Sous-comité de la technologie de l’information
and / et
(613) 580-2424 x41544, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ref N°: ACS2011-COS-EPS-0018
That the Information Technology Sub-Committee and the Finance and Economic Development Committee receive this report for information.
On August 25, 2010, Council approved a motion introduced by Councillor Maria McRae:
1. That Council direct staff to proceed with the implementation of Telework where operationally feasible and examine the efforts being undertaken by the federal government; and
2. That Council direct staff to conduct ongoing monitoring and evaluation to compare Telework results with initial goals and objectives to determine program success and identify continued challenges; and,
3. That these initiatives proceed within existing budget allocations.
On November 24, 2010, City Council declared “Telework Day", endorsing the value and positive impacts that can be realized through an expanded telework program within the City of Ottawa. It was requested that staff provide the new Council with a briefing on the success of Telework and the positive impacts of Telework Day in the City of Ottawa.
April 17 to 23, 2011 was Calgary Telework Week in the Calgary Region. Telework in Calgary is promoted and sponsored through WORKshift Calgary an initiative of Calgary Economic Development with funding from Transport Canada and support from all three levels of government. This year, WORKshift Calgary released a report by the Telework Research Network called WORKshift Canada: The Bottom Line on Telework. The research sparked renewed discussion around the benefits to telework. The authors of the report cited the contribution and support of Councillor Maria McRae in promoting telework.
The report suggests that the total impact of 2 days a week telecommuting by those with compatible jobs and a desire to work from home is $53 billion in national savings. A company with 250 telecommuters would save over $3 million per year.
One of the largest obstacles to a successful telework program is the concern that employees working from home are not productive and that teleworkers are difficult to manage. Promoting telework on an enterprise-wide basis remains a challenge to traditional organizations.
Attitudes toward telework in the City of Ottawa are beginning to change. When surveyed in 2009, managers suggested that approximately 300 of all office-workers might participate in some form of remote work; that is, working either from alternate City locations or work from home. In 2010, when these managers were surveyed, the number had increased to 900 possible remote work opportunities. In that year, businesses and the City faced two major challenges to maintaining operations: the threat of a H1N1 pandemic and the transit strike. The advantages to flexible work arrangements became evident.
Through the Service Ottawa Program, the City of Ottawa is embarking on an investment in technology that will create the foundation to support work anytime and anywhere. Although not specifically directed toward work from home, the project will improve the communication between all workers and the workplace. By investing in collaboration tools and mobile devices, creating collaborative team spaces, supporting teleconferencing and developing program support to link remote and field workers; it is anticipated that managers and employees will be more inclined to support and promote telework as a flexible work option.
This report comprises the staff response to both the McRae motion and the Telework Day request.
Le 25 août 2010, le Conseil a adopté une motion présentée par la conseillère Maria McRae :
1. Que le Conseil demande au personnel de procéder à la mise en œuvre du télétravail dans la mesure du possible et d’examiner les efforts déployés en ce sens par le gouvernement fédéral;
2. Que le Conseil demande au personnel de procéder à une surveillance et à une évaluation continues du programme de télétravail afin de pouvoir en comparer les résultats aux buts et objectifs initiaux et déterminer ainsi le succès du programme et les défis à relever;
3. Que ces initiatives soient menées dans le respect des crédits budgétaires existants.
Le 24 novembre 2010, le Conseil municipal a proclamé la « Journée du télétravail », reconnaissant ainsi la valeur et les répercussions positives éventuelles d’un programme élargi de télétravail à la Ville d’Ottawa. On a alors demandé au personnel d’informer le nouveau Conseil du succès du télétravail et des répercussions positives de la Journée du télétravail à Ottawa.
Du 17 au 23 avril 2011 se déroulait la Semaine du télétravail dans la région de Calgary. Le télétravail y est encouragé et parrainé par WORKshift Calgary, une initiative du Calgary Economic Development qui profite du financement de Transports Canada et du soutien des trois paliers de gouvernement. Cette année, WORKshift Calgary a publié un rapport du Telework Research Network intitulé WORKshift Canada: The Bottom Line on Telework. Cette recherche a relancé la discussion au sujet des avantages du télétravail. Les auteurs du rapport soulignent la contribution et l’appui de la conseillère Maria McRae à la promotion du télétravail.
Le rapport indique que les travailleurs, dont l’emploi leur permet de travailler à domicile 2 jours par semaine, entraînent une économie de 53 milliards de dollars à l’échelon national. Une entreprise comptant 250 télétravailleurs pourrait donc épargner plus de 3 millions de dollars par an.
L’un des principaux obstacles à un bon programme de télétravail réside dans la crainte que les employés travaillant à domicile ne soient pas productifs et que les télétravailleurs soient difficiles à gérer. La promotion du télétravail dans l’ensemble de l’entreprise demeure un défi pour les entreprises de structure traditionnelle.
Un changement d’attitude s’amorce à l’égard du télétravail dans la Ville d’Ottawa. Lorsqu’ils ont été sondés en 2009, les gestionnaires estimaient qu’environ 300 de tous les employés de bureau gagneraient à travailler à distance, soit à partir d’un autre endroit dans la ville, soit à partir de leur domicile. En 2010, lorsque ces gestionnaires ont été interrogés de nouveau, ils parlaient alors de 900 possibilités de travail à distance. Cette même année, les entreprises et la Ville étaient aux prises avec deux cas de force majeure compromettant le maintien des services : la menace de pandémie de grippe H1N1 et la grève des employés du transport en commun. C’est à ce moment que les avantages d’un régime de travail assoupli sont apparus comme une évidence.
Le présent rapport renferme la réponse du personnel à la motion de la conseillère McRae et à la demande concernant la Journée du télétravail.
Telework is a flexible work arrangement that provides the opportunity for employees to work away from a traditional office location with the support of telecommunications and computer technology.
Telework provides both benefits and challenges for employees, for employers and for the community at large. Transport Canada suggests that the benefits for employees include an improved work-life balance and productivity, time savings through reduced commutes, better employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, and better employment opportunities for persons in remote communities. Challenges for employees who telework include: a reduced workplace exposure, overlap of work and personal life, and possible reduced physical activity.
Common benefits for employers who promote telework include: greater employee motivation and productivity; enhanced employee recruitment and retention, reduced requirement for office and parking space; reduced employee relocation needs. Challenges for employers when considering telework programs include: adopting teleworker management skills, set-up costs, employee health and safety, information security and confidentiality.
Finally, the common positive benefits from increased teleworking to communities include reduced travel demands and vehicular emissions, greater flexibility to respond to security, energy, weather or construction events with a more readily deployable workplace, and the economic benefits to neighbourhood businesses with a dispersed workplace. Transport Canada suggests that while the negative impacts of telework to the community are not likely to outweigh the positives, they would include a rebound in commuting travel within the local community, and the possible increase in urban development as commuting demands become less of a factor in decisions around housing choices.
For many, telework is understood to be a “work from home” arrangement; however telework was originally intended to apply to work conducted from any remote location including other alternate corporate buildings. Telework can be a full-time, part-time or occasional activity including:
· Home-based telework that allows employees to reduce or eliminate their commute on teleworking days.
· Telework from an employer’s satellite office allows commuting employees to minimize travel while still working in a more traditional office environment.
· Telework from telework centres, which may be restricted to employees of large organizations or are private or publicly supported and open to the public on a fee-for-service basis. This is the model that has been developed by the City of Calgary.
To be successful, Transport Canada as well as many national telework organizations recommends that a Telework program requires openness, flexibility and support from both management and employees. Telework policies and programs should be introduced in a manner that helps management and employees:
· identify occupation types that will assist with the determination of which activities are suitable for telework arrangements,
· provides guidelines for teleworking that will help confirm how individual telework arrangements may be assigned and monitored to ensure that overall quantity and quality of work is maintained,
· provides technology and training for teleworkers, managers and colleagues to understand telework expectations and objectives and to understand effective communication strategies to improve time management and move to results based management.
Telework and the Federal Government
The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat reports that the federal government’s policy on Telework came into effect on December 9, 1999. Prior to that date, the practise of telework was conducted on an “informal basis.”
The Treasury Board’s current policy is not “prescriptive,” and only acts as a guiding principle for individual branch managers who administer and monitor the use of telework. There are no centralized statistics or data repository within the federal government.
Treasury Board advises that they intend to revise the existing government policy on telework to further divest responsibility of telework administration and implementation to individual branches. While it is reported that Federal employees are “incredibly eager” to try telework, the biggest obstacle in its successful application has been overcoming the misconceptions of managers.
As a consequence, they report that telework is not widely used, or promoted, largely due to concerns from managers about their inability to gauge employee productivity based on attendance and visibility in the office.
Teleworking in the City of Ottawa
The City of Ottawa recognizes the value of telework and has had a Telework Policy and Procedure in place since December of 2003. The current Telework Policy requires that the teleworker and the responsible manager complete a Telework Agreement to formalize the work arrangements and establish the expectations for the work being completed. The arrangement is voluntary and can be terminated by either the manager or the employee with sufficient notice. Human Resources advise that there are less than a half dozen formal telework agreements.
The City of Ottawa currently provides the basic technology to enable office-based staff to work effectively from a remote location, be that at home or at another City building. In addition to laptops and cell phones, Information Technology Services provides employees with web mail service (w5.ottawa.ca), remote laptop access to the City network and Blackberries.
Service Ottawa – Mobile Workforce Solutions Project
The City of Ottawa recognizes that by leveraging technology on an enterprise-wide scale, an opportunity is created to significantly change how work is effectively conducted. Service Ottawa is a program that introduces a new way of thinking about how the City provides services to its Citizens, businesses and clients. It is a program that challenges departments to define innovative business practices and leverage technology to enable employees to deliver excellent service to our Citizens, while maximizing the use of available City resources.
The Mobile Workforce Solutions Project is the component of the Service Ottawa Program that will ensure that staff has the appropriate tools and support to work 'smarter' regardless of where they are located. Over the next four years, the Mobile Workforce Solutions Project will provide the technology infrastructure and business-appropriate devices and administrative and logistical support to ensure effective and reliable field and office-based mobile operations. This support will be directed to field-based and office-based workplaces and will form a foundation to further encourage remote work including work from home.
For example, the Mobile Workforce Solutions Project will introduce collaborative technology that will support more rapid communication between employees and with the public regardless of where the employee is physically located. The project will implement enterprise mobile network security, mobile devices that meet business needs, teleconferencing to support remote discussion and decision-making; enabled boardrooms; soft phones on laptops supported by the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) deployment, increased reliance on electronic records, document sharing tools, increased WiFi and wireless access, internal team message networks and electronic presence awareness. With the VoIP initiative, the new converged voice & data network with a Cisco software platform is able to offer integratable modular communication products from their suite such as conferencing, instant messaging and presence awareness. These are the tools that have changed the business environment and enabled businesses with national and international branches support their employees to work effectively away from the traditional workspace.
As a first priority, the Mobile Workforce Solutions project will provide services and devices to support field-based staff with reliable connectivity and network security. In so doing, field staff will operate in a fully connected mobile environment and will not be required to report to a standard workstation to enter inspection results and schedule work.
While significant productivity gains have been experienced by various field operations that have piloted working remotely in the field, the experience to date has been less than ideal. Field-based operations that have used mobile technology have not been continuously connected while in the field. Service has dropped or been lost depending on where the employee is located. When service has been restored, the employee must repeat the process of logging on and confirming their password. While considerable time has been saved by not having to report to an office location to retrieve work orders and documentation, time has been lost when connectivity is dropped.
A mobility pilot project that ran between January 2009 and July 2010 provided by-law officers with the technology and modernized processes they needed to operate in a mobile capacity. As a result of adopting a fully mobile office model, existing bylaw officers were able to handle increased service requests, equivalent to the workload of five additional FTE officers, at a cost savings of $475,000 a year.
The City also derived operational savings and productivity improvements as a result of the pilot project from:
· reduced employee absenteeism (42%)
· decreased fuel consumption (20%)
· real estate costs decreased (68%)
· in 2009, the average number of zoning complaint files handled by each bylaw officer reached 828, compared to the average of 345 zoning complaint files per bylaw officer found in other Ontario municipalities.
These saving and productivity were achieved in a test environment without the support of a continuous connection to the city network. It is expected that with the support of ‘always-connected’ foundation on Bylaw Services devices this summer, additional productivity gains will be realized.
These solutions and services are most effective when implemented as enterprise solutions that are scalable and therefore available to the entire field-based mobile workforce. In addition to devices and the technology foundation for city-wide network connectivity and security, the project will introduce an enterprise-wide development platform that will support the development of work management applications on field devices in support of fully-integrated electronic field work. The project will initiate the use of this solution by assisting two key field-based business areas with the development of custom-built integrated workflow on field devices that will record and report on work order activity. This information will be uploaded directly from the field device to the business application increasing efficiency and reporting capability.
Remote Workers – Teleworkers
For office-based staff, the Mobile Workforce Solutions project has established a phased deployment schedule that will provide sufficient time to allow stakeholder groups to confirm both the technical and operational supports required to enable office-based employees to work remotely. From mid 2011 to 2014, desktops will be replaced with laptops or other remote devices for a target population of office-based workers who routinely meet with internal clients at alternate City building locations and who currently are required to return to their designated workstation to complete reports, return paper files and complete the days work. Where teleconferencing is not an option, and these individuals are required to work with their internal clients, they will be provided with the tools and support to remain at that location and complete their day’s work.
Through the deployment of the collaboration tools mentioned previously, it is hoped that the concerns regarding availability, accountability, isolation and performance measurement will be mitigated. Team members will be able to identify the status of their colleagues through a device or laptop dashboard application that will immediately advise them whether their colleague is on the phone or logged into the city network. With this tool, team members will be able to determine more rapidly the availability of their colleague to discuss an item or answer a question.
Finally, all of these initiatives require the support of comprehensive change management plans including training and assistance for business units and individuals to assist with the transition to new ways of conducting business as well as adapting to new technology.
In addition, the project will work with Human Resources Department to develop guidelines that will assist managers with the development and support of remote office workers and teleworkers. Not all office work or office workers will be well suited for remote work or telework arrangements. Standard work profiles will be categorized to confirm which work types may or may not be recommended for telework and guidelines will be created to assist managers evaluate individual requests for telework arrangements. Finally, guidelines will be developed for supervisors and managers to help them tailor individual telework agreements with their employees to ensure that remote workers continue to be aligned with the work team and engaged with the workplace.
To support field and office remote workers, the project will support the creation of a few pilot examples of temporary workstations known as 'hotelling' stations for those employees who may work two or three days away from a headquarters location. Effective use of hotelling stations may result in individuals sharing or relinquishing a permanent workstation.
As individuals and teams are enabled with the mobile technology and are provided with appropriate technical support to ensure that remote work is productive, manageable and measurable, it is expected that the “telework” opportunities can then be more vigorously promoted.
There are no specific rural implications associated with this report.
The Mobile Workforce Solutions Project team is working with all departments within the City of Ottawa to ensure that business concerns and operational issues are considered in the development, implementation and deployment of devices and services. Working groups representing stakeholders from target work units are actively engaged in the development, evaluation and review of the key deliverables within the project plan.
In addition, the project team is collaborating with the Human Resources Department to ensure that changes in technology are aligned with an updated Telework policy and guidelines to support telework specifically and remote work in general. The Mobile Workforce Solutions Project is partnered with Information Technology Services Department on all technology initiatives.
There are no legal/risk management impediments associated with this report.
This report is aligned with the City's Service Excellence Plan and Service Ottawa initiatives.
The Mobile Workforce Solutuions Project is strategically aligned with the IT Technology Roadmap and deliverables are developed in concert with IT partners.
The five year spending plan for the technology investments to support a Mobile Workforce, including remote and telework, was approved in 2009 with the current year commitments approved as part of the 2011 budget.
Human Resources Department advises that they will be updating the Telework Policy with input from stakeholders by the end of 2011. The Mobile Workforce Project will continue to implement the technology and project deliverables that will support an improved Telework experience as the program is implemented between 2012 and 2014.