Johnson: 14 GSA offices to have teleconferencing capabilities by early 2011

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WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - The General Services Administration will be introducing teleconferencing centers at 14 of its offices by January or February of 2011, said Martha Johnson, chief administrator at GSA. The contract has been awarded to AT&T (NYSE: T), which will develop and manage all telepresence services.

"We are being aggressive about virtual work," said Johnson. "Some private sector companies have been using it and seeing very dramatic results, and we would like very much to see these results ourselves."

The move helps the agency meet its telework goals and may provide a cost savings if employees think twice before booking a flight or hotel, said Johnson during a press briefing at the ACT-IAC Executive Leadership Conference on Oct. 25, in Williamsburg, Va. 

While the program is currently limited to GSA, Johnson said she would like GSA to become a model for successful telework at other agencies. When asked whether other agencies would be able to use teleconference centers at GSA offices, she said she would like to move "this forward as dramatically as we can." 

The agency is thinking critically about how it uses office space and will move into swing space while it's central office is renovated.

"I've challenged the design teams and the construction people to think through how we could bring all of GSA back into that building. That would mean a significant increase in the number of people coming to one building," said Johnson.

"This is to cut our lease costs, this is to get us all together so we can collaborate and it does mean that not everybody can be in the building, because it's not built for as many people as we're talking about--which is a little bit of a forcing function toward mobile work," she added.

The news supports earlier discussion that telework centers used by GSA, such as those in Martinsburg, W. Va. and Winchester Va., may be closed.

For more:
- listen to a recording of the press briefing
- read all our ELC 2010 coverage

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