Employees moved off campus to cut property costs

The number of University staff members telecommuting to work will double next month as part of an ongoing effort to save property costs.

With 20 staff members already working from satellite locations – and two dozen more slated to transition off-campus Oct. 1 – telecommuting is becoming an increasingly popular way for the University to staff offices without having to pay for space in downtown D.C.

The University’s telecommuting program launched in 2005, and the flexible work arrangement policy gained steam from the Innovative Task Force, which was created last year as part of University President Steven Knapp’s plan to identify opportunities for fundraising and efficient spending over the next five years.

David Lawlor, co-chair of the Innovation Task Force, said the long-term goal is to have about 200 staff members telecommuting either part or full time.

“This links directly to the [Innovation Task Force] goal to reallocate resources to support academic programs,” Lawlor said. “We have developed tools and resources to help teams transition to a virtual model.”

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said GW hopes to move the staffers off-campus by fiscal year 2015.

She declined to comment on how much the University hopes to save in leasing costs from this move.

Leecey Cameron, who works with Human Resources Staff Learning and Development, began telecommuting in February as part of the 20 staff members in the initial push. Cameron uses technology to stay connected from her home in Arlington, Va.

“I was on site in leased space that [the University] vacated as a part of trying out a virtual team model,” Cameron said. “A major part of my role includes working with teams and various clients on GW campuses, so I still spend about half of my time on campus.”

Cameron said telecommuting is no different than working on campus, in the sense that she is still responsible for completing the goals and tasks that she is assigned.

“I have worked with my managers to develop check-in processes that consist of weekly status reports and a monthly meeting with our [associate vice president],” Cameron said. “The processes aren’t just to make sure I’m getting my work done, but also to ensure that I am receiving the support that I need for my various projects.”

Cameron feels that being a remote employee has had a positive effect on her work experience.

“We have seen that whether you’re a cube or a floor away, or in a completely different state, you can work effectively to get the job done,” Cameron said.

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