Obama wants teleworker expansion

Obama made the remark during a forum on Workplace Flexibility today at the White House, where CEOs, small business owners and other labor experts will discuss ways to help working parents. Much of the discussion centered around helping working women with families. 

John Berry, director of the Office of Personnel Management, outlined a pilot program for 400 of his employees to jump start a broader telecommuting practice throughout the federal government. 

If it works, Berry said it "will become the cornerstone in our efforts to make the federal government the model employer for the 21st century, as well as meet the president's challenge to make government cool again."

Obama, who is frequently seen with a mobile e-mail device in hand, said among other things, "where new technology can help, we'll find a secure, cost-effective way to install it."

In 2008, 21 of 78 federal agencies responded that they had established or increased budget for technology expenditures to deal with security and other issues for teleworkers, according to an August 2009 OPM report. 

Overall, fewer than 9 percent of the eligible federal workers were telecommuting in 2008, the report said.

The president concluded by saying, "work is what you do, not where you are."