The USPTO: a perfect picture of telework success

One of the greatest attributes of the federal government is the willingness of individual, disparate agencies to learn and embrace best practices that are delivering benefits for other organizations.

Whether it’s other government entities or private enterprises, federal agencies are constantly looking for new programs, policies and technologies that are increasing efficiency, driving productivity and making organizations operate more effectively.

A program that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been implementing has been getting a ton of attention lately and is something that every agencies should be looking to emulate. We’re talking of course about the USPTO’s telework programs.

In our last post we discussed some of the retention and recruitment benefits that telework can deliver for federal agencies. However, the benefits of telework extend beyond recruitment and retention. There are significant benefits to the environment, increased productivity from decreased commute times and also potential for serious cost savings.

The USPTO’s 2011 telework status report does a great job of illustrating some of these benefits based on the results that they’ve seen within their agency, including:

  • Reducing carbon emissions by 4,150 tons for those teleworking one day per week and by 20,957 tons for USPTO employees teleworking four-five day per week.
  • Saving more than $1 million in gasoline for those teleworking one day per week and more than $5.2 million on gasoline for USPTO employees teleworking four-five day per week.
  • Saving 7.9 million miles of commutes for USPTO employees teleworking one day per week and 39.9 miles for employees teleworking four-five day per week.

According to a recent Nextgov article, the USPTO has also seen improved communication and much more satisfied workforce as a result of their telework programs. Currently, 6,500 employees telework at least one day per week. Of those, employees, 3,464 telework between four and five days per week and 3,114 telework one to three days per week.

The government has always looked internally at its own agencies and externally to the private sector to identify best practices and programs that can help it become more effective and efficient. The USPTO and its telework initiatives are incredible examples of an agency that has figured out a way to keep its employees happy and more productive while becoming more mobile and efficient. It’s a system that all agencies should look to emulate.


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