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Washington, D.C. - Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James today announced that OPM is joining with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a unified Bush Administration effort to encourage more telework among the 1.8 million Federal workers.
"Telework contributes to conservation goals, reduces traffic congestion and is a vital component of agencies' emergency preparedness efforts," said James. "So it is natural that EPA, the agency responsible for protecting the environment we live in and the air we breathe, would partner with OPM, the agency charged with the task of developing policies for a more productive Federal workforce."
The most recent governmentwide telework report, sponsored by OPM, 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.
"While the numbers of teleworkers in the Federal government are increasing, we are far from where we ought to be in terms of agency participation, and that is simply not satisfactory," James said. "This new alliance between OPM and EPA will serve to improve the education process for both managers and employees who are contemplating moving into the telework arena."
The Environmental Protection Agency has promoted telecommuting as a viable work place alternative for years. "Environmental protection is more than an Agency; it is an ethic we must live every day," says EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt. "EPA actively encourages employees to reduce energy consumption and pollution by participating in our transit subsidy program, car-pooling and other environmentally friendly telework initiatives."
OPM recently provided training seminars for agencies that scored especially low in the just completed report on telework in the Federal government. Almost 200 people representing 19 agencies attended and discussed telework issues, such as ways to increase agency participation, improve employees' productivity and integrate telework into an agency's emergency planning efforts.
The Office of Personnel Management also works closely with the General Services Administration by co-sponsoring the Government's Interagency Telework Site (www.telework.gov) which contains a wealth of information pertaining to the issue. EPA also has significant areas of its websites dedicated to telework and its advantages, which can be found at www.epa.gov.
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.