President Obama signed the Telework Enhancement Act in December 2010. The legislation was designed to improve teleworking opportunities and adoption rates at federal government agencies. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has released the first comprehensive view of telework practices across the entire federal government since the enactment of the Act in the new report to Congress entitled 2012 Status of Telework in the Federal Government. Prior to this report, agencies submitted telework data to OPM on a voluntary basis.
"This is a significant milestone," said OPM Director John Berry. "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 details a number of perspectives on how far agencies have come in implementing telework policies, including the proportion of agency employees participating in telework programs, by age and years of service, as well as information about expected savings on the part of agencies who are embracing telework policies. In addition to the overall findings, the report also includes specific teleworking statistics within the various federal agencies.
Report findings include:
- all 87 agencies participating in the Data Call had established telework policies and 73 percent of the policies met the Telework Act requirements
- more than 684,000 federal employees were deemed eligible to telework, this represents approximately 32 percent of all federal employees
- more than 144,000 federal employees had written teleworking agreements with their agency
- 166,348 employees have received some sort of teleworking training
- 168,558 federal employees were teleworking in September 2011
- 27 percent of teleworkers worked remotely three or more days per week.
The report also listed several ways that the government could make more jobs available through telework. Suggestions include using telework as a tool to retain employees at or near retirement age and using telework to expand hiring of highly trained disabled veterans.
Overall, the federal government seems to have embraced teleworking and is attempting to create more remote working opportunities for employees.