OPM: Agencies add teleworkers

Thursday - 2/17/2011, 8:33pm EST

By Ruben Gomez
Federal News Radio

OPM's 2010 Status of Telework Report shows an increase in the number of agency-reported teleworkers from 2008 to 2009. Agencies reported that about six percent of all federal employees teleworked during that period. This amounts to 10 percent of all eligible employees and represents an increase of 11,046 teleworkers.

The report also includes data provided by federal employees. 22 percent say they teleworked to some extent. The difference in numbers reported by agencies and employees could be explained by the fact that many employees say they teleworked using unwritten, ad hoc arrangements with supervisors.

The employee-reported data come from OPM's Employee Viewpoint Survey (EVS), formerly known as the Federal Human Capital Survey.

The EVS also revealed differences between federal employees who telework and those who do not:

  • Report better clarity of work expectations:
    • Teleworkers: 83 percent
    • Non teleworkers: 79 percent

  • Feel they have more control over work processes:
    • Teleworkers: 53 percent
    • Non teleworkers: 44 percent

  • Report higher job satisfaction:
    • Teleworkers: 76 percent
    • Non teleworkers: 68 percent

  • Are more likely to recommend their organizations as a good place to work:
    • Teleworkers: 75 percent
    • Non teleworkers: 66 percent

  • Are less likely to express intention to leave their organizations:
    • Teleworkers: 74 percent
    • Non teleworkers: 68 percent

The annual report comes as agencies work to improve telework policies, under the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010.

"The new telework law and this report reinforce that increasing the strategic use of telework will help the Federal government improve resiliency," said OPM Director John Berry. More strategic telework will also help government "achieve continuity of operations in emergencies, reduce management costs and help our employees to manage their own work and life obligations."

More action in the works:

  • By March 31: OPM will provide agencies with guidance on implementing telework policies.
  • On April 6: OPM will convene a meeting of all Telework Management Officers.
  • By June 9: each federal employee will be notified of his/her telework status, as required by the Telework Enhancement Act.
  • In the fall of 2011, OPM will begin collecting data on 2010 telework statistics.