Let's face it: Government employees need to travel, especially those working under federal agencies. The only problem is that too much travel usurps time, money and resources.
In fact, The Washington Post estimated that in 2015, the federal U.S. government managed to save an estimated $3 billion during a concerted effort under the Obama administration to cut back on travel expenses. This seems substantial, and it's undoubtedly a lot of money, but the Post noted that it wasn't clear how much the government was spending on travel in the first place, making it hard to boil the savings down to a percentage.
Nevertheless, this much is clear: It's in the best interest of federal, state and local government agencies to eliminate all expenses associated with extraneous travel, and to this end, unified communications can help.
Easier remote communication
Various agencies have taken different approaches in their attempts to cut back on travel expenses. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM), for instance, has a rewards program in place that encourages employees to book affordable hotels, or when possible, to stay with family and friends. And while these types of programs can be extremely useful for saving money in cases where travel is absolutely necessary, they don't necessarily cut back on travel.
"A government organization could save thousands of dollars."
One of the key ways that UC can curb the actual rate of travel is by giving government workers access to remote collaboration tools that will allow them to coordinate more effectively between disparate offices. Meetings that would otherwise be held in person could hypothetically occur over video conference instead. The same can be said for audio conferences, which can be used for more routine operational calls. Even by eliminating just two or three round-trip flights in one year, a government organization could save thousands of dollars.
All the key collaboration tools in a single dashboard
A lot more goes into remote collaboration than just talking, typing and listening, which is why UC solutions are designed to be feature-rich and flexible. With call-swipe, for instance, a user can start a conference from a desk phone, and switch directly to a mobile end point without having to dial in again. With screen-sharing, it's easy to collaborate visually, and in real time, with up to 100 colleagues. Meanwhile, instant messaging can serve as a silent, more personal means of communication during an audio or video conference session.
The best part? All of this can be done from a single UC dashboard. No fumbling through applications list, and certainly no time-consuming and costly travel, necessary.