“I feel like I’ve been having the same conversation about telework since the Lincoln Administration.” –Chris Dorobek, Founder, Producer, Editor, GovLoop Insights and DorobekINSIDER.
Let’s change the conversation on telework. While the workplace and technology are changing, we still seem to be discussing the same costs and benefits of telework. On the DorobekINSIDER Live broadcast “Tips for Telework,” our guests decided to shift the conversation to the incredible cost savings that telework can bring the federal government.
According to Emily Jarvis, producer of GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER and the author of The GovLoop Guide: Agency of the Future: Telework More Than a Trend – A Workplace Transformation, telework can save government mortgage and rent fees by cutting office space. “People, especially in the younger generations, don’t want to be tied to a desk,” Emily said. So why should the government pay billions for spaces full of desks?
Kate Lister, President of the Global Workplace Analytics and Telework Research Network, said that if every federal employee who wanted to telework were able to, the savings potential for the government is $11 billion. “The biggest savings is in real estate,” Lister said. Jackie Nowicki, Acting Director, Government Accountability Office (GAO) added that at GAO, allowing employees to telework cut real estate costs by 40% in Boston and 50% in Washington DC.
Real estate is not the only savings. “We also find workers who telecommute have increased productivity between 10% and 55%,” said Lister. The panel agreed that the idea teleworkers are less productive is a myth; in fact the opposite is true. Many teleworkers are more productive because they do not have to deal with commuting and have less trouble focusing than they would in an office environment.
Unfortunately, another reason for increased productivity is a poor work-life balance. “When you work at home, it’s harder to know when to stop working than at the office,” Dorobek remarked. Ideally, managers will set appropriate standards so teleworkers can be productive but still have set hours.
Finally, agencies can save money with BYOD policies or investing in smaller, lightweight and streamlined devices for teleworkers. Steve Mattis Marketing Director, Public Sector for HP mentioned that HP has created equipment with teleworkers in mind. Specifically, HP’s new devices are easily transportable yet also secure. This is a good alternative instead of bulky, expensive devices for in the office.
For a full recap of the DorobekINSIDER Live: Tools of Telework, check out Emily’s post here.