Critical Read

Report says telework could save $14B annually

man teleworking

What: A report titled “Federal Telework – Return on Taxpayer Investment.” The report cites research from Global Workplace Analytics and the Telework Research Network.

Why: The study compares data from the Office of Personnel Management’s annual “Status of Telework in the Federal Government” report as well as data collected by the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

The report estimates that federal telework, if implemented effectively, could save taxpayers nearly $14 billion per year.

To arrive at that number, the authors calculated -- “based on a cautious set of assumptions” -- the impact of telework on real estate, absenteeism, employee turnover, productivity, transit subsidies, continuity of operations and health care.

The report attributes the largest chunk of that potential savings to productivity increases of between $3.5 billion and $5.8 billion for the 882,000 federal employees who are eligible for telework and who say they would do it if allowed, and assumes a rate of teleworking equivalent to about the same 2.2 days per week utilized currently.

The report also calculates dollar-value savings for annual environmental impact, carbon savings equivalents and financial impact on federal employees themselves, and adds all those factors together for a total financial impact of about $14 billion.


  • Real Estate and Energy Savings: $1.7 billion/year.
  • Absenteeism and Turnover Savings: $1.7 billion/year.
  • Increased Productivity: $6 billion/year.
  • Transit Subsidies: $196 million/year.
  • Continuity of Operations: $515 million/year.
  • Healthcare: $90 million/year.
  • Greenhouse Gas Reduction: equivalent of planting 21 million trees/year.
  • Cost of Traffic Accidents Avoided: $153 million/year.
  • Employee Savings: Average of $2,300/year each and time saving equivalent of 10 workdays/year (time they would have otherwise spent in traffic).

Download the report here.

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

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Reader comments

Tue, Jan 28, 2014

Much like FERS being better than CSRS, potentially, I think Govt employees know if the Govt is pushing for it there's something wrong with it. It's 2014, we all know the benefit has to mostly be to the administration if they're allowing it. But hey, if you're looking for a lot of slack time or getting home projects done, I hear it's awesome. Ride the wave baby!

Tue, Jan 28, 2014

Teleworking IS the biggest productivity KILLER in the Federal Government in the DC region. If the people in real world ever saw how this program is abused by the Feds they would be storming the Capitol with torches and pitchforks. Explain this work ethic to an electrician in Indiana working 52 hours a week to make ends meet.

Mon, Jan 27, 2014

The issues is much of the cost is transferred to the employee. They won't pay for the high speed internect connection required, won't supply printers, fax machines etc. The employee will be providing all of that and will hafe to pay for the electricity.

Mon, Jan 27, 2014

I don't telework as it would not save me any money, it would cost me money. I did an entire analysis on it and I would spend more on heating/cooling my house being home and not even save enough on gas for a whole tank. I work 2 miles from home.

Mon, Jan 27, 2014

Increased productivity = Feds telling their contractor to do get work done over night so the Feds can have time with their families and still claim credit for the work getting done before the morning meeting.

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