The Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today received the "Best Organization for Teleworkers" award from the Mid-Atlantic Telework Advisory Council (MATAC).
The MATAC chose the USPTO for this award because "the agency's telework program is results-oriented and focuses on telework as a best business practice as evidenced by:
- Recognizing that challenging work and a good work environment lead to satisfied employees who are more productive and more likely to stay with the agency, translating into lower operating costs.
- Offering a family-friendly work environment including telework and other employee-friendly options.
- Believing that the employees are the key to the success of the agency.
- Having a strong history of successful teleworking, the USPTO telework program has been in existence since 1997 and continues to grow."
"Our work-at-home programs have been a great success," noted Commissioner for Trademarks Anne H. Chasser, who accepted the award on behalf of the USPTO. "Today's award is testament to the USPTO's well-deserved reputation for leadership in this area."
The USPTO's telework program began in 1997 as a small pilot for trademark examining attorneys. The agency saw telework as a way to leverage technology, maximize the use of available space, and retain highly qualified employees. Today, 110 of the agency's 250 trademark examining attorneys work from home about 90 percent of their time. In March 2003, examining attorneys working from home gave up individual offices at USPTO and began to share offices in clusters of four to five attorneys. This move, known as hoteling, allowed the agency to give up three floors of office space and save nearly $1.5 million in rent annually. In September 2003, the USPTO received an award from the Telework Coalition for its work-at-home program for trademark examining attorneys.
After a year-long pilot, USPTO established a work-at-home program in January 2003 for up to 800 senior patent examiners, representing about 60 percent of the agency's top-level examiners, who are eligible to work from home one day a week.
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