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FCW : November 30, 2012
s strange as it sounds, enterprise mobile initiatives eventually could improve the management of the federal workforce. That's not because of the tech- nology itself. It's just that managing teleworkers compels managers to renew their focus on tried-and- true management practices, said Cindy Auten, general manager of the Telework Exchange, a public- private partnership focused on telework and mobility in the federal community. Here are Auten's best practices for managing the mobile of ce that could pay off for managers and employees alike, no matter where they work. 1. Learn to trust. The prospect for a successful tele- work program always begins -- and sometimes ends -- with the ques- tion of trust. Does a federal manager trust his or her employees to be productive when they are not in the of ce? If the answer is no, the program is not likely to be successful -- and that manager has bigger problems to address. The fact is, an employee who would not be productive working remotely probably is not being pro- ductive right now. Telework expos- es those problems by emphasizing output rather than attendance. "It's forcing a conversation that should have been happening," Auten said. 2. Communicate with intention. When everyone is in the of ce, managers don't even need to think about how to communicate with their employees. And that's not necessarily a good thing. When conversations are hap- pening opportunistically, manag- ers might not be giving thought to what and how they are com- municating. It's easy for messages to get missed or muddled. The dynamics are different when em- ployees are not in the of ce. "I can't see them, so I am more focused on making sure my e-mail communication and phone commu- nications are up to par," said Auten. And of course many employees often are mobile anyway, checking their e-mail on their smart phone while attending a meeting else- where in the buildings. So clear and concise communications are always a good idea, Auten said. 3. De ne measures upfront. If an employee is not in the of ce, how can a manager tell if he or she is working? That's always a challenge with knowledge work- ers, whose daily work often is not quanti able. But quantity is not the only measure of productivity. For example, are employees meeting their deadlines? Are they working within their budgets? And are they responding to e-mails and phone calls in a timely manner? Can they juggle multiple tasks? Such measures can't be as- sessed with a calculator. Nonethe- less, they provide both the manager and the employees with a good sense of how telework is working. The key is to set the expectations upfront and to provide regular feed- back along the way, Auten said. Sponsored Report MOBILE OFFICE 3 best practices for managing the mobile office Cindy Auten of the Telework Exchange says teleworkers can benefit from more disciplined man- agement practices. FULL REPORT ONLINE Go to fcw.com/MobileOffice 2. Mobility management: The bigger the better 3. BYOD: It's more complicated than you might think 4. Mobile apps: The race is on 5. Mobile security: Innovation is in the works Other Mobile Office Report Articles
November 15, 2012