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News Release

Thursday, October 02, 2003
Contact: Edmund Byrnes
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Issues Its 2003 Telework Survey

James highlights Telework as vital flexibility, particularly in emergency situations

Washington, D.C. - In order to get a better picture of how well Telework is "working," the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has issued its 2003 Telework Survey. In addition to asking questions about the program, the survey results will provide a governmentwide perspective on how many agencies and departments are actually offering their employees the option of teleworking.

In the opening memo included with the survey, OPM Director James reiterates the importance of Telework. "Telework is a powerful tool that may assist federal agencies in the strategic management of their human capital. It is a logical component of a flexible organizational structure. Telework helps an agency attract, motivate, and retain well-qualified workers, address critical space issues, and assure continuity of operations under a variety of emergencies. Telework also provides an additional and significant benefit to environmental quality and energy conservation by reducing traffic congestion and vehicle emissions. And, importantly, it offers the opportunity to improve employees' lives by reducing stressful commuting time. All of these reasons make it imperative that telework is viewed and utilized by federal agencies as a flexible 21st century alternative to the typical office setting."

In addition to collecting trend data, the survey focuses on employees whose jobs permit them to routinely and regularly work outside of their offices one or more days a week. It is structured to capture statistical data on these employees as well as data on other employees who may occasionally work outside the office.

"President George W. Bush has asked us to make the federal government more efficient, and Teleworking is one of the most dramatic ways we can do that. Telework has a proven track record of increasing productivity and helping employees balance competing work and family obligations," James stated.

James continued by pointing to Telework's important role in emergency situations and planning, saying "Telework is a vital tool during emergency situations that require flexibility - such as severe weather conditions or during tragedies like September 11, 2001. Across the country, OPM is continuing to coordinate with the Federal Executive Boards to spread the word about the many advantages Telework offers, particularly during emergency situations."

"Telework offers many benefits and flexibility to America's civil service workers, better enabling us to effectively serve this nation. I am a firm believer in its invaluable benefits to federal employees; and I am an active advocate," said James. "The OPM survey on Telework helps illustrate just how far we've already come in making the federal work place Telework friendly. Additionally, it points out that there is still work to be done to reach our ambitious goals -- work in which each agency must play an important role. We plan to redouble our efforts to advance this flexibility both internally at OPM and across federal agencies."

OPM will continue to assist agencies with overcoming the barriers that were identified in this study and facilitating the cultural change necessary to achieve maximum governmentwide participation in the program.

The survey was distributed to 80 agencies and departments.

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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.

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