Mason Enterprise Center Encourages Teleworking

Posted: November 20, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Ferraro

In today’s competitive business world, many organizations are more focused on the work performed rather than on the location where it is performed. Organizations that allow their employees to telework often find that it increases productivity and job satisfaction while decreasing traffic and air pollution.

The Mason Enterprise Center, administered by the School of Public Policy, understands the needs of businesses. The center has 38 locations in Virginia, with the Fairfax office as headquarters.

Specializing in the areas of small business services, government contracting, international business, entrepreneurship, technology ventures and telework initiatives, the center offers a broad array of services and resources. These include business counseling, seminars, publications, sponsored research programs and information services. Each program is independently funded through the federal government and various grants and contracts.

The center’s telework and training centers are just one type of service offered to federal and private sector employees throughout the region. The first telework center opened in 1995 in Fairfax. Funded by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), four telework centers are currently operated by Mason in Fairfax, Herndon and Manassas, where there are two. Three centers located in Woodbridge, Stafford and Fredericksburg are operated by the George Washington Regional Commission. All of the telework centers operate as a cooperative effort for NoCommute.org, a pilot project sponsored by the GSA.

“Sometimes employees work at the telework centers every day or just certain days during the week,” says Keith Segerson, assistant dean in the School of Public Policy and managing director for the Mason Enterprise Center. “Telework centers promote a better quality of life for employees and also reduce traffic,” he adds.

Organizations such as the Department of the Navy or Department of Defense that wish to have their employees telework at the center sign an agreement with Mason that stipulates the payment required. This money is then deposited into a GSA account, and Mason is supplied with a grant that supports its operating costs.

Employees reserve and schedule a cubicle or workstation online. The telework centers are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Employees may use equipment such as telephones, fax machines and copy machines that are provided by Mason or bring in their own equipment and supplies.

In addition, employees who telework can move from one workstation to another and have their phone numbers and Internet connections transferred to their new location. Those who work at the telework center every day at the same workstation often personalize their desks, says Segerson.

The telework centers also allow employees access to a training lab where they can train other employees or customers on various subjects.

Occasionally, even high-level government officials such as Lurita Doan, administrator of the GSA, Cong. Tom Davis and Daliza Salas, director of the Office of Human Resources in the U.S. Department of Labor, have dropped in to take advantage of the telework centers.

For more information about Mason’s telework centers, visit the Mason Enterprise Center web site or contact Segerson at 703-277-7724.

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