Workforce

OPM plans new work-life survey

Stressed worker 

The Office of Personnel Management plans to conduct the first governmentwide Federal Work-Life Survey early next year, OPM announced in a memo to agencies' human resources departments and the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency.

Work-life is defined by OPM as, "the business practice of creating a flexible, supportive environment to engage employees and maximize organizational performance."

The survey seeks to measure work flexibility, including telework, and collect information that will help individual agencies understand their employees' work-life needs and priorities. OPM will analyze the results to identify barriers to a positive work-life culture and work flexibility, highlight exemplary programs and make recommendations.

The data will allow "senior leaders and managers to make evidence-based decisions about investments in these programs," Acting OPM Director Beth Cobert said in the memo. "We have an unprecedented opportunity to evaluate the relationship between work-life programs and organizational benefits, and answer questions about how federal programs compare to similar private-sector programs through this survey."

OPM is conducting the survey as part of its obligations under a June 2014 presidential memo that directs agencies to find ways "to attract, empower, and retain a talented and productive workforce in the 21st century" by enhancing workplace flexibility.

OPM already administers the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, which measures opinions on job satisfaction, agency leadership, employee engagement levels and workplace inclusion in the federal workforce. That survey also includes questions on work-life balance, including participation levels in alternative work schedules, teleworking programs, health and wellness and elder care benefits. So far, OPM has learned that employees with a basis to judge these programs overwhelmingly offer positive responses.

Cobert's memo asks each agency governed by the Chief Human Capital Officers Act to provide a point of contact to OPM by Nov. 10.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter

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