Fed telework grows

Federal workers are getting hip to working from home rather than in an office cubicle, according to the latest report by Office of Personnel Management officials.

In an annual report released May 20, they said that the number of federal employees working from home is growing, but not fast enough. The number of employees teleworking grew from 90,010 in 2002 to 102,921 in 2003. Since OPM began conducting the survey in 2001, the number of teleworkers has nearly doubled.

Nevertheless, working from home has a long way to go. In 2003, agencies reported that nearly 800,000 employees were eligible to work from home, but barriers kept them from doing so, the report states.

"OPM's report on telework gives important information on how far we've already come in making the federal work place telework friendly," OPM Director Kay Coles James said. "But it also points out that there is work that needs to be done to reach our telework goals -- goals that I know we will achieve."

The report states that officials at OPM and the General Services Administration need to further train and educate federal employees about working from home via Internet-based courses for workers and managers and seminars on how to overcome obstacles to telework. They also need to change the culture about off-site work to give it a better chance of succeeding, it states.

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