Workstyle

GSA encourages mobility to reduce real estate needs

vacant desk

The Total Workplace program will modernize the federal workforce while reducing costs for office space and energy, GSA argues. (Stock image)

The General Services Administration wants to reduce office space and increase energy efficiency across the federal government by encouraging agencies to embrace a more mobile workforce.

The departments of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services and the Agriculture Department's statistics office already implemented GSA's Total Workplace initiative that they say will save a projected total of more than $70 million.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is projecting $3 million in savings through the elimination of 72,000 square feet of office space. Under the program, GSA can help agencies select sustainable materials and develop energy saving strategies.

"We are replacing buildings built around hierarchies from an era where people used the telegraph with workspaces more suited to today's world," GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini said in a news release. "The kind of open office environment that Total Workplace creates encourages collaboration and cooperation that in turn leads to better services for the American people. By using our space more efficiently, we also save valuable taxpayer dollars."

The initiative is not just about telework. Other strategies include desk sharing and office consolidation.

GSA is also trying to lead by example. Its new headquarters building was remodeled to accommodate more employees on less square footage, saving the agency $24 million in leasing fees annually.

"Total Workplace gives federal workers access to the technology they need to accomplish their missions not only effectively, but also efficiently," said Charles Hardy, GSA's chief Total Workplace officer. "Today's workforce demands the tools necessary to work anywhere, anytime. Reducing the federal footprint gives agencies appropriate work spaces to get the job done together, while encouraging mobility."

About the Author

Reid Davenport is an FCW editorial fellow. Connect with him on Twitter: @ReidDavenport.

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