Tunisia Sadruddin, a service center manager in GSA's Greater Southwest Region, works from home.
By Jeffrey Woodworth
General Services Administration
WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2011 – During Telework Week, GSA is demonstrating how work force flexibility is changing the federal workplace by reducing the government’s carbon footprint and improving performance, especially in emergency situations.
As one of the few policymaking organizations in the federal government, GSA has the expertise and resources to help other agencies put telework to work for them. In response to the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, the agency has established a Telework Program Management Office dedicated to sharing its knowledge and best practices with all of government.
“We have the experience and understanding to help other federal agencies get better results through telework,” said Sharon Wall, head of GSA’s new Telework Program Management Office.” By leveraging our resources, we can help others harness the innovative powers of mobile work to improve performance and reduce the government’s environmental footprint.”
GSA has a long history within government of pushing new technologies and cutting-edge business practices, including telework. The agency was one of the first to create formal telework agreements with it employees.
"GSA is about workplaces: your geographic and your electronic address,” GSA Administrator Martha N. Johnson said at the 2010 Telework Exchange. “We’re experts in this, and we have been for years."
Currently, about 50 percent of GSA’s eligible work force teleworks at least one day a week. A more mobile work force leads to real estate cost savings and increased productivity, and helps reduce the agency’s environmental impact.
Over the last few months, extreme winter weather conditions around the country, especially in the East and Midwest, have allowed GSA to showcase the capabilities of its mobile work force. When extreme weather hits, and offices are shuttered, employees and business operations are able to continue to serve the public and other federal agencies by teleworking.
In New York City, Boston and Atlanta, headquarters of three GSA regional offices, telework has allowed the agency to continue working despite a number of severe winter storms. During a Jan. 12 snowstorm, which added an additional 18 inches of snow to the accumulation in the New York City area, hundreds of employees in GSA’s Northeast and Caribbean Region teleworked.
Similarly, GSA employees in the New England Region and the Southeast Sunbelt Region also took to the virtual arena to continue operations. The surprise Jan. 9 storm that shut down much of Atlanta didn’t deter GSA employees, who worked from sites around the metro area, and still pulled off the long-planned rededication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Building that same week.
Additionally, during a recent winter storm that crippled the Midwest, GSA’s Heartland region based in Kansas City, Mo., relied on teleworking employees to continue operations. While federal offices were physically closed because of more than a foot of snow, 80 percent of GSA employees were logged in to their computers and on the job.
GSA also uses telework during other unique situations. When 2011 Super Bowl week festivities took over downtown Fort Worth, Texas, along with unprecedented traffic and security concerns, GSA’s Greater Southwest Regional employees used alternative work sites to continue seamless operations.
Telework Week, sponsored by the nonprofit Telework Exchange, runs Feb. 14-19. Employees at GSA are joining with various government agencies, businesses, and private organizations to pledge to telework at least one day during the week.