Critical Read

The latest trends for federal telework

What: The 2016 "Status of Telework in the Federal Government" report -- the Office of Personnel Management's fourth annual overview required by the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010.

Why: Federal agencies have embraced telework -- albeit to widely varying degrees -- to save money, aid in recruitment and retention efforts, and provide for continuity of operations, among other benefits. And while teleworking continues to increase among those who are allowed to do so, the number of telework-eligible employees has plateaued at 44 percent, down from a high of 47 percent in fiscal 2012.


Telework Participation, FY 2011-2015

- Percentage of ALL federal employees
- Percentage of ELIGIBLE federal employees


Agencies' ability to accurately measure telework -- and particularly its benefits -- also continues to fall short of expectations. The OPM report digs into the data that is available, details the steps some leaders are taking to encourage telework and spotlights individual agency efforts that could serve as models.

To further expand telework programs, OPM concludes, "agencies must approach their programs systematically as strategic change management initiatives," with explicit goals and better tracking of progress against them.

Verbatim: "Agencies frequently noted that telework is important for retaining highly skilled employees who may find opportunities elsewhere or be eligible for retirement. Agencies also noted the use of situational and medical telework to retain employees with personal and family needs. The most common strategies leveraged telework to retain specific employees whose career opportunities, personal circumstances, or family circumstances created a need for geographic flexibility."

Click here for the full report.

About the Author

Troy K. Schneider is the Editor-in-Chief of both FCW and GCN, two of the oldest and most influential publications in public-sector IT. Both publications (originally known as Federal Computer Week and Government Computer News, respectively) are owned by GovExec. Mr. Schneider also serves GovExec's General Manager for Government Technology Brands.

Mr. Schneider previously served as New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company, where he oversaw the online operations of The Atlantic Monthly, National Journal, The Hotline and The Almanac of American Politics, among other publications. The founding editor of NationalJournal.com, Mr. Schneider also helped launch the political site PoliticsNow.com in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, WashingtonPost.com, Slate, Politico, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.

Mr. Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.

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