Apparently one of the biggest challenges teleworkers had during a week devoted to the practice was remembering to bring power cords to their workspaces.

The common snag was indicative of what GSA Administrator Martha Johnson said remains the main challenge when it comes to transforming federal workers into a mobile workforce. But ironing out these issues, Johnson said, are what Telework Week is all about.

“This is about behavior change and culture change,” Johnson told Breaking Gov. “It’s reinforcing that we have an opportunity to better use our space as a government.”

By all accounts Telework Week appeared to further federal leaders’ efforts toward the cause. The week-long national effort to encourage working outside the traditional office space ended today. The event is among several efforts, including legislative initiatives, to inform workers and leaders about telework benefits and encourage the practice.

Telework Exchange spokeswoman Shannon Joyce said that more than 68,000 pledges were estimated to have collectively saved more than $5.4 million in commuter costs and that the 2012 program surpassed last year’s participation by more than 27,000 teleworkers.

“Given that the majority of pledges, more than 90 percent, are federal workers, we think this demonstrates that telework is certainly becoming a priority for the federal government,” Joyce told Breaking Gov. “Agencies are realizing the benefits – to the individual, the organization, and the environment – and are leveraging telework to establish a more efficient, productive, and resilient government.”

Participants relied on various technology tools and mobile devices, including laptops, VPN access, virtual desktops, video conferencing, tablets and other various forms of collaboration tools.

The General Services Administration has been at the forefront of the telework movement within the federal government and boasts about half of its total 12,600 employees who telework various amounts from occasionally to full-time. GSA’s participation in Telework Week doubled this year to 6,400, including regular teleworkers and those trying it for the first time, Johnson said.

Johnson said many teleworkers prefer not to work at home and therefore book space at various labs available throughout the Washington area. The practice, however, requires a change in thinking and the use of various mobile tools. Some teleworkers grumbled a bit about having to book workspace. And several sheepishly admitted to forgetting crucial equipment, such as power cords.

“It’s working. This week…is all about breaking the ice and…learning,” she said.

GSA employees in Chicago used Telework Week to practice their Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan, which ensures that essential federal functions continue during emergency situations such as localized acts of nature, accidents, technological or attack-related emergencies, or pandemic influenza that may affect operations over the course of weeks or even months.

“In a year, we’re going to be in a much more mobile culture and we’re strengthening our muscles,” she said. “There’s been a lot of chatter around meeting etiquette and conference calls and sharing best practices.”