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.

Verbatim:

  • 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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