Should More Agencies Be Located in Rural Areas? GAO Looks at Telework and Agency Location

GAO notes that agencies have been required to consider locating facilities in rural areas for a number of years but little progress has been made. Telework may make it easier for federal employees to live in these rural areas.

Since 1972, agencies have been required to give priority to locating facilities in rural areas. As a practical matter, it hasn’t been done, in part because the mission of some agencies requires them to be located near the population they are servicing–usually in urban areas.

About 12% of the federal workforce is located in rural areas. The General Accounting Office says in a new report that some facilities and functions could be located in these areas and the government would benefit from lower labor costs, better security and fewer traffic problems.

This is a round-about way of getting to telecommuting or telework or flexiplace. Benefits of telework include

reducing traffic congestion, improving the recruitment and

retention of workers, and reducing the need for office space.

Telework could allow federal workers who live in rural areas to work in or near their homes.

This new GAO report summarizes and updates recommendations GAO has made on moving agency facilities into rural areas and efforts the government has made to introduce more federal employees into the telework network.

You can download the GAO report from the link on the left hand side of the page.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47