OPM study on workplace flexibility moves forward

Friday - 7/9/2010, 10:40am EDT

Naomi Leventhal, Director, Training and Management Assistance, Deloitte Consulting

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

The Office of Personnel Management is in the middle of a big pilot study of workplace flexibility and has brought in some outside help to do an assessment of the project.

Naomi Leventhal, Director with Deloitte Consulting in Training and Management Assistance, explained for Federal News Radio how that will work.

As the pilot moves on, we'll be looking at what the results are in terms of changes, if there are any, to employee performance and productivity. At the end of the pilot project, we'll do an assessment and provide recommendations to OPM for what they can do if they think that there are good ideas here - which we would hope to see, how they can roll it out across OPM and the federal government in general.

The concept behind the pilot, called Results Oriented Work Environment (ROWE), explained Leventhal, is based on the idea that "the importance is what you accomplish not where you sit and how long you sit there."

Leventhal says for their part, Deloitte will continue to conduct surveys and focus groups and observations to look at the data that exists about:

  • Behavior - How employees are spending their time and what they're accomplishing with it, and "what choices they want to make."
  • Attitude - "We're interested in how people feel about the choices that are available to them today and what choices they'd like to have in how and where and when they spend their time."
  • Performance - Baseline has been established. Will be re-assessed as the pilot goes on.

"We need work results, that's very important," said Leventhal. "Above all the organization has to meet its mission objectives. If it doesn't, then this is not a success, clearly. So if this new approach enables workers to be more effective in producing the work that they need to produce at a high quality and in the way that it needs to be done, if the customers are happy then what we've got is a success. That's what we'll be looking to see."

It's not just that people are happy, but whether they're productive and effective in their jobs, said Leventhal.

Six months remain in the pilot project.

For more about ROWE, from the Dorobek Insider, click here.