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Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. Office of Personnel Management today presented to Congress its annual telework report, a look at the shape of telecommuting habits of federal employees and their agencies.
Data included in the report, The Status of Telework in the Federal Government, provides a comparative view of agency telework participation. The report presents data provided by Executive Branch agencies for calendar year 2005.
In addition, the data can help agency leaders, managers and human resources professionals plan future activities, particularly as they relate to complying with the Bush Administration's guidance to incorporate telework into their Continuity of Operations plans to keep vital agency operations running during man-made or natural disasters, such as pandemic influenza.
The report indicates a growing, overall acceptance by federal employees and their managers of this workplace flexibility tool. However, due to more-stringent reporting criteria for this latest report - versus the report for calendar year 2004 - the number of teleworkers declined by more than 21,000 employees.
Still, by any measure, telework is being adopted, with the number of federal teleworkers nearly doubling to 140,694 in 2004, from 72,844 in 2001.
Findings in the 2005 report include:
In OPM's telework report for 2004, the number of teleworkers was 140,694. This figure includes any employee who teleworked as little as one day per year. A less-generous standard is used for the current report, resulting in the decrease. OPM requested agencies provide data for employees who teleworked:
"I am encouraged by the number of the more-senior employees - who occupy the majority of management positions - taking advantage of telework," said OPM Director Linda M Springer. "It logically follows that they are setting an example by their personal use of telework, and the benefits derived from spending less time on the road and more time with their families and friends will entice those they supervise to become teleworkers themselves."
Anecdotally, telework programs can increase productivity and improve morale; managers say the availability of telework enhances the recruitment and retention of outstanding individuals.
Release of the telework report follows OPM's June 12 testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on what the agency is doing to promote telework and increase the number of employees who work from home or other alternate work site.
During the testimony, an OPM official spoke of Director Springer's Career Patterns initiative, a revised telework guide and an agency-hosted telework website as recruiting and information tools to attract recent college graduates and more-seasoned employees with critical skills into federal service.
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.