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GAO: Agencies Need More Guidance in Space Planning in Telework

A GAO report has found that while many federal agencies are using telework in space planning, they could benefit from further guidance.

GAO reviewed processes at the General Services Administration (GSA), the Office of Justice Programs at the Department of Justice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Bureau of the Fiscal Service at the Department of the Treasury in greater detail, and found that three of these agencies leveraged telework to reduce or use office space more efficiently. For example, GSA and the Office of Justice Programs used telework to accommodate more employees in a smaller office space.

The 23 civilian CFO Act agencies reported several challenges in using telework to reduce space including human capital issues, mission suitability, and measuring cost savings attributable to telework. About two-thirds of the agencies said they would find it helpful to have additional information, assistance, or resources in using telework as a space-planning tool.

GAO found that while GSA provides guidance to improve space utilization, it has not developed relevant formal guidance since 2006. GSA’s space-planning tool — the Workplace Investment and Feasibility Tool, intended to help agencies quantify the benefits and costs of telework — remains under development after more than four years, and GSA officials have not decided whether to make the tool available to other federal agencies.

GAO recommended that GSA update its guidance, and ensure that the appropriate GSA offices complete the Workplace Investment and Feasibility Tool and make it available to federal agencies for use in assessing the benefits and costs of telework to achieve office space efficiencies.

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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