GAO urges OPM to improve telework reporting

man teleworking

As telework becomes increasingly common in agencies, OPM falters at filing mandatory reporting, GAO finds. (Stock image)

The Office of Personnel Management needs to improve its annual agency telework report to Congress, according to the Government Accountability Office.

The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 mandates that OPM provide guidance to federal agencies on implementing telework programs, and submit an annual report on their progress to Congress.

According to GAO, of the seven reporting requirements set forth by the act, OPM partially met only two, and it did not report any agency information for the other five.

OPM's difficulties included insufficient time for all seven requirements to be fully implemented, and agencies’ challenges in measuring progress toward telework goals.

GAO made three recommendations to OPM on improving its next annual report:

    1. provide goal-setting assistance for agencies not yet able to report telework goals;

    2. include in its report the amount of cost savings resulting from the impacts of telework each agency may have identified, and the method the agency used to assess or verify the savings;

    3. improve the reliability of data collection, work with the Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCO) Council and its leadership to develop documented agreements and a timetable to complete an automated tracking system or other reliable data gathering method that can be validated by OPM.

In response to GAO’s report, OPM officials said they partially concurred with the first recommendation, concurred with the second recommendation and have completed the third recommendation.

About the Author

Natalie Lauri is an editorial fellow at FCW. Connect with her on Twitter: @Nat_Lauri.

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Reader comments

Wed, Jul 3, 2013

Telework, you either do your work or get back to the office. How hard is that, do not need to measure, if there supervisors can not manage that, then they need to be replaced with someone who can do the job too. If that persons work is not up to par with everyone else and always lacking then it is time to bring them back in to the office, or let them go. What concept do we not get, it worked in the old days, why can it not work now.

Tue, Jul 2, 2013

This is crazy. As a federal worker, I am finding more and more of the people I need to communicate with, work from home at least one day a week. It has resulted in delays of communication which affect our operations. Sure it is great for those at home taking care of their kids and housework instead of working, but it just costs the federal government even more $$$ due to work not being done, or not being done in a timely basis. Another thing I have heard from teleworkers i am trying to communicate with, is that since they are working at home they do not have access to such and such database. This in spite of the fact I know for certain they are supposed to have a Mobikey.

Tue, Jul 2, 2013

Of course not, that would mean they would have ACTUAL figures and would no longer be able to hid behind smoke and mirrors....

Tue, Jul 2, 2013

Telework usage in a pay period was added to the EHRI payroll data feed. Once payroll provides begin sending telework data to OPM it can be reported on. Perhaps some agencies are already...

Mon, Jul 1, 2013 FedHRXpert Cyberally Global

Automated tracking and reporting system for identifying cumulative annual, quarterly and biweekly telework participation rates government wide, by agency, by sub agency, by region, by geograhical location, by series and grade, by gender, by RNOG, by veteran preference status, by exempt and nonexempt status already exists. I specifically offered this software as a Government wide Efficiency in the 21st Century to the GAO for overseeing and assessing OPM's telework reports. I also offered it to the OPM as a Government wide Efficiency for their use in obtaining and providing annual, quarterly cumulative telework reports on-demand to each agency for their review, info, etc. and for agency and subagency self-assessment against government wide and agency wide telework metrics. No need to reinvent the wheel or have each agency develop or attempt to develop individual telework data collection programs when they can use existing, standard software already developed designed to assist agencies, the OPM and the GAO obtain such data on-demand i.e. up-to-the last pay period. Bottom line - neither the GAO nor the OPM returned my proof-of-concept introductory letters which I sent to them three years ago....

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