Real estate savings make telework attractive for federal agencies

25th October, 2012 - Posted by Meredith Lawrence - No Comments

In a previous post on FedUC, we discussed potential cost savings government agencies could realize by embracing video teleconferencing (VTC). In the post, we quoted a recent Telework Exchange survey that found that the government could save a combined $13 billion in cost savings by recouping lost productivity and reducing their business travel budgets.

But increasing productivity and slashing business travel aren’t the only ways federal agencies can save with VTC. Today’s VTC solutions are accessible via a wide range of endpoints, including desktop and laptop computers and mobile devices, which enable federal agencies to quickly and efficiently roll VTC technologies out across the organization.

With employees utilizing VTC solutions, telework initiatives can be expanded across the entire federal government. VTC solutions can drive telework adoption because they enable distributed coworkers to communicate and collaborate face-to-face. They also enable government managers to physically see their employees and be reassured that they’re actually working.

The government-wide adoption of telework could have significant benefits on federal agencies. Teleworking employees are found to be more productive, working when and where they work best. Also, teleworking employees often work during the time they would have been commuting to the office, putting in more hours. Employees that work in flexible workplaces also tend to have better work-life balances positively affecting  morale.

However, the benefits don’t end there. Telework also delivers significant cost savings thanks to its ability to reduce the amount of real estate that federal agencies need. However, the agencies themselves need to be aggressive to take advantage of this savings.

The IRS is a great example. According to a recent FierceGovernment article:

The IRS completed 17 consolidation and relocation projects, saving $2.8 million, between Oct. 2010 and Dec. 2011. Office closures and rental space reductions announced in May 2012 will also create $17.2 million in savings. The IRS planned to finish 66 more projects by the end of Sept. 2012, with an estimated savings of $3.8 million, for fiscal 2012.

Despite the significant savings they’re seeing by cutting real estate expenditures, there’s more money being left on the table.

The Treasure Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found in a recent report that 21,890 IRS employees telework. Of those teleworking employees, 94 percent have their own workstations. By taking the next step and having these teleworking employees share their workstations, the IRS could eliminate up to 10,244 workstations and save $111.4 million over five years.

By embracing telework and aggressively reducing real estate requirements, federal agencies can reap significant benefits. The least of which is series cost savings during a very difficult government budget crunch.

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