue: There’s only one point that I think might
be really helpful to people. That is that there is an explicit presumption that the
mode for meetings, all meetings, is remote. Anthony: Did that make it in the policy, or
did that get cut? Sue: It made it. Anthony: It made it, good. Let me talk to
it. In the policy, it said that all meetings,
that we have, have to have remote access. With Google, it’s completely easy. It’s just
about putting out a bridge, and setting up WebEx, for example, so that people can call
in, and pull up your WebEx to see the slides and follow along. Or just pull up a group
chat right there from your laptop. The technology’s there, now it’s more about the behavioral
shift. Is anyone going around all meetings, no, but
that’s part of the push. Also modeling, I think modeling is a big piece. The administrator
is in a cube. Many of our senior leaders are in those glass offices. Administrator is in
a cube, the deputy is in a cube, chief of staff is in a cube, our chief people officer
is in a cube. There are some other examples of that. Leaders modeling the behavior. The administrator
did that place card. She said, “This is what I’ve done, this is how I’m using it for my
team. Here’s a tool you can use.” Yes, madam. Thank you. I loved you being here.
Both of you. I was like, reaction. I was OK. Thank you. It was cool, helpful. Audience Member: Does this also require a
change, before starting telework, for the entire group, in the thinking of clarifying
expectations, for not only the people that are going on telework, but for everyone? It
shouldn’t be a change in practice, because someone is going on telework, to clarify the
expectations. And that management, by walking around, you can’t continue to do that. All
expectations have to be clarified. Correct? Anthony: Yeah. When I started, I think it
was slide two, it opens the window on these conversations. You can really have a conversation
about, what am I doing, what are my expectations. Audience Member: I guess what I’m saying is
it should be a requirement for all managers, even before starting. And it’s not just for
the people that are teleworking, it’s with the people that are going to stay in the office,
because you don’t want to set two separate standards. Anthony: Absolutely. That’s the part that’s
fascinating to me. To your point also. It’s no different. Managing a teleworker, the expectations
and outcome… Audience Member: Should not be any different. Anthony: How can it be any different? Audience Member: Because of the expectations
piece. We typically don’t set expectations, what are you going to do today, if you’re
in the office. Anthony: We are comforted by the fact that
we see the person there. Regardless, and let me tell you I’ve got stories, of what they’re
doing, we are comforted and report to say, I can say that the taxpayer’s dollar is well
spent today, because person A is here. Doesn’t matter what they’re doing. So, the real conversation
is on performance and management, not telework. With the unions and the labor relations, that’s
an important part. One of the things we had to be really strong about, and Sue can talk
to this, is being really clear on what we’re talking about here to move forward. We’re
talking about telework. We’re not fixing the entire performance management system. Will telework open a dialog on performance
managing just like we had here? Absolutely. Will telework open a conversation on work
site layout and furniture? Absolutely, but we’re not going to solve that here, right
now. We’re talking just telework right now. Right? OK. Audience Member: Different topic. Anthony: Yes, how are we doing on time? Oh,
we’re at time. We’re OK? OK, good. Audience Member: The last quick question is
as you go through this, whether or not you’re going to post on some site or make available
to the agencies and bureaus kind of your lessons learned, especially with the thornier issues. Anthony: Yes, gsa.com/telework is not a hundred
percent yet, but it will be. We plan on pulling all this collateral information which we’re
going to email out — our training module, our policy, all there, in support of OPM’s
work as well. Our sites will link to each other. That’s the end state, but we have to
hit go, first. We have to go first and we want to do it. This today was like, this is where we’re going,
this is what we’re doing, we’ve done some of it, but we haven’t hit the go button yet.
The policy will hit the administrative desk on Monday, there’s still a little more negotiation
to do, the training module will hit on November, and then we’ll share it with everyone. Sharon: We have one more quick question. Anthony: Sure. Audience Member: It’s sort of a compound question.
Number one, I presume that you are saying that your negotiated policy or your practice
is to allow the workers to telework up to five days a week? Anthony: Yep. We’re not putting a limit, maximum
or minimum. The work drives the need. Audience Member: The second part relates to
hoteling. For the labor relations operation, how do you envision that working out with
the hoteling type system and the cube system? Anthony: The short answer is that’s hoteling,
and a different topic. [laughs] Not directly related to telework. Right? Sue: No. Hoteling is captured within the telework
policy. Anthony: Oh, that’s right, because we said… Sue: We’re negotiating hoteling with the telework
policy. Anthony: Thank God, you’re here, Sue. That
notion that if you telework more than two days a week, you have to hotel. Sue: Right. Anthony: Yeah. Sorry, you’re right. I would say that the presidents, and a lot
of the work on reducing our physical footprint and collaborative work environment, those
are the kind of carrots, if you will, to help support the negotiations. OK, I’m going to go away now. Thank you, all.
Appreciate it. Tim: Thank you, Tony. Thank you, Alexis, and
thank you, Justin. We hope that you were able to take something away today and help you
implement telework at your agency. For those of you on the web, or even those here in the
auditorium, if you think of any additional questions, please feel free to send them to
[email protected], and we’ll do our best to get you an answer as soon as possible. We strongly encourage you to complete the
evaluation form. For those of you here in the auditorium, please complete them and leave
them with our staff at the back exit here. For those of you watching by webcast, please
email your evaluation forms to [email protected] We do ask and encourage you to submit those
evaluation forms. They’re very helpful for us as we plan future roundtable sessions.
Otherwise, thank you for joining us, and have a good day.


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