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Telework Exchange Reports an Increase in Telepresence Usage

TechSource Editor

October 22, 2012  |  Collaboration  •  Mobility + End User Devices  •  Wireless

If you were not raised with FaceTime, Skype and video chats, the concept of implementing telepresence solutions in the government may seem frivolous and unnecessary.

People can already communicate over the phone; do they really need to see the person they’re speaking to? Is it really worth the cost of implementing telepresence solutions when you can already dial the phone and reach them from anywhere?

According to a recent report released by the Telework Exchange, the answer is a profound “yes.”

The report, entitled, “Fly Me to Your Room,” includes data from a survey of 128 federal government employees that was conducted online between July and August of 2012. According to the report, if merely one half of the federal workforce utilized telepresence, the government would save three and a half hours per week in productivity savings. That amounts to an $8 billion annual savings in taxpayer dollars.

And that savings estimate doesn’t include other cost reductions that the technology solution delivers. Implementing telepresence enables in-person meetings to be conducted via video, without the need for extensive business travel. The report indicates that an additional $5 billion would be saved by eliminating some travel from agency budgets.

If you’re still not convinced about the value of telepresence, the study found other, non-monetary benefits that government employees expected to result from the adoption of telepresence solutions, including:

  • Expedited project timelines (73 percent of respondents)
  • Reduced business travel (78 percent of respondents)
  • Improved collaboration (53 percent of respondents)
  • Reduced carbon footprint (49 percent of respondents)
  • Improved work-life balance (47 percent of respondents)

The reduction in business travel and improved work-life balance are especially important for the federal government today. In light of the down economy, government employees’ compensation has stayed relatively flat over the past few years. And with the government perpetually struggling to recruit and retain top talent, the improvement in work-life balance and ability to eliminate extraneous business travel could be the extra fringe benefit that keeps government employees happy and out of the “help wanted” section.

Also, the reduced carbon footprint is a great way for government agencies to bolster their green initiatives and have a smaller impact on the environment.

Telepresence isn’t just something out of the “Jetsons” that government agencies want to implement because it’s “neat.” Between the cost savings, and the laundry list of other benefits, it’s clear that the time for telepresence adoption in the government is now.

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