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Washington, D.C. - Continuing to push for greater federal telework participation, U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Kay Coles James invited members of the Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCO) Council and their designees to the Fairfax Telework Center in Fairfax, Virginia, on July 6. The visit gave 16 agency representatives an opportunity to see firsthand how telework centers operate and how they contribute to the effectiveness and the quality of the federal work force. Additionally, it provided key agency representatives the opportunity to learn how to better implement telework programs in their own agencies.
"OPM can model, encourage, promote, and cheerlead telework, but in order for it to get done at the agency level, it is up to you. If telework leadership is not demonstrated at the agency level, improvements in the level of employee participation simply will not happen," James told site visit attendees. "You will continue to see guidance memoranda from OPM, training opportunities, and our ongoing review of potential hurdles, but at this point, change must occur out in the agencies, especially in consideration of traffic congestion, conservation of resources, worker satisfaction and, most importantly, the federal government's continuity of operations plans."
Presenting at today's event were representatives from both Lockheed Martin and George Mason University. James thanked Darryl P. Dobberfuhl, Program Manager, Telework Services, of Lockheed Martin, and Keith B. Segerson, Assistant Dean for Research Administration and Outreach, School of Public Policy, George Mason University and Managing Director of the Mason Enterprise Center, for their briefings and dedication to this important issue.
A segment of Dobberfuhl's presentation focused on NoCommute.org, an umbrella organization that operates several of the 16 Washington metro telework centers. James also briefly participated in a telework conference via computer video link.
While more needs to be done, the latest figures on the use of telework are encouraging. The most recent telework report found that the number of telework-eligible and actual teleworking employees continues to grow. In 2003, agencies reported that a total of 751,844 employees (43 percent) were eligible to telework, compared with the 625,313 employees (35 percent) reported in 2002, an increase of more than 20 percent. In addition, the number of employees teleworking grew from 90,010 in 2002 to 102,921 in 2003.
Most noteworthy is that from the first telework survey in April 2001, when 53,389 employees were teleworking until October 2003 with 102,921 reported federal teleworkers, there has been an overall increase of 93 percent in the number of employees teleworking.
"I do not believe our federal work force knows or appreciates how well these telework centers are designed," stated Vince Taylor, chief human capital officer for the Department of Transportation (DOT). "At DOT, with the exception of the Federal Aviation Administration, we have reached our first goal of arranging for 25% of our work force to telecommute. Our next goal is to share more information with our employees about the telework centers and try to get more of our managers to visit one of the centers to get a hands-on view of the telework sites. This hopefully will help us reach our stretch goal."
In addition to the CHCO telework visit, OPM has been hosting ongoing agency telework training sessions where human resources professionals learn how to implement successful telework programs. OPM also hosted a webinar, an Internet-based interactive seminar where agencies learned of the latest telework strategies available, and developed a telework tool kit for federal agencies to utilize in their telework efforts. The tool kit contains posters, cafeteria table cards, and brochures for agency distribution, as well as a compact disc and a video that illustrates how teleworking benefits employees and their agencies, with remarks by Director James.
Agencies participating in the CHCO telework visit:
Department of Commerce
Department of Defense
Department of Energy
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Homeland Security
Department of the Interior
Department of Justice
Department of Labor
Department of State
Department of Transportation
Department of the Treasury
Environmental Protection Agency
General Services Administration
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Office of Personnel Management
Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.