More feds teleworking, OPM reports

More than 10 percent of eligible federal employees now telework, according to the Office of Personnel Management’s annual Status of Telework Report.

More than 10 percent of eligible federal employees now telework, according to the Office of Personnel Management’s annual Status of Telework Report sent to Congress.

The report's release Feb. 17 coincides with Telework Week and follows on the heels of the Telework Enhancement Act, which was signed into law in December 2010 and requires federal agencies to improve their use of telework as a strategic management tool. 

OPM’s report reveals that the number of agency-reported teleworkers increased by 11,046 from 2008 to 2009. It also shows that about 6 percent of all federal employees telework.


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The report indicated an overall rise in telework interest and use. For the first time, OPM also included data that employees reported directly through the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. According to that survey, about 22 percent of federal employees telework to some extent, often through unwritten, ad hoc arrangements between employees and their supervisors.

The survey also shed light on statistical differences between teleworkers and nonteleworkers. For instance, employees who telework report higher job satisfaction than those prevented from teleworking (76 percent vs. 68 percent), and employees who telework are more likely to recommend their organization as a good place to work (75 percent vs. 66 percent).

“Improving the use of telework is a high priority for President Obama, Congress and OPM,” OPM Director John Berry said in a press release. “The new telework law and this report reinforce that increasing the strategic use of telework will help the federal government improve resiliency and achieve continuity of operations in emergencies, reduce management costs, and help our employees to manage their own work and life obligations.”

The same day it released the report, OPM hosted a meeting with all the agencies responsible for implementing the new telework law, including the Office of Management and Budget, the General Services Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Archives and Records Administration.

OPM said it will highlight telework in several ways in the next few months. By the end of March, OPM will issue telework policy guidance to agencies, and it will convene a meeting of agency telework management officers in April.

Officials added that they will issue a data call later this year to collect information on 2010 telework statistics.

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