Telework Yields $32 Million in Snow Day Savings

Bill Perry/ file photo

Monday marks the fourth snow closure for federal agencies in the Washington, D.C. area this winter season, and, ironically, the start to this year’s Telework Week. For federal employees who telework, the closures still meant business as usual, and their efforts have yielded millions in savings for government agencies.

New figures released Monday by Global Workplace Analytics and Telework Research Network show that telework has saved federal agencies $32 million in productivity over the four days since December that D.C.-area federal offices have been closed due to snow and ice.

The savings already are greater than what government estimates show to be the entire cost implementing telework throughout government. The Congressional Budget Office in 2010 estimated the entire five-year cost of implementing telework at federal agencies at $30 million. Estimates during the four-day Snowmageddon shutdown in 2010 also show the federal government lost between $70 million and $100 million per day in productivity.

Still, while agencies have made tremendous progress, the gap in productivity savings and losses is too wide. Global Workplace Analytics estimates that agencies could have saved an additional $68 million over those four days if all employees who were eligible or wanted to telework actually did so.

GWA’s estimates are based on figures from the recent telework status report to Congress, which showed 47 percent of federal employees have been told they are eligible to telework, as well as the recent Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, which showed 87 percent of feds want to telework. 

"The winter of 2014 has offered all the evidence anyone should need to drive federal telework forward,” said Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics and the architect of the Federal Telework Savings Calculator. "The reality is that telework pays for itself many times over and not just on snow days. Getting those 34 percent of federal employees who are eligible but not yet teleworking should be a priority as should increasing the frequency of the 5 percent of feds who do so only occasionally."

Are you teleworking Monday, or at all during this year’s Telework Week? Please share your good and bad experiences about Telework Week in areas like technology, productivity, etc., in the comments section below.  

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