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Archived updates for Wednesday, December 21, 2005

U.S. Patent Examiners to Telework with Hoteling

According to Daniel Pulliam writing for GovExec.com on December 16, 2005, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office plans to put 40 employees at a time through a two-week training course on telework starting in February 2006. The courses will continue until September 2006, when the number of trained employees is expected to top out at about 500, with 500 new telework arrangements added each year thereafter.

Once employees complete the training course, they will have access to an
online reservation system that will allow them to sign up by the hour for office
space on the agency's main campus.

The system, known as "hoteling," is set up so that for every three employees in the telework program, there will be one office space, which could be a standard cubicle or an actual office. Participants are expected to work in the office as little as one day a week, said Stewart Levy, director of the search and information resources administration under the USPTO's commissioner for patents.

When the first training program begins, there will be 20 office spaces available to teleworkers, Levy said. As more employees give up their office space in favor of working remotely, the program will recoup the extra space for the hoteling program.

Levy said he is fairly confident that the program will be a success because of the lessons learned by the trademark division, which began its own telework program about seven years ago. That division, which employs about 500 people, has about 190 employees working away from the office on a regular basis and hopes to increase that to 220.

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