Ineligible to telework? Join the club.

Despite the federal government’s move toward a more flexible and mobile workforce, nearly 70 percent of respondents in a survey said they haven’t been notified that they are eligible to telework.

The Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Employee Viewpoint survey showed that only 27.2 percent of the 253,632 respondents said they had been notified of their eligibility to telework. More women than men -- 29.4 percent compared to 25.3 percent – said they had been notified of their eligibility.

The survey showed that of those respondents who were eligible to telework, 9.4 percent do it “very infrequently, on an unscheduled or short-term basis.” The second most popular arrangement for teleworkers was to work remotely one or two days per week. Only 2.1 percent said they telework three or more days per week.

The majority of respondents who don’t telework said the reason is that their job requires them to be physically present. Approximately 40 percent of male respondents said they had jobs that required them to be physically present, while less than 30 percent of women who participated in the survey said they had jobs that demanded their physical presence.

Approximately 12 percent said they didn’t telework because they had chosen not to. The survey found that more men (12.3 percent) than women (11.3 percent) said it was their personal choice to not telework.

Compared to last year’s survey, nearly 3 percent more women said they hadn’t received approval from their agencies to telework even though they had the kind of job that allowed that sort of arrangement. For men this year, that increase was more than 2 percent.

The survey found that respondents had an overall positive experience with their agency’s telework programs. More respondents said they were either “very satisfied” or “satisfied” than those who said they were “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied.”  

More than half of the respondents also expressed satisfaction with the Alternative Work Schedules program in their agencies: 27.5 percent said they were “very satisfied” and 33.1 percent said they were “satisfied” with AWS.

Many of the respondents also acknowledged that their managers support work/life balance. Nearly 45 percent said their supervisor understands their need to balance work with other life issues, and nearly one-third said they “strongly agree” their superiors support the issue. 

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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