Telework continues to make gains as an innovative option for employees and agencies in the federal government. In some cases, however, the organizations are struggling to deal with their leftover office real estate. According to NextGov, teleworking solutions have provided federal agencies with increased productivity and a reduction in transportation costs. Teleworkers, however, are unwilling to yield their permanent physical associations, such as offices and parking spots, with the agencies, leading to unnecessary empty office space.
According to Comtex, the idea of office space as a resource that can be minimized is beginning to influence several federal agencies, such as the General Services Administration (GSA), to reconsider the way it uses its location to increase efficiency and reduce overhead. By shrinking office size and making ample use of the available real estate, the news source reported that greenhouse gas emissions will drop because of a more efficient use of energy and collaboration will increase.
This integration of this model will also help bring agencies in compliance with the Obama Administration's initiative to decrease the federal carbon footprint, reported Comtex.
Teleworking as a solution
Desk sharing has been adopted as a plan for office space reduction, according to the news source. As part of GSA's Total Workplace initiative, which is spearheading an agency-wide strategy to cut back on real estate spending, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also embraced a teleworking solution, projecting a combined savings of over $55 million.
Innovations in mobility are among the driving factors in the regulation of telecommuting at the federal level. As agencies continue their efforts in cost reduction, NextGov reported that advancements, such as elevated security, have compelled agency directors to entice change in the way employees view telework. The office, for example, is no longer being thought of as where work is done.
"It's not about recreating the office experience somewhere else," said Rick Holgate, CIO and assistant director for science and technology at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. "It's about thinking differently about how we get work done. We need to do more work as a federal government in how we define telework."
According to Comtex, the impact of the Obama Administration's initiatives have proven lucrative for the agencies for the savings they yield, and as a result, federal staff members are being given more opportunities to telework with assistance from their employers. For example, the news source reported that GSA's Total Workplace directive has provided agencies with the technology and tools they need in order to make mobility a solid option.
If this trend in teleworking continues to provide federal agencies with unique and efficient adaptations to their workplace environments, the very idea of a traditional office may soon be obsolete.