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Summary:

Next week at Net:Work in San Francisco, tech geeks and forward-thinking business folks will gather to discuss the untethered, agile future of work. But apparently it’s not just these private actors that are cheerleading these changes; several governments are getting behind the idea too.

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Next week at Net:Work, tech geeks, journalists and forward-thinking business folks will gather to discuss the untethered, agile future of work, where we will be able to get things done nearly anywhere. But apparently, it’s not just these private actors cheerleading an evolution of how we work. Governments are getting behind the change too.

That’s what the Intranet Benchmarking Forum is reporting on its blog, where it rounds up new initiatives in the U.K., U.S. and Netherlands to encourage agile working. I include myself with the many Twitter addicts who were already familiar with the Dutch campaign thanks to its catchy appeals to “start your day in a bathrobe, not in a traffic jam,” featuring people being productive in dashing pink dressing gowns.

Obviously, it’s a memorable and much-linked-to campaign, but the slogan wasn’t just for humor. Behind the laughs was a serious message for “New Way of Working” week that encouraged people to cut down on their commuting for the benefit of the three Ps: planet, profit and people.

The Netherlands may be renowned for its forward thinking policies, but the rise of agile working isn’t just some Dutch utopian dream. The much less idealistic governments of the U.S. and the U.K. are also cheerleading new ways of working, according to the IBF post:

Mindsets still seem to be stuck in old ways of working.

This was the message from Norman Baker MP at last week’s Worktech conference in London where he unveiled the UK governments [sic] “Anywhere Working” program. He made the case for agile working practices clearly and unequivocally, citing mounting pressures on transport systems, environmental concerns and business efficiencies as key factors….

There has also been a recent executive order from the US government on “Promoting Efficient Spending” which points to digital and agile working practices as central to realizing efficiencies. According to an article in the Environmental Leader, limiting travel and using alternatives such as video conferencing, and the efficient use of online instead of printed information were both cited by the government as important. Although not a direct agile working campaign, again this adds weight to the argument.

So with governments getting behind the idea, what’s stopping businesses from adopting it? Inertia is IBF’s simple answer and one we’ve heard before. Still, official efforts to encourage new ways or working should help convince skeptical traditionalists (though the government here in the States could pass much-needed legislation that prevents double taxation of telecommuters as well).

And speaking of government actions that would encourage new ways of working, the coworking community has a few requests too. DeskMag recently published this list of 10 things the government could do to help the movement out.

Do you think governments are doing enough to encourage agile work? What other actions might help?

Image courtesy of Flickr user Natuur & Milieu.

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  2. #virtual events Governments get behind agile working: Next week at Net:Work, tech geeks, journalists and forward… http://t.co/ePCUCo9C

  3. True Small Business Friday, December 2, 2011

    Governments get behind agile working http://t.co/VEPywVIn #smallbiztech

  4. Small Business Apps Friday, December 2, 2011

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  6. Freelance Mentor Friday, December 2, 2011

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  9. Gianto Widianto Friday, December 2, 2011

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  10. Governments get behind agile working: Next week at Net:Work, tech geeks, journalists and forward-thinking busine… http://t.co/LEbUcqJN

  11. Governments get behind agile working: Next week at Net:Work, tech geeks, journalists and forward-thinking busine… http://t.co/w8PhqTIj

  12. Tech Management Friday, December 2, 2011

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  14. Governments get behind agile working: Next week at Net:Work, tech geeks, journalists and forward-thinking busine… http://t.co/ULqJO0jc

  15. Location Alert Friday, December 2, 2011

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  16. Governments get behind agile working http://t.co/Fr3Aq3Ca

  17. WebWorkerDaily.com Friday, December 2, 2011

    Governments get behind agile working http://t.co/R5cC0Jnb

  18. JobCircle.com Friday, December 2, 2011

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  19. Web Dev Feeds Friday, December 2, 2011

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  20. Collaboration Friday, December 2, 2011

    “@TrueSmallBiz: Governments get behind agile working http://t.co/9CgclGQc #smallbiztech”

  21. Governments get behind agile working #wwd http://t.co/fvsG0jCd

  22. Fburnr: Governments get behind agile working: Next week at Net:Work, tech geeks, journalists… http://t.co/rnjuvcA3

  23. Govs get behind agile working http://t.co/8Vt2lHn1

  24. I wonder how long a sprint will take. Hoping it will speed up slow gov RT @JohnFMoore: Govs get behind agile working http://t.co/eI5a2ftl

  25. Shevonne Polastre Friday, December 2, 2011

    Governments get behind agile working http://t.co/GxYWE03l

  26. Jason M Punko Friday, December 2, 2011

    RT @JohnFMoore: Govs get behind agile working http://t.co/8Vt2lHn1

  27. Christopher Glenn Friday, December 2, 2011

    Jessica, I think the best thing governments can do is change casual friday to “agile friday” where government employees are encouraged to work from home, coffeeshops, etc. http://j.mp/rsN4TW

  28. Christopher Glenn Friday, December 2, 2011

    I just commented on “Governments get behind agile working” @gigaom: http://t.co/3QlJ4vVr via @gigaom

  29. Governments get behind agile working: Next week at Net:Work, tech geeks, journalists and forward-thinking busine… http://t.co/jjhdDTsP

  30. Jim Schmidt, REHS Friday, December 2, 2011

    Here is the issue with government employees utilizing this. With so much unfounded hatred for government employees the complaints of “lazy government workers don’t have to even leave their homes”, “told you they don’t work, they don’t even need to leave their house”, and I’m sure you could figure out more. Even though this would be a cost saving move the public still wants to treat their neighbor as a degenerate.

  31. The Business Corners Friday, December 2, 2011

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  32. Government cheerleading #Agile work? “Promoting Efficient Spending” which points to digital and agile working practices http://t.co/E5x7hlnz

  33. Governments get behind agile working #gigaom http://t.co/BtK2Mx3H

  34. Fleire Castro Friday, December 2, 2011

    Governments get behind agile working http://t.co/yFbsZwe2 #webworking

  35. “…official efforts to encourage new ways or working should help convince skeptical traditionalist..” http://t.co/2ewE4yZV

  36. Barry A. Martin Friday, December 2, 2011

    Governments get behind agile working http://t.co/UxtLiwjm |GigaOm

  37. Governments get behind agile working http://t.co/fBqZlVAE |GigaOm

  38. remoteworkerdaily Sunday, December 4, 2011

    Governments get behind agile working http://t.co/ZV7evLFK

  39. More on transformation of work – Governments get behind agile working — Online Collaboration http://t.co/TxtFb561

  40. Jessica Stillman Monday, December 5, 2011

    Governments get behind agile working http://t.co/p9Zi5EBi

  41. Yvonne Murray Monday, December 5, 2011

    RT @EntryLevelRebel: Governments get behind agile working http://t.co/p9Zi5EBi

  42. How will managers cope with an anywhere, anytime staff? http://t.co/7yKmh8QH

  43. Rodrigo Ochenduszko Monday, December 5, 2011

    Governments get behind agile working – GigaOm http://t.co/rZXkyLFB

  44. Governments get behind #agile working http://t.co/qnk8iBab a new dimension to agile / work anywhere / work @ home / @vikramadhiman

  45. Vikrama Dhiman ✔ Saturday, December 10, 2011

    RT @pkaroshi: Governments get behind #agile working http://t.co/qnk8iBab a new dimension to agile / work anywhere / work @ home / @vikramadhiman

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