Today, President Obama signed into law a bill aimed at increasing the amount of telework in the federal government. Under the 2010 Telework Enhancement Act, federal agencies will have 180 days to:
1) establish a policy on working outside the office
2) identify eligible employees
3) inform them of the option to work from home.
The new law also requires agencies to appoint an internal official to manage telework initiatives, and incorporate the policy into the agency’s continuity of operations plans.
What does this mean for government contractors? While a full understanding of the law’s implications will take time to develop, the government’s reliance on technology will clearly increase–a potential opportunity for vendors. Telephone and video conferencing tools, collaboration applications, cloud computing, mobile applications, etc. will all find new homes within the federal government. And, while these technologies are currently alive and well in the commercial world, concerns around classified information, security breaches, etc. (more acute within the government), will create demand for new advances in cybersecurity, network monitoring, encryption, and the like. Innovative technology contractors able to respond to this upcoming shift in thinking just may find a lucrative market segment in government teleworking.