Cash saved on transport, accommodations, food, and the like represent but a portion of the benefits of eliminating travel. From a productivity standpoint, it means employees are spending fewer hours on airplanes, in cabs, or recovering from jet lag. From an ecofriendly standpoint, fewer miles traveled add up to a smaller carbon footprint.
[ The InfoWorld Test Center recently took some teleconferencing tools for a spin. ]
Faster than overnight mail
Several governmental agencies are embracing technologies that significantly reduce not only paper and ink waste but also time and expenses associated with sending documents via snail mail. For example, Homeland Security foresees $318,000 in savings by eliminating the printing and distribution of reports and documents that can be sent electronically or posted online.
The Department of Justice is converting its distribution of earnings and leave statements to electronic form, which represents an estimated savings of $890,000 in FY 2010. Additionally, the DoJ foresees savings of $573,000 through 2010 by simply configuring printers for double-sided printing. (Setting machines to print in black and white by default, as well as employing printer management software to reduce superfluous printing, could save even more.)
Meanwhile, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expects to save money by rolling out electronic signature technology. The list doesn't specify just how much, but I want to mention it because I'm a big advocate of e-signatures. The idea of mailing bulky documents back and forth via overnight carriers strikes me as ridiculous and wasteful when it can be done via e-mail in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost.
Sleep and save
Federal agencies have also identified PC power management as a source of rapid returns. The Department of Justice is configuring its computers to power down when not in use, which will save $35,000 in FY 2010 alone. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, meanwhile, anticipates $525,000 in savings on energy consumption by (among other things) centralizing power management of PCs.