Written byDavid Stegon
More than one in five eligible federal employees participated in routine telework last year, according to a new study from the Office of Personnel Management.
The 2012 Status of Telework in the Federal Government Report for Congress marks the first comprehensive view of telework practices across the entire federal government since the enactment of the Telework Enhancement Act in 2010.
According to the report, 21 percent of telework eligible employees participated in routine telework in September of 2011, up from roughly 10 percent in 2009.
The report provides a baseline for measuring each agency’s progress toward meeting the requirements of the Telework Enhancement Act, which specified a framework of requirements to implement telework.
“This is a significant milestone,” OPM Director John Berry said. “Not only does this highlight tangible changes in telework practices across the federal government, it also serves as a baseline for measuring the effects of telework in the future.”
The report provides preliminary data on cost savings realized by agencies, such as avoided real estate, energy and commuter subsidy costs.
“Overall, the use of telework is improving in the federal government. Telework can make employees more efficient, more accountable, and more resilient in emergency conditions, and this report shows signs that we are achieving those results,” Berry said.
OPM said of the 87 agencies surveyed, 86 percent said they’ve notified all employees whether they are eligible to telework, and 81 percent of the agencies notified newly hired employees of their eligibility.
“We’ve reached an important milestone in implementation of the Telework Act, and we’ve seen some real progress at some agencies,” Congressman Gerry Connolly said. “But that progress is uneven among agencies. There is room for plenty of improvement and growth.”