The right size for government has long been a topic for debate and not one we will delve into today. One fact, however, that is agreed-upon by just about every pundit is that government costs too much money and savings need to help citizens their individual and business reduce tax burdens. The GSA is one government agency that is acting to save millions of dollars each year by implementing agile workspace concepts such as cloud-based computing and data storage, office hoteling and similar techniques.
A few of the high points in the GSA’s successful initiatives include:
- Implementation of office hoteling as the norm rather than a rarity, reducing overhead by as much as 40% in office leasing expenses and associated overhead such as utilities and services for the larger office spaces,
- Increased telecommuting and use of third spaces to accomplish tasks,
- Cloud-based IT solutions to provide data workspaces and data storage locations at vastly reduced costs when compared with traditional hardware and software methods,
- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from employee transportation in both commuting and face-to-face meetings that can be handled by video conferencing.
Some GSA office locations were able to consolidate by condensing their square footage requirements by giving up an entire floor of leased office space. In other cases the reduction of entire floor of space was not practical but every office GSA investigated was able to achieve significant real estate footprint reductions.
One of the functions of the GSA is storage of data and documentation. All phases of business and government are moving toward paperless systems but even electronic data costs money to store for long periods of time. Today more and more data needs are being met by cloud-based storage repositories. Scanned documents allow even those pieces of paper that legally must be kept to be placed into data storage, at least after the initial legal requirement for maintaining the document have been kept. While today all except the most data-intensive storage by private individuals can find cloud-based storage of data at no cost, business and government reporting demands far too much storage space to expect free data storage. However, compared to storing actually hardware filled with data to be kept, cloud storage makes economic and logistic sense.
During the 2013 storm Hurricane Sandy, businesses and government agencies seem more prepared than ever to accept agile workspaces. When electric and internet provider services were unavailable due to storm damage, employees already having work from home capability including login access to the correct business data repositories, many businesses were able to continue as employers, providing services and products to their clients long before the businesses’ storefront operations could reopen their doors. Not only were the offices not operable from the standpoint of utilities, many could not be reached because of street damage and dangers posed from receding waters. Many, hopefully eventually all, those businesses that were unprepared with a disaster plan have since or are in the process of developing a viable plan of action.
There are far too many points in the GSA initiatives to cover in detail here, are well documented on GSA’s web-published studies. The GSA studies and statistics will almost certainly filter into other areas of US government. Emulating the success of enjoyed by the GSA will hopefully provide the impetus needed for further change in diverse areas governing as well into as the plethora of vendors and supporting businesses interacting with the GSA and other agencies.
Your business can certainly benefit by learning from the GSA example. As even more effective techniques of adding office hoteling and other agile concepts to the workplace, more businesses will implement the methods that have been time proven and a percentage of businesses will become innovators by trying new techniques. Perhaps one of the next business models we will see emerging is that of “Agility Consulting”, a business that would help other businesses implement these types of innovative cost saving ways to continue level of service without increasing the cost of doing business.
We can help. Contact us so we can get you started finding out about creating an Agile Workplace and how it might work for your company.
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By: James Osgood
Agile Workplace , Flexible Workspace , Office Hoteling , Office Rental , Office Space , Office Space Design