Workforce Productivity in Government: The Case for Teleworking
Did you know that in the District of Columbia, almost a third of federal employees commute over 180 minutes a day. I’ve certainly been there. That’s a lot of dead time which contributes to: unscheduled absences; poor punctuality; less availability; higher staff attrition; recruitment challenges; and negative environmental impacts.
And, think about this: ‘going to work’ requires a ‘place to work’ – premises, desk space, hardwired extensions, onsite facilities and so on. All of which cost money to provide. Now what happens when that ‘place to work’ is hit with a disaster, such as what’s unfolding in Texas right now? Count on productivity to drop and cost to rise as staff are moved elsewhere to carry on their day job.
Teleworking, by contrast, can be done anywhere. It costs less money for agencies and employees, improves staff morale, reduces sickness rates, enhances available talent (by being able to recruit countrywide) and reduces employee attrition. And, it’s better for the environment.
In the private sector, teleworking allowed IBM to slash real estate costs by $50 million and saves Sun Microsystems $68 million a year. JD Edwards teleworkers are 20–25% more productive than their office-based counterparts, and American Express found their staff were 43% more productive. Not only this, the American Management Association found organizations that implemented a telework program realized an average unscheduled absence reduction of 63%.
The evidence is compelling. All that’s needed for teleworking to succeed in federal government is a small change in technology, and perhaps a larger leap in philosophy. How is your agency handling the unified communications revolution? Is everyone telecommuting yet?