Teleworking has become a popular option for state workers in Tennessee, but don’t expect Louisiana to implement the policy for its government workers any time soon, according to the state government’s management arm.
“Based on people’s job descriptions and whether or not it saves money, it’s possible,” says Jacques Berry, the director of policy and communication for the Louisiana Division of Administration. “But in general, and from a policy standpoint, we like to have people in their offices serving the public.”
But the program in Tennessee appears to have several benefits Louisiana could use, Governing reports, such as saving the state millions of dollars, decreasing traffic congestion and improving employee productivity.
In mid-2016, Tennessee launched its Alternative Workspace Solutions program, where, in exchange for giving up their desk or office, participating employees can work remotely—either at home or in the field—full- or part-time, using state-purchased computers. Today, 6,000 employees from 16 departments participate, and 27,000 of the Tennessee executive branch’s 38,000 employees could eventually be eligible.
Since its implementation, teleworking has saved the state some $6.5 million on real estate rental costs, and Tennessee plans to save another $40 to $50 million when it sells a downtown Nashville office building next year.
Berry says Louisiana has already saved a significant amount of money on real estate rental costs over the past few years by moving state employees out of private offices and into existing state-owned buildings, but he could not provide specific figures as of this afternoon’s deadline. As an example, he points to Department of Treasury workers, who were relocated from City Plaza into the State Capitol Building Annex.
“We’re always open to reevaluating someone’s work situation on a case-by-case basis,” Berry says. “Still, our professionals who have researched this found that, despite the trend toward teleworking, it doesn’t work for what we do.”