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03/20/2012

GSA employees in Fort Worth get more freedom to telecommute

Update: This blog post originally incorrectly stated the amount of savings the GSA incurs by closing its 11th and 12th floors on Fridays.

The federal General Services Administration in Fort Worth is encouraging more employees to work from remote, as part of the government’s push to go greener.

Eight months ago, the GSA began closing its 11th and 12th-floor offices in the Federal Building downtown on Fridays. This week, it showed off its recently completed Mobile Work Space on the 14th floor, where GSA employees can reserve workstations and use conference rooms and wireless Internet. The 275-square-foot space can handle up to 49 employees.

Employees can use the space on Fridays or other days, if they’re used to telecommuting and need to drop by the Federal Building.

“Work is what you do, not where you’re at,” J.D. Salinas III, regional administrator for the GSA Greater Southwest Region, said Tuesday.

The GSA estimates it saves $1,400 per Friday in energy costs by closing the 11th and 12th floors.

Beyond reducing demand for federal space, saving taxpayer money, and reducing the agency’s carbon footprint, Salinas said the green push, laid out in an executive order President Obama signed in 2009, fosters collaboration and better prepares employees to respond to emergencies.

GSA employees in Fort Worth responded, for one, to the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. “All they need is their laptop, and they can work from anywhere,” Tina Jaegerman, the GSA’s public affairs officer in Fort Worth, said.

The GSA region office represents Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and manages 13 million square feet of federal office space and nearly 1,350 buildings. The GSA, which also fully occupies the fifth and 14th floors and part of another in the Federal Building, has about 600 employees in downtown Fort Worth.

Other federal offices are undergoing the same kinds of changes. The GSA’s 1800 F Street offices in Washington, D.C., have made a major push away from assigned cubicles and toward telecommuting, Jaegerman said.

- Scott Nishimura

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