From March 3-7, 2014, federal employees will be asked to stay at home by their agencies and not come into their offices.

No…it’s not another government shutdown. It is, in fact, Telework Week, the Mobile Work Exchange’s annual global initiative that encourages federal agencies and state and local governments to pledge to telework.

Now in its fourth year – and the third year since the passing of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 – the Mobile Work Exchange’s 2014 Telework Week is expected to exceed the impressive results of last year’s event, which saw a “total of 136,093 employees pledged to telework across the globe – saving $12.3 million in commuting costs, sparing 7,892 tons in CO2 emissions, and gaining back 665,936 hours.”

By pledging to allow employees to telework during Telework Week, federal agencies can effectively pilot telework within their agency. According to the Mobile Work Exchange’s Cindy Auten, piloting telework is an essential step towards fully embracing a movement that can help them overcome a myriad of today’s most difficult human resources and budget challenges.

Telework is an effective and necessary part of continuity of operations (COOP) plans within the government by allowing federal employees to still work towards accomplishing their mission, even if they can’t be physically present in their offices due to natural disaster or other event. By allowing employees to telework in these situations, agencies can effectively eliminate millions of dollars in lost productivity when conditions make commutes within the Washington, D.C. metro area impossible.

In light of federal budget cuts and deficits, telework is also an effective way for agencies to battle their current budget shortcomings. By embracing telework, federal agencies can reduce the amount of utilities and other resources their employees consume.

Telework can also enable a significant reduction in the need for federal real estate. By enabling employees to work from outside of the office and embracing hoteling and desk sharing, agencies can significantly reduce their need to own and rent expensive commercial real estate.

The General Services Administration’s (GSA) new headquarters is a prime example of hoteling and desk sharing in action. By embracing an, “aggregated desk ratio of two-to-one,” the agency is expected to save $24 million annually.

Telework is no longer a passing fad or trendy concept within federal agencies – it’s mission critical in a time when COOP, cost cutting and agility arekey. By pledging to allow employees to work from home during Telework Week, agency leaders can effectively pilot telework within their organization and begin taking steps towards a productivity increasing, cost saving and COOP enabling tool.

For additional information about the Mobile Work Exchange’s Telework Week, and to make a pledge, click HERE.